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Nigeria says working hard to resolve gasoline crisis

In a chat with Nigerians from all walks of life on Sunday evening during the stopover, the Vice President noted that the Federal Government was moving as quickly as it could to solve the fuel crisis and reduce the difficulties Nigerians were facing as a result.

How Jonathan’s officials, cousin shared 27bln proceeds of PHCN sale -EFCC

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has narrated how top government officials under the administration of former president Goodluck Jonathan shared 27 billion, part of the proceeds of the sale of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) in 2014.

- Nigeria unemployment rate climbs up

Four out of every ten people in Nigeria's workforce were unemployed or underemployed by the end of September, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Friday.

Why is Jerusalem important, what makes Donald Trump's intervention so toxic

What is the status of Jerusalem? Israel set up its parliament in West Jerusalem when the state of Israel was proclaimed in 1948. The move followed the United Nations’ vote to partition Palestine on the basis of the British pledge known as the Balfour Declaration that paved the way for a homeland for the Jewish people.

- Nigeria's dollar reserves at $34.53 bln as of Nov. 24

Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves stood at $34.53 billion as of Nov. 24, up nearly 3 percent from a month earlier, central bank data showed on Thursday. The bank did not provide a reason for the increase in reserves, which stood at $33.58 billion at the same date last month.

Saturday, 9 November 2019

China Construction Firm To Build Railway Assembly Plants In Nigeria

The China Civil Engineering Corporation (CCEC) is to build a railway wagon assembly plants that will produce around 500 wagons for train across the continent, the foundation for the project was laid by Nigeria Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Saturday.
The plant located in Kajola, Ogun State is expected to generate about 5,000 direct and indirect jobs and would emerge as the largest private investment by CCECC in sub-Saharan Africa when completed.
Osinbajo while laying the foundation of the plants, charged the contractor handling the project, CCECC to start assembling locomotives and coaches in Nigeria.
The Federal Ministry of Transportation had earlier stated that the plant would create 5,000 direct and indirect jobs, as well as boost the country’s foreign exchange through exports.
“The plant which is a private investment to be undertaken by Messers CCECC, is central in the production of rolling stock needed for the railway modernisation programme being implemented by this administration.
“This ceremony is not just another event, it is a historic turning point. For us, the railway is not only an alternative and comfortable mode of travel, it holds the master key to transforming commerce in Nigeria and across the continent,” Osinbajo said at the ceremony.
On the assembling of coaches in Nigeria, Osinbajo stated that he was directed by President Muhammadu Buhari to tell the contractors to work towards achieving the feat.
“I have a message also from the President and this is to CCECC which is that we expect that you move on very quickly to the next phase of this project which is the assembly and construction of coaches and locomotives.
“This for us will be a significant breakthrough and we will be looking forward to hearing from you as quickly as possible when this will come into operation.”
He said the plant would produce some of the parts, as well as wagons that would be deployed in the Lagos-Ibadan railway.
Osinbajo said, “By linking our ports to rail lines and now building the rolling stock locally, import and export business within, into and out of Africa’s largest market will never be the same.
“When completed, it is expected that the plant would produce some parts of the wagons for the Lagos-Ibadan and Abuja-Kaduna rail lines, also for the central rail lines and to satisfy the needs of other rail operators within the West African sub-region.”

Dangote Group To Build $2.6 Bln Fertiliser, Cement Plants In Togo

Africa's richest man, Aliko Dangote's firm Dangote Group has signed deals to build a $2 billion phosphate plant that will produce fertiliser and a cement factory in Togo, Nigeria neighbouring country has said.
Togo’s vast phosphate resources are mostly exported in their raw form, and Dangote’s project would process some of that phosphate to make fertiliser in-country, aiming to export it to the region.
The cost of the projects is around $2.60 billion, a statement from Togo’s government said, without specifying how much of that would come from Dangote.
Dangote also signed a deal to build a cement factory at a cost of around $60 million. Construction of the factory is set to start in the first quarter of 2020 and it will begin producing by the end of next year, the statement said.
The cement would serve the Togolese market as well as export to neighbouring countries.
The deal marks Dangote’s first push into Togo, setting billionaire Aliko Dangote’s firm up for competition against Germany’s HeidelbergCement, which operates three companies there, and Fortia Cement.

Nigeria Has 2nd Largest Number Of Child Brides —UNICEF

The United Nations Children’s (UNICEF) Fund says Nigeria has the second-largest number of child brides in the world, with 23 million girls and women married out as children in the country, thereby ending their educational strive.
Bhanu Pathak, Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Nigeria, Bauchi Field Office, stated this in Bauchi State on Saturday at a Youth Talk organised in commemoration of the 30th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
“Too many Nigerian children and young people are being left behind, especially when it comes to education.
“Nigeria has the world’s highest number of out-of-school children; more than 10.5 million Nigerian children are not in school.
“Nigeria also has the second largest number of child brides in the world with 23 million girls and women married as children, and as such, ending their education,” said Pathak.
He reiterated UNICEF’s resolve to foster a stronger partnership with the Nigerian government at the federal and state levels for the realisation of children’s rights.
In his remarks, Sagir Musa, the President, Youth Advocates For Education, Bauchi, said, the challenges of young people included high rate of unemployment, lack of basic life skills, drug abuse, political thuggery and illiteracy among others.
He commended the state government for collaborating with UNICEF, Bauchi Field Office, to organise such forum which gave young people the opportunity to have their voices heard and take decisions on matters that affected their lives.
That the ceremony was organised by UNICEF and Bauchi State Universal Basic Education Board.
The Youth Talk, which is tagged ‘The Nigeria We Want: Voices from Bauchi’, was sponsored by United Kingdom Department for International Development, with participants from six states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Jigawa, Plateau and Taraba States.

Friday, 8 November 2019

Lagos State Budgets N1.2 Trn For 2020

Lagos Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Friday presented a total budget of N1.16 trillion for 2020 fiscal year to the state House of Assembly.
The budget, according to the governor will be funded from a projected internally generated revenue (IGR) of N1.071 trillion, while the deficit component stood at
A breakdown of the budget titled, ‘Budget of Awakening’ shared by the Lagos State Government reveals that it will be funded by a projected total revenue of N1.071 trillion and a deficit amounting to N97.53 billion.
The deficit will be financed through internal and external loans.
Last month, the governor had made a request to the state legislators to approve a total of N250 billion loans and bond issuance to fund some projects in the 2019 budget.
Giving a breakdown of the budget tagged “Awakening to a Greater Lagos”, Sanwo-Olu tsaid 62 percent of total estimate would be expended on capital projects, while recurrent expenditure was put at 38 percent.
This translates to capital expenditure gulping N723.75 billion, while recurrent expenditure will take N444.81 billion.
A total of N167.81 billion of the recurrent expenditure will go for personnel costs and other staff-related expenses.
Sanwo-Olu said the proposed budget would help the State achieve a sustainable social investment and scale up private sector-led economic growth through investment in infrastructure and security.
He said it would also improve civic engagement in governance and foster partnership with the federal government and the civil society.
Explaining why his administration will be earmarking huge funds to the environment and public infrastructure, the Governor said Lagos had been facing combined threats from population explosion and climate change.
“Lagos faces an existential threat, arising from the interplay of demographic and climate change. Lagos will continue to be a magnet for multitudes within and outside Nigeria, in search of jobs and economic prosperity. These levels of migration put a phenomenal strain on the physical and fiscal resources of the state.
“This budget seeks to aggressively invest in and develop our education, health and other physical infrastructure sectors," the governor said.
Sanwo-Olu said that as at September 2019, our capital expenditure on works and infrastructure was just N31 billion, which is less compared with N78 billion proposed in the current year. It is our intention to spend N115 billion on physical infrastructure in 2020.
“In response to the perennial challenges of flooding in the metropolis, we have to triple the capital budget provision to tackle this observed problems from N3 billion in 2019 to N9 billion in 2020. We are embarking on massive desilting of major drain systems across the State next year.”
"The 2020 Budget will be supported by a Performance Management System that will ensure that, by December 2020, we shall achieve an optimal budget implementation when compared with previous years. This is in line with our commitment to transparency and accountability in the management of public finances.
“We have provided N11.8 billion as counterpart funds in preparation for various social impact schemes. In addition, we have made provisions for N7.1 billion this year, to provide for industrial hubs, parks, graduate internship programs and virtual markets for artisans. This is in support for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) which are the engines for both economic and employment growth.”

Attempt To Amend EFCC Law Meant To Undermine Its Effectiveness

Nigeria's anti-graft agency the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has accused some powerful people plotting to whittle down the power of the commission by sponsoring an amendment to its enabling law.
According to the acting chairman of the commission Ibrahim Magu there was a plot to amend the agency’s enabling Act to reduce its powers.
He said although some corrupt elements were behind the plot to whittle down the powers of EFCC as a way of fighting back
There was a report that the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation plans to take over the assets recovery and management functions of the country's anti-graft agencies.
However, Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami has debunked the claimed, saying there was no plan to reduce the asset recovery powers of the EFCC.
Malami said the anti-graft agencies would retain their powers to seize assets from corrupt suspects.
The minister made the clarifications in a statement through his Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Dr Umar Jibrilu Gwandu.
Magu in his presentation at a press briefing said asset recovery is key in denying the corrupt the enjoyment of the proceeds of their crimes.
He said the activities of the EFCC have also helped to restore the confidence of international investors in the economy
Magu, who made his position known at Anti-corruption Townhall meeting in Abuja, said all that is needed to fight corruption is “a combination of guts, integrity and determination.”
“For me, this is a moment to share experiences from my four-year tour of duty at the helm of the EFCC, leading the commission’s charge against all forms of corruption in Nigeria.
“It is true that corruption is the greatest problem holding back our country from fulfilling its potentials. It is entrenched in all sectors. But, in the last four years, the EFCC, backed by the political will of President Muhammadu Buhari, has, through a combination of enforcement and preventive measures, proving that this monster can be tamed.
“All that is needed is a combination of guts, integrity and determination.
“Fighting corruption comes with its peculiar challenges. The corrupt are not going to fold their hands while you retrieve what they had stolen. They would fight back. This has come in the form of:
•sponsored media attacks and even violent attacks against operatives of the Commission. My farmhouse in Nasarawa state was attacked;
•sponsorship of unwarranted amendment of EFCC laws, to reduce its powers and undermine the effectiveness of the agency; and
undermining and distracting the leadership of the commission.
The Acting EFCC chairman spoke on other inhibitions against the anti-graft war.
“The other challenges are: not enough funding support for expanding activities of the commission, especially the huge cost of investigation and prosecution of cases.
“Lack of progress in some high profile corruption cases due to the antics of defence lawyers, especially some senior advocates.
“Lack of cooperation by some institutions in both public and private sectors that should be working side – by – side with the Commission in the fight against corruption.
“Lack of cooperation by some foreign countries in the recovery of stolen assets stashed abroad.
“Insufficient manpower to cope with the ever-increasing cases of corruption and economic crimes and inadequate accommodation for staff in zonal offices
“I wish to reiterate that, no one agency can fight the ills of corruption alone, as such, we must all work together as hunters of fraud and corruption to salvage our country from the corrupt few.”
On the controversy surrounding the seizure of properties, Magu said: “Asset recovery is key in denying the corrupt the enjoyment of the proceeds of his/her crime.
“It also allows the country to channel recovered funds into national development. Within this period, the Commission has recovered several hundreds of billions of Naira which are in various categories of forfeitures.
“Some of these funds were recovered for third party individuals, companies, as well as government agencies such as NNPC, FIRs, AMCON and also state governments. Several thousand of movable and immovable properties have been recovered within the period. These are also subject of either interim or final forfeiture orders.”

Nigeria Senate Excited Over $10 Bln Train 7 NLNG Project

Nigeria plans to increase gas production capacity by 35 percent and invest $10 billion on train seven of the Liquefied natural gas project is being backed by the country's Senate.
The Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) chief executive Tony Attah was at the Senate to make presentation on the proposed expansion of gas production in the country on Thursday.
The Senate Committee on Local Content, headed by Teslim Folarin has urged Nigerians to actively participate in the project which would create 10,000 new jobs and expand gas production capacity by 35 percent.
Folarin said the Senate is committed towards ensuring that Nigerians are active participants in the gas sector.
Folarin in a statement by his Senior Legislative Aid Bamidela Ajibola on Friday said the committee was delighted at the expansion of the nation’s gas capacity from 22MTPA to 30MTPA through the train7 project.
He said the project would be constructed by the SCD consortium, comprising of Saipem, Chiyoda and Daewoo.
Folarin stressed with the foreign direct investment on the project, the gas sector and the nation, stands to witness unprecedented benefit.
He, however, said that NLNG should expect further invitations from the senate given its determination to ensure that the project complies with Local Content laws once the Final Investment Decision (FID) on the TRAIN seven project was signed.
Attah in his remark explained that NLNG was owned by four shareholders, namely the Federal Government, represented by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) with 49 per cent, stake; Shell Gas has 25.6 percent Total Gaz Electricite with 15 percent and Eni International with 10.4 percent.
He said NLNG selected the SCD consortium for the Train seven project after a thorough bidding process.
According to him, the SCD consortium will collectively build the seven billion dollars Train seven LNG expansion plant.
Attah said that an additional 3billion dollars worth of investment in upstream gas development would be spent to meet the expected demands of the new capacity.
He said the investment would raise the global profile of Nigeria as the fourth largest exporter of LNG in the world.
He commended the Senate and its Committee on Local Content for the support rendered so far.

Thursday, 7 November 2019

How President Buhari Weakens Osinbajo’s Powers Amid Succession Talk

The relationship between Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is in the spotlight after the president embarked on a private overseas trip without handing over temporary authority to his deputy.
While Buhari, 76, transferred power to Osinbajo, 62, during his first term when he traveled abroad for medical reasons, it’s the second time he’s opted not to since being re-elected in February. His chief-of-staff, Abba Kyari, this week had to fly to London so that Buhari could sign long-awaited oil legislation approved by parliament.
Speculation that Buhari is marginalizing Osinbajo was partly fueled by the president’s decision last month to appoint a new economic advisory council that reports directly to him, replacing a committee headed by the vice president.
Nigerian newspapers reported that Buhari, who is on a 15-day private visit to the U.K., this week approved the dismissal of dozens of Osinbajo’s aides.
The treatment of Osinbajo since the election “has sent a strong signal to the ruling party and national power brokers that Buhari has no plans to anoint, or go out of his way to position, his VP as his preferred successor,” said Matthew Page, an associate fellow at London-based Chatham House.
“It also sends a signal that Buhari prefers to maintain tight control over government decision-making.”
Buhari’s spokesman, Femi Adesina, declined to comment and Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, didn’t immediately respond to phone calls seeking comment.
Reversing Decisions
Even before the election, Buhari had begun undoing what could pass for Osinbajo’s legacy by reversing key decisions the latter made when he was acting president. These include removing former Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen, whose appointment was confirmed by Osinbajo while Buhari was abroad, and firing Mathew Seiyefa, the vice president’s choice for head of the secret police to replace a Buhari appointee.
Although the next presidential election isn’t due until 2023, Buhari can’t stand again and attention is already turning to the question of who’ll be the ruling All Progressives Congress’s candidate.
A former law professor from southwest Nigeria, Osinbajo won praise for his decisive handling of economic matters, especially during the president’s lengthy health-related absences during his first term.
Under an informal arrangement, the APC is expected to select a candidate from the mainly Christian south to replace Buhari, who comes from the predominantly Muslim north.
APC spokesman Lanre Issa-Onilu didn’t immediately respond to phone calls requesting comment.
Opinions differ over the legality of Buhari’s decision not to transfer power to Osinbajo while he’s in the U.K. for undisclosed private reasons.
The president’s supporters say he’s under no obligation to hand over responsibilities if his absence is shorter than 21 days.
“This is some kind of clever attempt to explain away the provisions of the constitution,” said Clement Nwankwo, director of the Abuja-based Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre.
“What he (Buhari) has done is not in line with the provisions of the constitution.”