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FG refunds N143 billion to 5 states for road projects

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The Federal Government said that it has reimbursed a total amount of N143 billion to 5 states for the construction works on some federal roads.

This follows earlier permission given to the states by the Federal Government to undertake the construction of some federal roads with an agreement to refund later.

This disclosure was made by the Minister of State for Works and Housing, Alhaji Abubakar Aliyu, on Saturday, during a visit to the Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu, at Government House, Birnin Kebbi.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the Minister, an engineer by profession, was in Kebbi to ascertain the level of work executed by the state government on the construction of some federal roads in the state.

What the Minister of State for Works and Housing is saying

Aliyu in his statement said, “Out of the total distance of roads we have across the country, 34,000 kms plus are under the jurisdiction of the federal government out of which we are currently working on over 13,000 kms simultaneously with over 800 contracts currently ongoing.

“Before now, some states may find it extremely necessary, because of urgency, to approach the federal government to seek permission to construct federal roads that are within their states.

“The federal government will give them the permission and they will be reimbursed later. Before 2016 or around that period, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) set up a committee to verify and clear road construction executed by some state governments.

“The committee headed by the Minister of Works and Housing, Hon. Babatunde Raji Fashola was able to clear and verify 25 states who built federal government roads in their states.”

The Minister of State had stated that President Muhammadu Buhari had given approval for the payment of N477 billion, which was shared among the 25 states respectively, adding that this is the third set of which Kebbi is among, alongside Yobe and Taraba States.

He said, “As I am talking to you, by tomorrow, the Hon. Minister of Works and Housing will be in Yobe to ascertain and verify their road construction, while the Hon. Minister of Education will be in Taraba to do a similar job.

“That’s why I am here together with my team today, the secretariat is domiciled in the SGF’s office and that’s why you see me with the Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Office, to come and verify the two roads as you requested.”

On his part the Kebbi State Governor, Bagudu appreciated the minister for the visit, applauding the present administration for completing one of the legacy roads it inherited; Sokoto-Tambuwal-Kontagora road.

He said that the project is one of the numerous uncompleted roads that were inherited by the President Buhari administration which are either completed or on the way to completion and was full of commendation.

What you should know

  • It can be recalled that in November last year, the House of Representatives approved the issuance of promissory notes worth N148.141 billion to 5 States of the federation as refund for federal road projects executed on behalf of the federal government.
  • The States included Bayelsa, Cross River, Ondo, Osun and Rivers.
  • The approval by the lower house follows a request by President Muhammadu Buhari through a letter dated August 13, 2020, seeking the approval of the National Assembly for the refund.
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Building learning culture is difficult when the environment is not conducive – Nestle Nigeria

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Building a learning culture in early childhood is difficult when the environment is not conducive.

This was stated by Nestle Nigeria through its Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Manager, Mrs. Victoria Uwadoka, on Saturday while commissioning a fully equipped block of 3 classrooms renovated in Salvation Army Primary School 1, Agbara, Ogun state.

According to her, the pupils will now enjoy a more conducive environment with the commissioning of the block, as this is part of a project comprising 2 blocks of 5 classrooms and a crèche.

She said, “Building a learning culture in early childhood is difficult when the environment is not conducive. This is why we are committed to improving facilities in the schools closest to our operations. Strong in the belief that access to quality education increases opportunities for a better quality of life, Nestlé Nigeria has invested in enhancing infrastructure in public schools, reaching over 4,000 children in Ogun State and Abaji in the FCT in the past 3 years alone.

“The company achieves its objective of building thriving communities in collaboration with the State Universal Basic Education Boards to support government’s efforts to reposition the education sector for improved performance.”

This fact was appreciated by the Executive Secretary of the Ogun State Universal Basic Education Board, Mr. Olalekan Kuye who said, “I specially commend Nestlé Nigeria PLC for this laudable intervention which complements our collective drive to further improve the state of our learning environment. These projects are also unique and in accordance with recommended standards.

“I charge the school, management committee and community development association and our esteemed learners to judiciously utilize and ensure that the buildings are well secured and preserved for continuous use.”

In his comments at the project handover ceremony, the Alagbara of Agbara, HRM Oba Lukman Jayeola Agunbiade said, “I am delighted that the commissioning of the classroom blocks renovated by Nestlé Nigeria is taking place during the celebration of my 5th year in office as the Alagbara of the illustrious Agbara community.

“I sincerely appreciate Nestlé for remaining a responsible member of this community, and for investing in improving teaching and learning facilities in Salvation Army Primary School among others. I am therefore pleased to receive this project on behalf of my people.”

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The future lies in a knowledge-based economy – Sanusi

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A former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Alhaji Muhammad Sanusi, has said that Nigeria’s future lies in a knowledge-based economy.

This, he disclosed at the closing ceremony of the Kaduna Investment Summit, tagged KadInvest 6.0, according to Daily Trust.

What the former CBN governor said

Sanusi said the future lies in a knowledge-based economy, adding that Nigeria is behind many African countries in innovation index.

“Only eight of every 100 Nigerians who start primary school complete university.

“Globally, work is being redefined; 30 to 40 per cent of workers in developed economies will need to significantly upgrade their skills by 2030. And what are the major drivers of this redefinition? ICT and remote working, which we have seen even here with COVID-19.

“There is increased automation and artificial intelligence. Very soon, robot will take over work in most countries and those who would have job are those who operate the robots, manufacture the robots or service the robots.”

He stated that Nigeria can not continue depending on revenue from oil as the world economy is slowing moving away from oil into alternative energy sources.

“A few months ago, Germany was able to produce enough renewable energy for the entire country’s need. Today, we are having difficulties selling Nigerian oil. So, not only are we having problems producing, even when we produce, the market is not there.

“So, this is forcing a change, and for us a country that depends on oil, things need to change.”

He, however, stressed the need for skill creation for the young people which will create enabling environment for economic growth and development.

“Data is one of the most crucial support that can be given to entrepreneurs for innovation,” he said.

While calling on government to encourage market access, he said, “If Kaduna state government continues with its e-government plan, it will be a big market itself and it will encourage investment which are all knowledge economy aspiration and a shift in government spending to match the priority.”

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Nigeria Railway: FG leveraging alternatives to fund railway development – Amaechi

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The Federal Government through the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, revealed that it is leveraging alternative funding mechanisms to rehabilitate old rail lines and modernise the rail system in line with its 25-year strategic vision.

The Minister disclosed this at the 2021 annual public lecture organised by the Department of Economics, Faculty of Social Science, University of Lagos, Akoka, themed “Nigeria’s National Rail Transport Project,” reported by the News Agency of Nigeria.

He said the FG recovered most of the failed locations on the Narrow Gauge corridor and is also taking precautions in the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report on the standard gauge corridors. He stated that the establishment of rail projects was aimed at reducing the cost of transportation and boosting the economy; since economic activities drive development in any country.

He also added that all the regions in the country would have been connected with rail transportation but for lack of sustainable funding plan, environmental issues, degenerated infrastructure, theft of railway materials and obsolete legal framework.

“The railway project is affected by decline of requisite railway professionals, indiscriminate disposal of refuse on railway right of way by citizens among others,” he said.

The minister urged community leaders and civil society organisations to join in the fight against vandalisation of railway infrastructure across the country.

Unilag Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, said when transport systems are efficient, they provide economic and social opportunities and benefits that result in positive multiplier effects such as better access to markets, employment, and additional investments.

“Availability of railway also plays an important role in reducing regional disparities and improving the competitiveness of regions, by facilitating trade, movement of labour, and economies of scale.

“In a vast country like ours, where the population are not only scattered all over the country but are also separated by desert, forest, valley and mountains, efficient, reliable, and cheap means of transportation like modern railway networks are essential,” Ogundipe said.

What you should know

Recall that it was reported in July that the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, revealed that the Federal Government has committed the sum of $280 million for the $1.2 billion Kaduna-Kano rail project which is set to begin this month.

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