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2021 budget: FG embarks on Multiple Railway Projects to achieve Intermodal Transportation

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2021 budget: FG embarks on Multiple Railway Projects  to achieve Intermodal Transportation

The federal Government has mapped out multiple railway projects to achieve Intermodal Transportation in the country as captured in the 2021 budget.
The projects are already captured in the N12.6trillion budget estimates according to the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi .

The Transport Minister stated this at the National Assembly in Abuja Friday during budget defence session with the joint committee on Transportation however explained that  the projects are planned to commence by year 2021 to be financed through budgetary and counterpart fundings .
According to him, part of the projects are construction of 378km single track gauge standard gauge rail line traversing Kano- Katsina – Jibiya with a 20km extension to the commercial boarder town of Maradi in Niger Republic and a branch line, Kano – Dutse .”Reconstruction and rehabilitation of new Port Harcourt – Maiduguri ( Eastern Narrow Gauge Railways),  Construction of the Central railway from Itakpe to Abuja and construction to a new Warri Port.”As for funding , he said three of the projects i.e, Kano to Maradi, Port Harcourt to Maiduguri and Lagos to Calabar rail lines, are to be funded from foreign loans already being negotiated for, by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed.He said the construction of Lagos – Ibadan Standard Gauge line has reached 92% completion but for the project to achieve full loan drawdown from co- financier ( China EXIM Bank ) and attain practical completion ,  construction of pedestrian and overpass bridges have to be completed .

“These additional and extra works amounting to $656million which is to be financed 100% by the Federal Government of Nigeria , has been approved by the Federal Executive Council for implementation.
“The project contractor , Messrs CCECC Nigeria Limited on the instruction of the Ministry , has commended work and reached advanced stages. Therefore, in order not to forestall the progress of implementation , adequate fund needs to be provided in the 2021 budget proposals to facilitate its completion “, he said.The Ministry , he added , is proposing a total capital budget of N205.161billion for Land Transportation and N204.316billion for Marine Transportation as well as overhead of N358.799million.”The aims and objectives of these proposals are to make significant progress on all ongoing projects and to complete and deliver modern railway services that would provide an efficient and cost effective alternative transport system for economic growth and creation of job opportunities for the citizenry”, he said.The Chairmen and members of the joint committees, refused interrogating the Minister on the budgetary proposals for not making required documents available to them before his presentation .Specifically, Senator Danjuma Goje (APC Gombe Central), who chairs the Senate Committee on Marine Transport, said since documents containing  the budgetary proposals were just made available to them by the Minister during his presentation , there was nothing they could do at that stage .”These documents supposed to get to us as committees overnighting your Ministry at least 24 hours before presentation .”Since you have failed to do so , we would have to peruse the documents very critically and reinvite you for another session , if required “, he said.Worried by the development , the Transportation Minister , openly instructed the Permanent Secretary and relevant Directors in the Ministry not to allow such things to happen again .

“Please the Permanent Secretary and the relevant Directors on budgeting procedures and processes in the Ministry , should please always ensure that budget documents meant for presentation in the National Assembly , get to the concerned Committees , at least four days before the day of presentation ” , he said.Goje thereafter , adjourned the session sinedie .

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Humanitarian ministry insists States hoarded palliatives

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Humanitarian ministry insists States hoarded palliatives

The minister of Humanitathas denied having any link with hoarded palliatives meant for distribution to the needy during the COVID-19 pandemic by many states as she restated that all palliatives donated to the ministry were distributed accordingly.
The minister made the disclosure on Monday during a national Press conference in Abuja on the activities of the ministry since inception.
She said, “Recently, the world witnessed the unfortunate incidence of looting of palliatives and relief materials stashed away in warehouses in some states of the country during the #EndSars protest.

“As the Minister of
Humanitarian Affairs, I want to categorically state that the Palliatives
donated to the Ministry by the Nigerian Customs Services, National
Strategic Grain Reserve, and many good willing donors were handed to
State officials for onward distribution to the poor and vulnerable in thier
states.

“The Ministry identifies its strategic role and impact in the everyday lives of the Nigerian. We want to assure the public that we are on ground working every day for Nigerians.”

She expressed satisfaction with the success story of one of the Federal Government’s Investment programs, the N-POWER as 109, 823 benefitiaries have successfully started their own businesses

According to her, “After the two-year period, facts and reports show that some of the
beneficiaries of Batch A and Batch B of the programme have established
businesses in their communities, with no fewer than 109,823
beneficiaries of the N-Power Programme who have identified themselves
as business owners.

According to her, “Current Enrolment Status of beneficiaries for N-power Batch C closed in July 2020 and we have received over 5 Million applications since the portal opened.
“The application process will be concluded as soon as possible to provide additional Nigerian youths access to the programme.
“At this juncture, I want to officially announce that the Central Bank of
Nigeria in collaboration with the Ministry has developed a portal to
enable the exited N-Power beneficiaries to log on and apply for the
various economic empowerment and entrepreneurship options provided by the Central Bank such as the AGSMEIS loan and the AnchorBorrowers Program (ABP). “Interested N-Power exited beneficiaries
should log on to the CBN portal for more information.
The website portal is nexit-fmhds.cbn.gov.ng as displayed on the screen.

Farouq also refuted the claim that her ministry has been feeding the Internally Displaced persons with poor nutritious food saying the Ministry has been making different grains available and also allow other bodies who make donations of their choice which the Ministry cannot restrict or limit.

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FG mulls reversal of Fuel price (PMS) as organized labour mounts pressure

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FG mulls reversal of Fuel price (PMS) as organized labour mounts pressure

The Federal Government may be planning to reverse the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) to N160 per litre if the pressure being mounted by the organised Labour on the Federal Government is fruitful.

At the end of the resumed negotiations between government and the labour movement Friday night, the Federal Government indicated willingness to consult widely with the view to reviewing the price downward.

The indication shows that   the new price might be unveiled at the resumed meeting slated for December 7.
The Federal Government said the period between now and then would allow it embark on a wide range consultation over Labour’s request.
Labour had insisted that the pump price must be reviewed downward to N160 before negotiations can proceed on the hike in electricity tariffs and deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry.
Minister for Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, who disclosed this at the end of the latest meeting between the Federal Government and organised Labour on the recent increases in the pump price of petrol and electricity tariff, added that the meeting agreed to let the government side consult with their principal and every relevant authority on the request of the Labour
He stated: “The message from the organised Labour is clear; they want a reversal of the pump price of PMS. The parties have agreed to let the government side consult their principal on that. We will consult the President, minister of Petroleum and the Economic Management Team.”
The minister noted that though it was no longer the responsibility of government to fix the pump price of PMS as it had been deregulated, the matter still fell within the realm of the economy.
On the issue of the electricity tariff, Ngige said the committee working on it, headed by the Minister of State for Labour, Festus Keyamo, already had an interim report and would use the opportunity created by the adjournment of the meeting to undertake field visits to the different Distribution Companies (DisCos) in Nigeria and come back with a more comprehensive report.

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INEC chair: Lawan denies taking N2b bribe to confirm Yakubu

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INEC chair: Lawan denies taking N2b bribe to confirm Yakubu

By James Ojochegbe

The president of the senate Ahmad Lawan has denied collecting any gratification of N2b to facilitate the confirmation of the INEC chairman as alleged by an online publication.

This contained in a Statement issued in Abuja by his special Adviser on media Ola Awoniyi.
The statement reads, “The attention of the Office of the Senate President has been drawn to a report by SaharaReporters alleging that a group led by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, collected N2billion from Professor Mahmood Yakubu to facilitate the confirmation of his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari to a fresh five-year tenure as chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

“It is noteworthy that the publication, as always with its ridiculous fabricated reports, could not even expand the entertainment of its readers by providing the names of members of the fictitious group and where the group operates from.
“To be sure, that group exists only in the mischievious imagination of the writer of the fiction.”
The Statement enjoined Nigerians to ignore the report as yet another incident of hallucination by the comical characters operating the fabricated news platform.

“The online medium has long earmed its notoriety as a purveyor of fake news with high profile public officials as its targets. 
“It is well known that only the President can nominate a candidate for appointment or reappointment as Chairman of INEC.
And only the Senate as a body can confirm or reject the appointment, after due screening of the candidate.
“The parliamentary process for the confirmation of nominations by the President is open and involves all distinguished senators.
“The Senate President is only a presiding officer of the Senate and does not lead any group in or outside the august chamber that acts in any way to circumvent the processes of the Senate. “We reassure Nigerians that the Senate President did not receive any gratification, in his or behalf of others, to help Professor Yakubu get a second term as chairman of INEC.”

He challenged SaharaReporters and the sponsors of the false publication to provide whatever evidence that they can in support of their glib claims, failing which Nigerians should dismiss the report as another cheap blackmail from a platform that has no reputation for credible reportage and ethical journalism practise.”

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