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Tinubu Writes Senate,Seeks Approval  for $8.6bn, €100m Loan 

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President Bola Tinubu has written the Senate seeking approval for $8,699,168,559 and €100 million loan in the 2022 – 2024 borrowing plan.

The letter which was read by the Senate President, GodsWill Akpabio, at plenary on Tuesday stated that the money would be used to fund projects across all sectors, with specific emphasis on infrastructure, agriculture, health, water supply, roads, security, and employment generation as well as financial management reforms.

Muhammadu Buhari-led administration approved the borrowing plan at its Federal Executive Council meeting held on May 15, 2023.

The letter reads: “I write in respect of the above subject and to submit the attached federal government 2022-2024 external borrowing plan for consideration and early approval of the national assembly to ensure prompt implementation of the projects.

“The senate may wish to note that the past administration approved a 2022-2024 borrowing plan by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) held on May 15, 2023.

“The project cuts across all sectors, with specific emphasis on infrastructure, agriculture, health, water supply, roads, security, and employment generation as well as financial management reforms.

“Consequently, the required approval is for $8,699,168,559 and €100 million.

“I would like to underscore the fact that the projects and programmes in the borrowing plan were selected based on economic evaluations as well as the expected contribution to the social economic development of the country, including employment generation, and skills acquisition.“Given the nature of these facilities, and the need to return the country to normalcy it has become necessary for the senate to consider and approve the 2022- 2024 external abridged borrowing plan to enable the government deliver its responsibility to Nigerians.”

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Tinubu Warns Labour against ‘Disruptive Actions’

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By David Torough

President Bola Tinubu on Thursday warned unions against industrial actions.

Tinubu gave the warning at the inauguration of the first phase of the Lagos Rail Mass Transit (LRMT) Red Line project, a 37km project expected to reduce travel time and improve transportation and logistics in the state.

The president who reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to eradicate corruption expressed unhappiness with labour unions and charged them to refrain from disruptive actions.

In his words, ”Some labour unions should understand that no matter how we cling to our freedom and rights to call for strikes within the first nine months of a new administration is unacceptable.

”If you want to directly participate in the electoral process, wait until 2027, if not, maintain the peace. Labour is not the only voice of Nigeria.”

After inaugurating the first phase of the Red Line project, the president witnessed the signing of the contract for Phase 2 of the project by the Managing Director of Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), Engr. Abimbola Akinajo, and the Chairman of CCECC Nigeria Limited, Jason Zhang.

Tinubu, before departing for a state visit to Qatar, embarked on an inaugural train ride from the Ikeja station to the Agege station, accompanied by Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Deputy Governor of the State, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat; some state governors; members of the Federal and State Executive Councils; members of the Federal and State Legislative Assemblies; Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Cui Jianchun, and a select group of journalists.

Addressing a gathering of Nigerians at the train station in Ikeja, President Tinubu directed the Minister of Transportation, Senator Sa’idu Alkali to ensure that the federal and subnational governments strengthen their collaboration to provide reliable, efficient and affordable transportation systems for all Nigerians across the country.

”It is my singular pleasure to inaugurate the first phase of the LRMT Red Line to the glory of God Almighty and for the benefit of the people.

”Today, I’m seriously honoured that I am a Lagosian and the first to be president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

”My promise is not to let you down. We will arrive at the destination with joy, happiness, and prosperity; God willing,” he said. 

Reflecting on his tenure as the former governor of Lagos State, when the vision of a modern and effective public transportation system in the state was conceived, Tinubu described the project as a dream realized and a fulfillment of years of hard work and dedication by successive governments.

”I’m very happy indeed that today is a day to remember in Nigeria’s infrastructural history, particularly Lagos, the Center of Excellence.

“Today is evidence that it is good to dream and it is a serious validation of democracy as a form of government of the people, by the people and for the people.

”When you put people at the center of your vision and planning, you will realize the value of democracy.

”Twenty-five years ago, I was elected to lead Nigeria’s most populous state. From the very beginning, my team and I toiled day and night with a very bare cupboard and amidst pervasive deficiency to implement a developmental vision that would transform Lagos into an economic powerhouse. Today, we are realizing that dream.

”The momentum of greatness we kickstarted a quarter of a century ago has become unstoppable progress. It is not a crime to dream and dream big. Just stay focused and make development a central focus,” he said.

Tinubu commended the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), the urban transport agency he established over 20 years ago for its exemplary performance and implored LAMATA to sustain the momentum in completing all other phases of the Red Line project as well as the full execution of the broader rail blueprint of the state.

While speaking to reporters aboard the train during the inaugural ride, Tinubu assured Nigerians that their lives will only become more enjoyable as modern amenities are built across the entire nation under his progressive leadership.

‘‘This is very efficient and comfortable, and I’m happy. Our transportation system must be all about the people.

“We have cut down imports on PMS by almost 50 percent. We need mass transit to complement the daily efforts of citizens and make things easier for our people.

“And this is what this is all about. It is about the people. It is about democracy. We are happy about it,” Tinubu stated.

Governor Sanwo-Olu explained that the first phase of the project, executed by the state government spans 37 kilometers and shares the track of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) Lagos-Ibadan modernization project from Ebute Metta to Agbado with stations at Oyingbo, Yaba, Mushin, Oshodi, Ikeja, Agege and Iju.

According to the governor, phase one of the project will transport 750,000 passengers daily at inception and 1.1 million passengers daily once it is fully operational.”All the stations are live and ready to receive passengers,” Governor Sanwo-Olu announced.

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House Probes CBN, DISCOs over Mass Metering Programme

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By Ubong Ukpong, Abuja

House of Representatives on Thursday resolved to investigate the multi-billion naira disbursed to the Licensed Electricity Distribution Companies by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as loans under the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP).

The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon.

Uchenna Okonkwo, who underscored the need for all the institutions to take account of their stewardship on the utilisation of public funds.

In his lead debate, Rep. Okonkwo observed that NMMP was launched by the Federal Government of through the CBN to provide funds as loans to the licensed Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) to improve customers metering and eliminate estimated billing.

“The House also notes that the NMMP aims to reach over 6 million households and businesses with meters before the end of 2021 as part of the power sector reform agenda to promote transparency, accountability and efficiency in the power sector.

“The House is concerned that there have been reports of discrepancies, mismanagement and non-compliance with the terms and conditions of the loans disbursed under the NMMP by some DisCos, leading to inefficiencies, underperformance and failure to achieve the objectives of the NMMP.

“The House is worried at the lack of proper oversight, monitoring and evaluation of funds disbursed under the National Mass Metering Program by the Central Bank of Nigeria, which has created opportunities for corruption, diversion and misappropriation of public resources,” the lawmaker alleged.

In the bid to fix the sector, the lawmakers urged the Federal Government to prioritize the implementation of the Power Sector Recovery Program, which provides a roadmap for sustainable power sector reform.

The House also tasked CBN to provide a detailed report on the implementation of NMMP including the number of loans disbursed, the amount disbursed and the status of the loans to the House of Representatives.

In the same vein, the House called on the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to provide a comprehensive assessment of the performance of the DisCos in metering customers and eliminating estimated billing.

To this end, the House mandated the joint Committees on Power, Banking Regulations, Rural Electrification Agency, Housing and Habitat to investigate the disbursement and use of funds under the NMMP by the CBN, and to ascertain the level of compliance with the terms and conditions of the loans.

The House also mandated the joint Committees on Banking Regulations and Power to investigate: cases of discrepancies, mismanagement and non-compliance with the terms and conditions of the loans disbursed under NMMP; and the level of oversight, monitoring and evaluation of the use of funds disbursed under NMMP by CBN and to recommend measures to enhance transparency, accountability, and performance in the NMMP and report back within four weeks.

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Mutfwang Welcomes Revitalization of Ajaokuta, Jos Steel Rolling Mill

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From Jude Dangwam, Jos

Governor of Plateau State Caleb Mutfwang has pledged his support to moves by President Bola Tinubu to revitalise Ajaokuta Steel Company as well as the moribund Jos Steel Rolling Mill.

He expressed dismay at the neglect of the company by previous governments adding that investing in it would enable the country to produce and export steel, thereby earn foreign exchange and create jobs for the teeming unemployed youths.

Mutfwang stated this when he played host to the Minister of Steel Development, Shuaibu Audu in Jos, the Plateau State capital.

He noted that his administration has prioritized the completion of abandoned projects in the state, especially those that will boost the state’s economy and promote social harmony among the people.

He said that his administration will work closely with the Federal Ministry of Steel Development and the National Metallurgical Development Centre (NMDC) to conduct quality research that will enhance the sector’s performance.

The Minister of Steel Development thanked Mutfwang and assured him of better collaboration to improve the quality of life of the people.

He explained that President Tinubu had given him directive to revive the Ajaokuta Steel Company to strengthen Nigeria’s economy and well-being.

Audu explained that reviving the Ajaokuta Steel Company would require quality research to ensure adequate production of steel for the nation’s development.He said that the ministry would partner with reputable organizations in the country to optimize the production of essential materials that will benefit the country.

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