The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the award of contracts for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri eastern narrow gauge railway, with new branch lines and trans-shipment facilities.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, made this known when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the 18th virtual meeting of the Federal Executive Council (NAN).
The meeting was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.
The minister also revealed that the Council approved the construction of a new deep seaport in Bonny, under Private-Public- Partnership (PPP) programme and the construction of a railway Industrial park in Port Harcourt.
“The Federal Executive Council today, approved the award of contract for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri Eastern Narrow Gauge Railway, with new branch lines and trans-shipment facilities.
“It also approved the construction of a deep seaport in Bonny under PPP and construction of a railway industrial park in Port Harcourt.
“The railway line will be at the cost of $3,020,279,549. The industrial park, which is under PPP, at no cost to federal government, will cost $241,154,389.31.
“The Bonny deep seaport will cost $461,924,369, at no cost to the federal government.
“The Port Harcourt to Maiduguri narrow gauge railway will have new branch lines: from Port Harcourt to Bonny and from Port Harcourt to Owerri are new lines.
“There is another connecting to narrow gauge to standard guage at Kafanchan.
“There is a branch line from Gombe or before Maiduguri to Damaturu and Gashua. That’s what has been approved,’’ he said.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, who also briefed the correspondents on the outcome of the meeting.
He said the Council approved N653.8million to procure and deploy hybrid spectrum monitoring system that would cover the Southeast zone of the country.
He explained that the approval followed the presentation of an investigative report by the ministry to the council on the use of illegal frequencies, saying that 106 out of the 320 frequencies being operated across the country were illegal.
Pantami, therefore, expressed the hope that the deployment of the new hybrid spectrum would go a long way in promoting safety and security, enhance revenue and create many jobs for the citizens.
“From January to August 2020, within the period of eight months, we discovered 320 frequencies being used all over the country and of this 320, 106 were illegal.
“This is very worrisome because the usage of this illegal spectrum or frequencies will compromise our security and safety in the country.
“It is because of the agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari of promoting security that we came up with this initiative of monitoring the usage of frequencies and uncovered the legal and the illegal ones.
“For the legal ones to ensure they renew their licenses annually and for the illegal ones, necessary actions are being taken according to the gravity of the offence.
“We discovered that our monitoring did not cover south east. It covered five zones – northeast, northwest, north central, southwest and south south. However, south east has not been covered.
“It is because of this that we presented our memo, seeking for council’s approval of N653,886,584 to procure and deploy hybrid spectrum monitoring system that will cover the southern part of the country, most importantly the south east.
“So, Council approved for the deployment, and this project will go a long way in promoting safety and security and secondly, identify the usage of illegal spectrum and thirdly, enhance revenue for the federal government and fourthly, in the long run it will create many jobs for the citizens.’’(NAN)
We Currently have $30bn Investment Commitments – FG
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Doris Uzoka-Anite, says Nigeria currently has about 30 billion dollars investment committment from various investors.
Uzoka-Anite said this at the ongoing Ministerial Media briefing in Abuja on Friday.
According to her, the commitments will be redeemed over the course of five to eight years.
She said investments, commitments, and pledges were also received from our oil and gas free zone, adding that last week, some of them committed an additional 10 billion dollars in investments.
“I hosted the managing director of SHELL who explained to me about the investment plans of shell.
“ I know a lot of us are aware that shell is leaving; he came to explain to me what they mean by that.And I can tell you that they are not leaving.
“Rather, they are expanding and increasing their investments in Nigeria; they are selling their onshore assets and increasing their investment in gas and offshore assets.” she said.
Uzoka-Anite, who envisaged more investments into the country, said it would not have been possible without the commitment of President Bola Tinubu led administration.
She said that with increased investments comes job opportunities and economic growth, which wss part of the priority of the government. (NAN)
Nigerian Breweries Records N106bn Loss in 2023
Nigerian Breweries Plc has recorded a net loss of N106 billion for the year ended 2023, as against N13.93 billion posted in its 2022 financials, indicating 860 per cent loss.
Mr Uaboi Agbebaku, Company Secretary, Nigerian Breweries stated this in the audited financial result of the company for the year ended 2023 sent to the Nigerian Exchange Ltd.
Agbebaku said the gross profit of the company for the year under review also fell by 0.3 percent to N212.5 billion, compared to N213.20 billion posted in the previous year.
He stated that the operating profit of the company declined by 15.
The company secretary said that the firm recorded loss in its operating profit due to higher input cost and one-off reorganisation cost despite strong and aggressive cost savings and other efficiency measures.
According to him, the company however was able to grow its revenue by nine per cent to N599 billion, compared to N551 billion posted in the previous year, which was aided by positive price mix.
Agbebaku stated that the Nigeria business landscape experienced significant shifts in 2023, with substantial impact on businesses and livelihoods nationwide.
He explained that the Naira notes redesign which resulted in cash shortage that severely hampered social and economic activities nationwide set the tone for a turbulent year.
Agbebaku said: “High double-digit inflation rates with food inflation at more than 30 per cent and removal of subsidy on fuel.
“Coupled with the impact of the devaluation of the naira which resulted in a foreign exchange loss of N153 billion further exacerbated the already difficult environment for the populace and businesses.
“In a difficult operating environment, the Board will ensure that the company builds on its more than 77 years’ experience of operating in Nigeria to cope with current realities.
He said the company would continue to be resilient and forward-thinking, leveraging on its broad portfolio, strong supply chain footprint and passionate workforce to drive long-term value creation for its shareholders and other stakeholders.(NAN)
NDLEA Tincan Command Intercepted 876.453kg Illicit Drugs, others in 2023-Commander
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Tincan Special Area Command, says 876.453 kilograms of various illicit drugs and controlled substances were intercepted in 2023.
Commander Mohammed Abubakar of the command said this in a statement in Lagos on Thursday.
He listed the drugs as cocaine worth 24kg; Canabis – 852.
According to Abubakar, a total of 15 individuals were arrested and prosecuted during the period, out of which 10 were convicted.
He added that the feat was achieved through relentless efforts and meticulous investigation, which led to the dismantling of several drug trafficking networks and the subsequent prosecution of individuals involved.
“The Tincan special area command has been at the forefront of strategic operations in the area, targeting illicit drug smuggling activities and apprehending those responsible.
“In recent months, the efforts have culminated in multiple successful seizures and arrests, emphasising the agency’s commitment to eradicating drug-related crimes within our society.
“In one operation carried out at the Tincan port, a notable seizure of illicit drugs (Cannabis Indica also called Colorado) totalling 161.5kg was made, along with sum of 22,900 dollars offered as bribe to officers.
“The intercepted drugs, were concealed within cargo shipments of used vehicles from Montreal Canada, indicating the ingenuity of the involved drug traffickers,” he said.
Abubakar said that several investigations were conducted in collaboration with national and international law enforcement agencies, leading to the identification and apprehension of some of the key players in these drug networks.
The NDLEA boss noted that the combined efforts proved fruitful, resulting in the arrest of some of the persons directly involved in the importation, distribution, and sales of illicit drugs.
He said that throughout 2023, the command embarked on various sensitisation and enlightenment activities within and around the Tincan island port.
He listed them to include advocacy visit to all stakeholders in and around the port, public enlightenment and lectures, rallies and engagement of traditional rulers and non-governmental organisations around the port environment.
“All the activities were carried out under aegis of ‘War Against Drug Abuse’ (WADA) and was designed to reduce demand and abuse of illicit drugs and psychotropic substances in Nigeria.
The NDLEA Tincan special area commander appreciated stakeholders in the maritime industry, and other relevant government agencies for their unwavering support and collaborative effort in these operations.
He added that their dedication and joint action had played a crucial role in the successes achieved thus far.
He also urged all licensed Customs clearing agents to stop the practice of authorising third party individuals to clear cargo under their company stamp.
He pointed out that the practice, automatically made the company liable to any cargo cleared, using its name and stamp.
“This may become a real problem when illicit drugs are discovered and the company cannot provide any tangible information or whereabout of the owners of the cargo.
“Clearing agents have the responsibilities to not only adhere to laws but to cooperate with law enforcement agents undertaking an investigation.
“The NDLEA Tincan special area command sends a strong message to all those involved in drug trafficking and other illicit activities, we intend to use every available resource to bring them to justice and put an end to their illegal operations,” he said.
He said the command would continue to enhance their intelligence capabilities, invest in modern equipment, and provide training for its officers to combat drug trafficking effectively.
“The agency urges the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities related to drug trafficking to the NDLEA or relevant law enforcement agencies. Together, we can create a safer and drug-free environment for all Nigerians,” he said. (NAN)
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