- Power Crisis’ll Limit AfCFTA Benefits to Nigeria — Gencos
Nigeria may not benefit much from the recently signed African Continental Free Trade Area agreement until the country’s power problems are adequately addressed, power generation companies said on Wednesday.
On Sunday, President Muhammadu joined other heads of government of the African Union in Niamey, Niger Republic, to sign the AfCFTA agreement.
But electricity firms under the aegis of the Association of the Power Generation Companies, in a congratulatory message to the President, made available to our correspondent in Abuja, noted that without adequate power supply, the benefits of the agreement to Nigeria would be minimal.
The APGC said, “In direct relation to the just-signed AfCFTA agreement, the benefits it poses to Nigeria may not be fully reaped until the problems of the power sector are fully addressed.
“Goods and services offered by the country may not be comparatively/competitively priced, when compared to other nations with better power supply. Thus, the cumulative result of a significant boost in trade and, therefore, the economy, may not be realised.”
The association added, “For instance, steel mills consume a huge amount of power to convert pig iron blocks to liquefied iron, mixed with ingredients such as carbon, alloys and chemicals to change into a different type of steel, alloy, bars, rods, H-beams, sheet metals, etc.”
The Gencos said in the mining industry, changing the mineral deposit and ores from the mines to concentrate metal blocks also required a huge amount of power.
According to them, hospitals need uninterrupted electricity supply 24 hours a day for many health care functions and operation of patients, and universities require constant electricity to undertake high level research and development works.
The power firms, however, said the development was a welcome one and a stirring indication that the Buhari administration was ready for business.
They said the government, through the signing of the agreement, had shown commitment to addressing the challenges that might hamper this laudable move including hurdles faced by the power generating companies.
The Gencos said, “This is even so given that adequate power supply plays a critical role in the development of the social sector, education, health, transportation and industrialisation of a nation.”
According to them, the recently signed trade agreement calls for a renewed zeal and focus in solving the power sector conundrum, so as to position Nigeria among leading industrialised countries to satisfy the ever-increasing demands for power in many industries and factories across the country.
“The power firms said, “The impact of the inadequate power supply is multifarious. Nigeria’s potential to become one of the world’s largest economies will remain just an aspiration without the electricity required to pursue aggressive industrialisation, including the revitalisation of moribund local industries.”
In a related development, a non-governmental organisation, Social Action, has said the signing of the AfCFTA by Buhari signified that it is time to implement the nation’s National Industrial Revolution Plan.
In a statement issued by the organisation’s Programme Officer, Mr Botti Isaac, in Abuja on Wednesday, the NGO said the country must implement the plan in order to position itself to take full advantage of the continental free trade zone.
Isaac said, “Time cannot be better than now to pursue and implement the National Industrial Revolution Plan to strengthen the country’s industrial sector, to empower it to effectively compete with those of other climates.
“It must also ensure genuine diversification of the economy by affecting a paradigm shift from the mono-product situation of the country to multi-product to afford Nigeria the impetus to harness not just the new African trade deal but others as the proposed open European Union markets.
“The AFCFTA, therefore, offers ample opportunity for industrialisation and job creation as it has provided the platform for Small and Medium Enterprises in Nigeria to connect to regional and continental value chains while consolidating the country’s position as the biggest economy in Africa.”
FG Plans to Build 10 New Airports in Anambra, Benue, Others – Aviation Minister
Aviation Minister Says FG Working on Building 10 New Airports
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, on Tuesday, said the Federal Government plans to build 10 airports across the country to improve civil aviation.
The minister made the statement while defending his ministry’s 2021 budget proposals.
Sirika said President Muhammadu Buhari has done justice to the aviation ministry through the ongoing framework and implementation.
He said the administration would construct new airports in Anambra, Benue, Ekiti, Nasarawa, Ebonyi and Gombe States.
He further stated that airports in Kebbi, Osubi and Dutse have been taken over for redevelopment by the Federal Government.
Sirika said, “Consequent upon that roadmap, we have seen aviation grow in 2018 to become the second-fastest-growing sector of the economy.
“Also and by 2019, it became the fastest-growing sector of the economy and increased its GDP contribution.
“From 2015 till now, we’ve seen a lot of growth in civil aviation, the number of airports is increasing.
“So far, about seven airports have been added to the map, some of them completed, some of them under construction.
“There are airports coming up in Benue, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Lafia, Damaturu, Anambra and so on.
“All these show that civil aviation is growing during this administration.
“So, we have about 10 new airports coming up, that is almost half the number of airports we used to have in Nigeria.
“We are adding 50 per cent of the number of airports,” the minister added.
Sirika noted that Nigeria Air, the proposed national carrier, was part of the new roadmap and could be delivered before 2023.
He said, “We are on it. The transaction adviser has brought in the outline business case.
“It is being reviewed by Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, Soon after it finishes, it will go to the Federal Executive Council and it will be approved.
“We will not leave this government without having it in place.”
He defended why Lokoja, Kogi State needs another airport, saying it is an alternative to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.
He said, “Lokoja is an important northern town. It is a cosmopolitan town, it’s a mini Nigeria and it is extremely very important in growth and development of our country.
“We have a lot of agricultural activities there. There is fishery, there is perishable item production and so on.
“So, establishing an airport there is quite apt. For me, it is something we should have done long ago for its importance.”
FG Says Over N6 Billion Disbursed to Poor Households in Zamfara
Over N6 Billion Disbursed to Poor Households in Zamfara
The Federal Government said it has disbursed over N6 billion under the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) scheme to poor households in six out of the 14 local governments in Zamfara in 2020.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar-Farouk disclosed this on Tuesday during the flag off of Grant for Rural Women Project in Gusau.
The minister said the CCT program was created in 2016 to address the deficiencies in capacity and lack of investment in human capital of poor and vulnerable households.
“The programme is designed to deliver timely and accessible cash transfers to beneficiary households.
“And sets to support development objectives and priorities, to achieve improvement in health and nutrition, school enrolment and retention, environmental sanitation and empowerment among others,” she explained.
Umar-Faruk said a total of 130,000 beneficiaries from Anka, Bungudu, Birnin Magaji, Kaura Namoda, Tsafe, and Talata Mafara local government areas received between N30,000 to N80,000, depending on the dates the beneficiary enrolled in the programme.
Speaking on the grant for Rural Women, the minister said the programme was introduced to deepen the social inclusion agenda of President Buhari administration that includes lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.
“It is designed to provide a one-off grant to some of the poorest and most vulnerable women in rural Nigeria.
“A grant of N20,000 will be disbursed to over 150,000 poor rural women across the 36 states of the federation,” she said.
Delta State Gov Okowa Presents N378.48 Billion Budget for 2021
Ifeanyi Okowa Presents N378.48 Billion Proposed Budget for 2021
The Executive Governor of Delta State, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, on Tuesday presented a N378.48 billion budget to the state’s House of Assembly for consideration for the 2021 fiscal year.
The budget christened “Budget of Recovery” appropriated N207.52 billion for Capital Expenditure while Recurrent Expenditure was allocated N171.32 billion.
According to the Governor, capital expenditure accounted for 54.76 percent of the budget while 45.24 percent represented recurrent expenditure.
He explained that the allocations were in line with his administration’s agenda of spending more on projects and programmes that would impact positively on the socio-economic well-being of the people of Delta.
The proposed budget for 2021 is N96.2 billion or 34.05 per cent more than the N282 billion approved for 2020.
The governor said that the 2021 budget proposals reinforced the state government’s commitment to road infrastructure, education, health, job and wealth creation programmes as the principal-drivers of the Stronger Delta agenda.
According to him, N113 billion, representing 89.94 per cent of the capital budget is allocated to the economic sector while N35 billion is allocated to the social sector; the administration sector got 10.93 billion and the regional sector, N42 billion.
“In 2021, we propose to spend N66.66 billion on Road Infrastructure; N6.79 billion on Health; Education will gulp N23.55 billion; Agriculture, N2.04 billion and Water Sector, N1.83 billion.
“Job and Wealth Creation Bureau will gulp N1 Billion and Youth Development, N1.25 billion. These key sectors are very essential in our 2021 budget,” Okowa said.
Okowa also explained that due to the negative impact of COVID-19 on the economy and the world at large, government spending was significantly affected by the global pandemic and that Delta was no exception.
The governor, therefore, stated that “the proposed 2021 Budget for Delta is primarily focused on protecting and supporting our people in a COVID-19 environment, accelerating infrastructural renewal, incentivizing growth, enhancing job creation, engendering social inclusion and developing sustainably.
“Overall, the proposed 2021 Budget is predicated on inclusive economic growth that is sustainable and people-centred, with strengthening fiscal sustainability through increased efficiency in spending, improved revenue mobilization and debt sustainability.
“It also entails improving processes and systems in Public Financial Management, and Monitoring and Evaluation, to bolster better public sector service delivery.”
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