The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, said the federal government has approved the construction for Warri seaport at the cost of about 3.9 billion dollars and also awarded the contract for Abuja-Warri rail line.

Amaechi on Tuesday in Abuja that government also approved the linking of Abuja to Itakpe, Itakpe-Warri, then from Warri rail to the seaport.

“The President awarded the contract for Abuja to Warri, Abuja to Itakpe, then to Warri. From Warri rail to the seaport. We are building a new seaport in Warri, the cabinet approved it last week, that is about 3.9 billion dollars,” he said.

He, however, said that about 45 billion dollars was needed to complete rail development in the country.

He said that once Lagos-Kano, Port Harcourt-Maiduguri, Lagos-Calabar and Abuja-Warri rail lines were constructed, the rail would have covered the country.

According to him, the government has not spent over 3 billion dollars so far on all the ongoing projects.

“The Lagos-Ibadan will cost about 1.6 billion dollars, that doesn’t include the extra cost of things we didn’t prepare for or see in the evaluation; Abuja-Kaduna was constructed with about a billion dollars.

“We also paid 500 million dollars to buy locomotives and rolling stocks for Lagos-Ibadan, I can’t remember how much we spent buying rolling stocks for Kaduna-Abuja, that is what we have spent so far.

“So all the noise that you hear people saying we have spent 8 points something billion dollars is not true. I don’t think we have spent up to three billion dollars so far. Railway is capital intensive, a trillion naira is about 2.7 billion dollars.

“And that is for 200km of railway if you plan to do Lagos-Ibadan and you are looking at 8.7billion dollars that is between 3 and 4 trillion Naira. That is why I said we will need about 35 to 45 billion dollars.

“To be able to do Lagos-Kano, Port Harcourt-Maiduguri, Lagos-Calabar and Abuja-Warri, once we do this four tracks, we have covered the country and we have solved the problems of transportation to a great extent.”

Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Sunday announced a trade surplus of N15.04 billion ($42m) for January 2019.

In a statement by its Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ughamadu, the NNPC disclosed that it recorded a 24 per cent increase over the N12.13 billion surplus posted by the corporation in December 2019.

Ughamadu attributed the positive financial position to the improved performance of NNPC’s upstream subsidiary, Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, which recorded surplus numbers despite reduced operational activities in the month.

The NNPC’s January 2019 edition of its Monthly Financial and Operations Report revealed that the NPDC recorded a sustained revenue drive, evident from recent average weekly production of 332,000 barrels of crude oil per day, BPD, had made achieving 500,000bpd production by 2020 plausible.

The NPDC’s position, the NNPC noted, contrasted with the high expenditure levels posted by its two other entities, the Petroleum Products Marketing Company PPMC and Duke Oil, although both ended the month with profit.

In terms of sales and remittance of crude oil and gas proceeds, the NNPC announced total export receipts of $381.70 million in the month under review as against $345.68 million posted in December 2018.

Giving a breakdown of the numbers, the NNPC indicated that contributions from crude oil amounted to $269.43 million, while gas and miscellaneous receipts stood at $111.75 million and $0.52 million respectively.

It said, “Within the period under focus, NNPC transferred N153.01 billion into the Federation Account, while cumulatively, from January 2018 to January 2019, Federation and JV received N905.45 billion and N658.66 billion respectively, under the column of Naira Payments to the Federation Accounts.

“In the downstream operations, 1,998.61 million litres of petrol was supplied into the country through the Direct-Sale-Direct-Purchase (DSDP) crude-for-product arrangement in January 2019. The number is slightly higher than the 1,789.20million litres of petrol supplied in the month of December 2018.”

The NNPC stated that 230 hacked pipeline points were recorded, leaving only two ruptured, marking an 11 per cent improvement from the 264 vandalized points posted in December 2018.

“A breakdown indicated that Mosimi-Ibadan, Ibadan-Ilorin and Aba-Enugu pipelines accounted for 67, 62 and 30 points respectively, which translated to 29 per cent, 27 per cent and 13 per cent of the vandalized points, respectively.

“The Warri-River Niger axis accounted for 10 per cent and other locations accounted for the remaining 21 per cent of the pipeline breaks,” it added. In the gas sector, the NNPC declared that natural gas production increased by 2.22 per cent at 245.83 billion cubic feet compared to output in December 2018, translating to an average production of 8,194.34 million standard cubic feet of gas per day (mmscfd).

Out of the volume supplied in January 2019, it added that a total of 151.50 billion SCF of gas was commercialized, consisting of 38.03 billion SCF and 113.47 billion SCF for the domestic and export market respectively.

The figure, the NNPC said translated to a total supply of 1.226.83 billion SCF per day of gas to the domestic market and 3,780.24 mmscfd of gas supplied to the export market for the month.

“This implies that that 61.73 per cent of the average daily gas produced was commercialized, while the balance of 38.27 per cent was re-injected, used as upstream fuel gas or flared.

“Gas flare rate was 7.52 per cent for the month under review, translating to 610.07 mmscfd compared with average gas flare rate of 9.76 per cent, that is 770.31 mmscfd for the period January 2018 to January 2019,” the corporation disclosed.

When Barack Obama took office as America's 44th president, he was faced with an acute, three pronged economic challenges.
 
The American financial system was in crisis to  a greater extent than at any time since 1933. 
America's international imbalances  was  on a worsening downward slide, The economy was  in  a deep  recession supercharged by falling consumer purchasing power, declining house values, and cascading business losses. 
 
In addition to the above mentioned, he was faced with four chronic problems viz 
A worsening  thirty years trend of inequality and insecurity Energy crisis and climate change, Increasing cost of health care Decay of America's public spaces and facilities. 
 
All of the above mentioned scenario sounds familiar? That was the situation in  Almighty America  barely up to 8 years ago And this is our story in Nigeria today Now you will agree with me the story has changed for America. 
America is out of recession  thanks to  a brilliant,  hardworking  and tireless  president 
 
How was the feat achieved ? 
 
He blamed the out gone republican government most especially the two George Bush for the Economic mess? 
NO ! 
 
He clamped  down on any discerning voice of opposition and threw them into jail  with spurious, unfounded criminal and fraud charges? 
NO 
 
He restored confidence in the American economy not just with inspiring words /vague promises  or as in the case with our Nigerian president by engaging in  series of" blame it on Jonathan" propaganda, but by demonstrating that help was on the way. The American economy was vigorously restructured,  
necessary stimuli were injected into the economy, the  federal government embarked on  a  more robust housing and mortgage rescue program. 
 
Let's learn from United States of America. 
We can kick out recession, We can jump-start the Nigerian economy But we need to be aware of the cost of borrowing because Unnecessary borrowing may further kill our economy rather than revive it.
 
I advocate for a moderate deficit expenditure based budget. As at January 2015  our GDP stood at $574 billion making Nigeria the largest economy in Africa  and about the 24th largest in the world. 
 
What Nigeria needs therefore is not a large deficit budget but an ambitious tax hike to increase government income and  an aggressive Industrialisation drive followed by massive increase in employment. 
 
This is what is required to stimulate the economy and drive us out of recession.
 
 
Mr Itohoimo Udosen
Public/Political Affairs Analyst
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The  Nigerian media run by mostly government and elitist sycophants, lazy, corrupt, and spineless men without principles has over the years, transformed itself into a deadly major weapon of falsehood, repression and mass destruction as potent and as virulent, pathogenic and invasive as the Ebola virus, doing more harm to the mostly battered psyche of Nigerians than the violent physical human catastrophes a combined effort of Al Qaeda and Boko Haram has done to humanity.
 
Nigeria cannot actualize itself with this kind of coerced and subdued news retail outlet called the "MEDIA" which its drivers mostly operate without principles because of their compulsive inordinate ambitions to make money at the expense of serving humanity through dissemination of factual information without bias anchored on ethical baselines hinged on global best practices.
 
The Nigerian news media is on a dangerous downward spiral and therefore, in need of an urgent reversal before it is too late. The news media in Nigeria should chase news and not the credible news begging it for attention even with money before they are considered for publication. 
 
The failure to report and or, the under-reporting of some news items in Nigeria because of the economics or otherwise of doing so, can create major catastrophes which could lead to avoidable loss of lives especially now when Nigeria is grappling with all kinds of violent criminal activities.
 
The media in Nigeria is fast losing its vitality as it has mostly become the mouthpiece  and vuvuzela of the Government and the elites who can pay them to spread falsehood or repress the people and the truth in apposition to its essence, and in the process, create real or imagined threats to the safety of the masses and its associated national security challenges.
 
 
Mr Itohoimo Udosen
Political/Public Affairs Analyst
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Economic disruption from uneven currency trading in Nigeria and continued electricity shortages in South Africa are set to hold back overall growth across sub-Saharan Africa this year, a Reuters poll of economists found on Thursday.

Since commodity prices collapsed four years ago, the region has largely missed out on the global economic recovery, with growth failing to return to rates seen in previous years and set to remain subdued.

The survey, taken in the past week, shows Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and largest economy, is expected to grow 2.4 percent this year and 2.8 percent next year. South Africa, the number two economy on the continent, will grow 1.3 percent this year and 1.7 percent in 2020.

The 2019 forecasts for the two countries, which together drive around half of the wider region’s growth, are both 0.1 percentage points lower compared to the last survey for Nigeria in January and March’s poll for South Africa.

“Tepid growth in South Africa is one reason why we expect that growth across Sub-Saharan Africa will remain disappointing in 2019,” said John Ashbourne, an economist at Capital Economics in London.

Creaking infrastructure at South Africa’s state power utility Eskom is taking longer to fix than economists previously thought. Rolling power cuts as it struggles with capacity shortages threaten to stymie President Cyril Ramaphosa’s efforts to boost investments and economic growth.

In Nigeria, multiple currency exchange rates designed to deal with dollar shortages following a slump in global oil prices in 2015 have undermined its economy.

Ashbourne said that keeping the naira artificially strong in 2015 prevented the economy from adjusting to lower oil prices.

“The foreign exchange system was improved in 2016, when the Bank partially devalued the official rate and launched a new, ‘Nafex’ rate, now used for 70-80 percent of transactions. But it remains complex and open to abuse,” he said.

South Africa’s economy expanded 0.8 percent last year while Nigeria’s economy grew 1.9 percent, its fastest pace since the recession two years earlier.

The economists surveyed expect South Africa’s key interest rate to remain at 6.75 percent until next year while a separate Reuters poll last month suggested Nigeria’s central bank will wait until May 2020 before cutting its main rate by 25 basis points to 13.75 percent.

Ghana is forecast to grow 6.2 percent, faster than January’s survey suggested. Some analysts expect the exporter of cocoa, gold and more recently oil to be the top performer this year.

Growth in East Africa’s biggest economy Kenya is seen slowing to 5.8 percent growth in 2019, compared to a government estimate of 6.1 percent for 2018. The World Bank is more cautious and has warned growth could slow to 5.7 percent due to dry weather patterns.

The International Monetary Fund last week cut its growth projection for sub-Saharan Africa this year to 3.5 percent from 3.8 percent in October. The World Bank is again more pessimistic, with a 2.8 percent forecast.

A separate survey this month showed yield-hungry investors will trade risky emerging market currencies cautiously against the dollar this year despite the Federal Reserve’s recent dovish stance, though there is still demand for them.

Standard Chartered Africa research head Razia Khan expects the Fed’s more dovish tilt to have a positive impact on sub-Saharan African economies in the months to June, allowing stronger domestic recoveries. However, she was cautious about the likelihood of new easing cycles.

 

- Reuters

Despite claims by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that the results of the 2019 presidential election were not on its servers, Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has insisted there were results from INEC’s server showing he won in the presidential election.

Atiku, during his submission to the presidential election tribunal, gave the “unique MAC address and Microsoft product ID of the INEC server” from which the results were obtained.

In the results declared by INEC from the 36 states and the federal capital territory (FCT), Buhari polled 15,191,847, while Atiku came second with 11,262,978 votes.

Atiku, in his petition submitted at the tribunal, claimed he garnered a total of 18,356,732 votes to defeat Buhari, who, according to him, polled 16,741,430 votes.

The electoral body had in its response to the petition of the PDP and Atiku at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, stated that the result of the election was never transmitted or collated electronically, adding that the results being paraded by Atiku was fabricated and not from its website.

However, in response to INEC’s claim, Atiku and the PDP in a statement released Tuesday said the address of the server from which the results were obtained are unique to INEC.

“The Servers from which the said figures were derived belong to the first Respondent (INEC). The figures and votes were transmitted to the first Respondent’s Presidential Result’s Server 1 and thereafter aggregated in INEC_PRES_RSLT_SRV2019, whose Physical Address or unique Mac Address is 94-57-A5-DC-64-B9 with Microsoft Product ID 00252-7000000000-AA535. The above descriptions are unique to the 15t Respondent’s Server,” they said.

“There is no conjecture in the votes and scores in the table pleaded by the Petitioners. The figures are factual. The Spokesperson for the 2nd Respondent’s Campaign Organization openly admitted that the data in question was in the first Respondent’s Server when he wrote and submitted a petition to the Inspector General of Police and the Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS) asking the Security agencies to investigate the 2nd Petitioner herein for allegedly hacking into the Server of the 1St Respondent and obtaining the data in question.

“Specifically, Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, the Spokesperson of the 2nd Respondent claimed in the said petition that it was the first Petitioner who smuggled the data into the Server,” PDP added.

Atiku and the PDP also alleged that the INEC chairman “committed grave errors in the final collation exercise” for the election by “falsely crediting” some persons with political parties, including “Okotie Christopher, Reverend Dr. Onwubuya and Ojinika Jeff Chinze.”

“The grave errors referred to in paragraphs 4 and 5 above were under the hands and signature of the first Respondent’s Chairman, (who was also the Returning Officer) in the conduct of the final collation of the results of the Presidential Election,” they claimed.

“The Petitioners state that the final results as declared by the first respondent are those that were transmitted online to the website of the first Respondent (www inecnigeria.org),” PDP insisted.

No nation that consumes above its production capacity can ever have a strong, reliable and dependable economy with a corresponding strong currency.

Nigeria is an abject consumer nation in the midst of plenty, practicing a lazy consumer federalism that gravitates around a broke father Christmas presidency and where states governed by disingenuous, squander-manic and mostly intellectually barren Governors hold sway.

I love the clamor for resource control and fiscal federalism in Nigeria because it would open the doors to access to opportunities for prosperity for citizens if administered with transparency and accountability, but looking at the history of some of those who are championing it, I get agitated and deeply troubled that they are in it to advance a cause for themselves and their selfish interests against the overall good of the people with them as drivers if awarded without strict control mechanisms that would make it impossible for anybody or group of persons to abuse for personal gains.

Some of Nigeria’s economic policies are unfortunately repressive for Nigerians with creative ingenuity but favorable to new colonizing forces led by China coming into Africa to poison Africans with their fake products for massive profits and so, are in need of urgent rethink for the immediate good of this generation and the long term good of the country and her future generations unless we have agreed to be slaves in perpetuity in our land especially with the way we choose our leadership.

Every vote we sell to a leadership misfit without the passion, compassion and the patriotic zeal to serve Nigeria has an ominous implication on her future and the future of her people, no matter how much it satisfies our immediate need without looking at the big picture”.

 

Mr. Itohoimo Udosen                         

Political/Public Affairs analyst This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has thrown its weight behind the planned increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) by the Federal Government.

The Organisation also encouraged the country look into increasing other forms of taxes, from non oil revenues, as a means of raising more funds.

This was disclosed on Wednesday in a press release after the conclusion of the IMF Executive Board 19 Article IV Consultation with Nigeria.

The Executive Directors said with 2.5 percent in the medium term, and with population growing at a faster rate, growth per capital will be less than zero percent.

The statement read in part, ‘’They welcomed the authorities’ tax reform plan to increase non-oil revenue, including through tax policy and administration measures.

‘’They stressed the importance of strengthening domestic revenue mobilization, including through additional excises, a comprehensive VAT reform, and elimination of tax incentives. Securing oil revenues through reforms of state owned enterprises and measures to improve the governance of the oil sector will also be crucial.’’

 

It also called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to stop its direct intervention in the foreign exchange market.

“They stressed the importance of strengthening domestic revenue mobilization, including through additional excises, a comprehensive VAT reform, and elimination of tax incentives.

“Directors highlighted the importance of shifting the expenditure mix toward priority areas. They welcomed, in this context, the significant increase in public investment but underlined the need for greater investment efficiency.

“They also recommended increasing funding for health and education. They noted that phasing out implicit fuel subsidies while strengthening social safety nets to mitigate the impact on the most vulnerable would help reduce the poverty gap and free up additional fiscal space.”

The Directors also emphasized the need to strengthen governance, transparency, and anti-corruption initiatives, including by enhancing AML/CFT and improving accountability in the public sector.

‘’Directors also recommended establishing a credible time bound recapitalization plan for weak banks and a timeline for phasing out the state backed asset management company AMCON,’’ part of the release stated.

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, is set to device a new means of liquidity management in order to reduce associated expenses.

The Deputy Governor in charge of Corporate Services at the CBN, Mr. Edward Adamu, stated this on Wednesday when he presented the 2019 budget proposal of the apex bank on behalf of the bank’s Governor, Godwin Emefiele to the House of Representatives Committee on Banking and Currency.

Adamu, who gave a summary of all the vote heads and commitments of the bank for 2019, explained that the bank remained committed to sustaining stability in the financial system, in addition to pushing policies that would continue to engender growth in the Nigerian economy.

The Chairman of the committee, Jones Onyereri, acknowledged the efforts of the CBN at managing liquidity, urging the apex bank to do more by further enlightening members on the dynamics of liquidity management.

An e-commerce platform, Jiji has announced the acquisition of OLX in Ghana and four other counties in Africa.

The details of the deal was made available via a statement by Naspers on Wednesday.

Consequently, OLX users in Ghana would be directed to Jiji marketplace in a transaction backed by one of Jiji’s cornerstone investors, Digital Spring Ventures.

According to the statement, both companies have also reached an agreement to acquire the other OLX businesses in Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, subject to regulatory approvals.

The statement noted that all users of the sell-and-buy classifieds websites of OLX Nigeria, OLX Ghana, OLX Kenya, OLX Tanzania, and OLX Uganda would be redirected to Jiji.

The Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Jiji, Anton Volyansky, while making comment on the deal, said, “Users will always come first for us. We warmly welcome OLX’s customers to the Jiji family and we look forward to our new customers joining Jiji on its …online shopping experience.”

OLX shut down business in Nigeria last year February while it maintained its online marketplace as workers were laid off.

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