P.M. NEWS Nigeria » Transportation http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com First with Nigeria News - Nigerian leading evening Newspaper - Fri, 29 Aug 2014 04:26:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 FG approves dredging of Calabar channel http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/08/26/fg-approves-dredging-of-calabar-channel/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/08/26/fg-approves-dredging-of-calabar-channel/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 18:36:56 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=208814 President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan has approved the dredging of Calabar channel to boost the economy of Cross River and the country.

The Minister of Transport, Sen. Idris Umar, made this known when he received South-South and South-East traditional rulers led by Edmund Daukoru, the Amanyanabo of Nembe, in Abuja on Tuesday.

Umar said the delay in the dredging of Calabar channel had impacted negatively on the economic activities of Cross River and the entire country.

“The delay had also affected the economic fortunes of the area and the entire country. Tinapa Resort, Calabar has been a little bit dormant because of the non-functionality of the channel.

“At last the matter has been concluded and President Goodluck Jonathan has graciously approved that work should commence at the channel.

“The remaining part of the channel that has not been dredged will now be dredged and the Calabar Channel Management Company will take charge of the capital and maintenance,” he said.

The minister thanked the council on the approval granted by the president for the commencement of work at the Calabar channel.

He said the present administration was determined to transform the transport sector, saying that government had revitalised the railway system, which had been out of operation for two decades.

The minister said that the Federal Executive Council had approved development of additional deep seaports which included Lekki, Badagry, Ibaka and Warri seaports, in an effort to improve the maritime sector.

He said the present administration recognised the support and continuous cooperation of the council of traditional rulers.

Earlier, Daukoru commended the Federal Government over the contract, and described the approval of the presidency as gratifying news.

According to the monarch, the economic significant of the award of the contract is enormous.

“The Calabar port is of strategic importance because it links Port Harcourt, Warri and Lagos and any effort made to open up the port will improve the country’s economic growth.

“Any kind of maritime activities in Cross River generally will be of immediate benefit to the entire geo-political zone,” he said.

NAN learnt that the delay was caused by some controversial issues surrounding the award of the dredging contract since 2005.

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Eastern railway line to create 1, 600 jobs – Wogu http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/08/19/eastern-railway-line-to-create-1-600-jobs-wogu/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/08/19/eastern-railway-line-to-create-1-600-jobs-wogu/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 02:18:32 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=207624 Emeka Wogu

Emeka Wogu

The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Emeka Wogu, said on Monday that 1, 600 jobs would be created at the completion of the Eastern Line of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC).

Wogu gave the assurance at the flag-off of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme’s (SURE-P) Technical Vocational Education and Training Project (TVET) in Lagos for the newly recruited staff of the NRC.

The two-month capacity building training programme is meant for new staff members along Western Line corridor, covering Lagos to Kano.

Wogu also said more than 1, 800 jobs would be created in the corporation at the end of the training service holding at the NRC’s Training Institute in Ebute Metta, Lagos.

“The sustainability of the operation of the railway system depends largely on the quality of manpower recruited to power it.

“We are happy to announce to you that 1,805 job spaces would be filled at the end of this exercise.

“Another 1, 600 jobs are expected to be created when the eastern line is rolled out.

“This is for professional engineers and technicians along the Port Harcourt – Maiduguri railway section,” the minister said.

According to him, the ministry has made remarkable impact in creating wealth for young Nigerians.

“In my ministry, we have also made impact through the activities of the community service youth employment programme, and technical vocational education and training project (TVET).

“We have made impact in areas such as renovation of eight technical vocation training centres in different parts of the country for different trade,” he said.

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Patience Jonathan inaugurates fishing vessel in Poland http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/08/14/patience-jonathan-inaugurates-fishing-vessel-in-poland/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/08/14/patience-jonathan-inaugurates-fishing-vessel-in-poland/#comments Thu, 14 Aug 2014 03:39:24 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=206947 Patience Jonathan, wife of the president

Patience Jonathan, wife of the president

Dame Patience Jonathan, wife of the president has inaugurated a research and fishing vessel, expected to reposition the marine and fisheries sub-sector of the Nigeria’s economy in Poland.

This was contained in a statement signed by her Media Assistant in Abuja on Wednesday.

It stated that the vessel, built in Poland and acquired by the Nigerian Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research, was also christened by Dame Jonathan at the WISLA Shipyard in Gdansk, Poland.

The first lady said that the acquisition of the vessel would enhance exploration. She also said that the vessel would boost Nigeria’s capacity in Marine and Oceanography research for sustainable development and management of the country’s vast resources.

Jonathan expressed happiness that when put to use, the vessel would further drive the agricultural policy of President Goodluck Jonathan to make Nigeria self-sufficient in food production, especially fish production.

Similarly, the statement said the inauguration was attended by the Minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, and Nigeria’s Ambassador to Poland, Dr Samuel Jimba.

Akinwunmi and Jimba both expressed appreciation to the president for his efforts to ensure a secured and efficient marine coastline as an ingredient of national development.

It said they agreed that the birth of the vessel would strengthen the economic relationship between Nigeria and Poland.

The vessel is expected to commence its sail to Nigeria soonest.

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Railway moves 280,549 tonnes of cargo in 2 years http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/08/09/railway-moves-280549-tonnes-of-cargo-in-2-years/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/08/09/railway-moves-280549-tonnes-of-cargo-in-2-years/#comments Sat, 09 Aug 2014 10:25:23 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=206241 Train

The Nigeria Railway corporation moved 280,549 tonnes of cargo between 2012 and 2013, according to a report released by the Ministry of Transport.

The report, which focused on the ministry’s activities in 2012 and 2013, was made available to NAN by the Nebolisa Emodi, the Permanent Secretary, in Abuja on Friday.

The report stated that in 2012, 182,465 tonnes of cargo were conveyed by rail while in 2013, 98,084 tonnes of cargo were transported.

According to the report, 4,155,988 passengers were transported by rail in 2012 and 4,328,789 passengers in 2013.

It also stated that the ministry rehabilitated 1,494 kms of narrow gauge in 2012 while 1,931 kms were rehabilitated in 2013.

Furthermore, 518.7 kms of standard gauge were constructed in 2012 while 406 km of standard gauge were constructed in 2013, the report said.

“The volume of cargoes throughput stood at 77 million tonnes in 2012 and 77 million tonnes in 2013 while 80 million tonnes were being targeted in 2014.

“Thirty-four wrecks and derelicts were removed in 2012; six were removed in 2013 while 30 are targeted to be removed in 2014.”

On the volume of cargo moved through the inland waterways, it said that 3.4 million tonnes were conveyed in 2012, six million tonnes in 2013 while six million tonnes were targeted in 2014.

It also said that 1,308,864 passengers used the service in 2012, 3,350,000 passengers in 2013 while 3, 600,000 passengers were targeted in 2014.

It said that the number of boats, ferries, barges and vessels that navigated the waterways increased from 35,136 in 2012 to 39,000 in 2013.

The report explained that the amount of cargo conveyed by rail was as a result of a drop in haulage due to the non-completion of the rehabilitation works on haulage carriages.

According to the report, track rehabilitation work was carried out on Akere Bridge in Niger state in the Western Line during the period under review.

It stressed that the ministry’s focus was on providing safe, secure and adequate inter-modal transport system, to facilitate Nigeria’s socio-economic development and ensure the welfare of members of the public.

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FG raises transaction advisers on railway stations remodeling http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/08/08/fg-raises-transaction-advisers-on-railway-stations-remodeling/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/08/08/fg-raises-transaction-advisers-on-railway-stations-remodeling/#comments Fri, 08 Aug 2014 08:10:58 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=206003 The new Oshodi rail line. Photo: Idowu Ogunleye

The new Oshodi rail line. Photo: Idowu Ogunleye

The Federal Government said on Thursday that it had inaugurated transaction advisers to drive the process for Public Private Partnership (PPP) in remodelling and redeveloping nine railway stations nationwide.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport, Nebolisa Emodi, said this in Abuja when the Peer Review Team, led by the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Alhaji Bukar Aji visited the ministry.

Emodi identified Iddo Terminus, Ebute Meta Junction Stations in Lagos, Ilorin and Kaduna Junction Stations, as some of those to be remodelled.

Also to be remodelled are Kano, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Jos and Gombe Stations.

In a presentation, Emodi said the remodelling through PPP was followed by the lifting of the embargo on rent and lease of the Nigerian Railway Corporation’s land and landed property.

“Transaction advisers have been commissioned to drive the process for PPP. Advertisement for the expression of interest is expected to be published in Oct. 2014,” he said.

He said the remodeling was part of Federal Government’s agenda to resuscitate and revitalise Nigeria railway system for the haulage of goods and movement of passengers.

Emodi said the ministry was striving to develop policy and enabling environment for PPP in inter-modal transport system.

He said Bills, which would allow for more private sector participation, were under consideration by the Federal Executive Council for transmission to the National Assembly.

He said they included the Nigerian Railway Authority, National Transport Commission, Ports and Harbour and the National Inland Waterways Authority bills.

Emodi said the ministry was focused on formulating policies on road, rail, maritime and inland waterways in line with federal government’s goals and objectives for an efficient transport sector.

Emodi added that the ministry was create a world class transportation system which could position it as a hub in the West and Central African Sub-region.

He said under the 2014 budget, the ministry and its agencies sought to consolidate and sustain the gains and performances recorded with 2011, 2012 and 2013 budgets.

“This will be done by focusing on the completion of ongoing projects as well as sustenance of the gains achieved in the transport sector,” he said.

Aji said the purpose of the peer review was to achieve the desire and objectives of the national strategic public service reform.

He said the team was focused on achieving a world class public service by aligning the objectives and mandate of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

He said the team was a body of Permanent Secretaries put together to assess their performance in the MDAs.

“It is a group of the same persons, doing the same assignment but differently trying to review one another to see whether they are on the right track.

“We need to do this to justify the confidence reposed in us by Nigerians to be in various offices we are holding on their behalf,” he added.

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Railway corporation warns against trading on rail tracks http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/07/25/railway-corporation-warns-against-trading-on-rail-tracks/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/07/25/railway-corporation-warns-against-trading-on-rail-tracks/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 21:15:58 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=204519 NRC headquarters

Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) District Office in Minna, Niger, has warned people in the state against trading and clustering on rail tracks, saying it was unlawful.

The Public Relations Officer of the corporation in the district, Alhaji Akinwoye Abdulraouf, gave the warning in an interview with NAN in Minna on Friday.

Abdulraouf said the illegal acts were also dangerous as to lives and could adversely affect operations of the corporation.

The new Oshodi rail line. Photo: Idowu Ogunleye PM News

The new Oshodi rail line. Photo: Idowu Ogunleye PM News

“The corporation put gates at all its terminals but motorists and traders at the Gwari Market in Minna have destroyed the gates, in the name of trading.

“The gates at the rail tracks have been destroyed repeatedly by impatient motorists in spite of sensitisation in the media and one-on-one encounters with traders in the market,” he said.

He added that the keeper of the level crossing alerted people with a red flag whenever a train was approaching but was usually not taken serious by traders and motorists who continued to clog the rail tracks.

“A locomotive engine cannot stop for traders on the tracks; it is not done; it is impossible because it has the right of way but people are careless and adamant in their ways,” he stressed.

Abdulraouf recalled a recent incident which involved a couple at a rail line at the Gwari market in Minna, saying that the wife managed to escape but the husband was not as lucky.

He said that the train driver struggled to avoid hitting the couple but was unsuccessful, adding that if the driver had done otherwise, the train would have derailed and all the people on board would have died.

According to him, items recovered from the accident are yet to be claimed by the family of the couple.

He stated that by the corporation’s regulation, the accident victims were supposed to pay for the damage to the locomotive as a result of the incident, adding that it would cost the corporation a lot of money to repair the locomotive.

He, however, said that the corporation would sustain its sensitization of the public on the dangers of trading along the rail lines and of ignoring the red flag alert by the level crossing’s keeper.

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Okonjo-Iweala lauds FG’s rail projects http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/07/25/okonjo-iweala-lauds-fgs-rail-projects/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/07/25/okonjo-iweala-lauds-fgs-rail-projects/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 06:13:21 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=204338 Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

The Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on Thursday commended the progress made so far in the construction of the Federal Capital Territory’s rail projects.

Okonjo-Iweala made the commendation when she inspected the project sites of Abuja terminal expansion at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja.

The minister expressed satisfaction with the level of work on the light rail in Idu and the Abuja-Kaduna rail projects.

According to her, the Federal Government is looking forward to a constructed terminal that is similar to those found outside the country which Nigerians will be proud of.

“My impression on the progress is very good, the work is going on well and the terminal is 30 per cent completed.

“I am quite excited as you can see because what I saw up there is quite impressive. The quality seems solid and the design looks good.

“The Federal Government took a loan of 500 million dollars from the NEXIM Bank of the Chinese Government to construct modern terminals in the country.

“We have four terminals that are going to be financed from this money, they include, Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Port-Harcourt,”she said.

On the light rail, the Minister said what she had in her head was different from what she had seen; adding that what she had seen would endure longer.

“They have explained to me how they will be working on phases for the project and God willing by May next year we will be riding on it.

“What we had borrowed was 500 million dollars but they had started work before then and we had already paid 162 million before the loan was approved.

“This is not just about borrowing money, it is about a relationship between China and Nigeria, and for this segment we have already borrowed what is needed to complete this section,” she said.

The Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Gu Xiaojie said the Chinese Government was committed to the partnership and that CCECC was also committed to completing the project.

“Best quality is ensured for the project and CCECC is also undertaking the project and are undergoing training programme and employing local force for the project.

“It is a very good project and the Nigerian Government is making very good use of the Chinese loans.

“I think from what I have seen, it is going on very well, they are constructing according to the standard and I think we will finish this on time,” Xiaojie said.

The Director, Rail and Mass Transit, Federal Ministry of Transport, Gafai Bature, said the national rail was at 84 per cent completion and would be ready for inauguration by December.

“The Idu station is the first station and one can come here and take a train to Kaduna within a maximum of one hour.

“The train speed is about 150 kilometer per hour. We are hoping that by December, new locomotives will arrive to carry passengers within the FCT.

“The light rail is like a city train within the FCT and its environs but the national rail is a heavy gauge train that carries passengers and goods.

“The national rail is segmented into six. After this, we will embark on Lagos to Ibadan, Lagos to Ilorin, Ilorin to Minna, Minna to Abuja and Minna to Kano.”

He noted that the first stage of the project covered 186 km from Idu to Kaduna, adding that the total sum of the project was 849 million dollars.

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Fashola visits Apapa again, decries FGs insensitivity http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/07/20/fashola-visits-apapa-again-decries-fgs-insensitivity/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/07/20/fashola-visits-apapa-again-decries-fgs-insensitivity/#comments Sun, 20 Jul 2014 22:42:16 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=203701 Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State

Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State

In a bid to find a lasting solution to the traffic gridlock in Apapa as a result of fuel and other cargo distribution operations, Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, again on Sunday visited the Apapa Port area to renew his pledge that his administration would neither give up nor surrender until a solution is found.

Sunday’s visit was the third in July as the governor pledged to work closely with all the stakeholders in the distribution of fuel and other cargo at the port in order to enable residents and those who have businesses in the area to access their homes and work places on a sustainable basis.

Fielding questions from newsmen after being briefed by some government representatives and other haulage business operators at the Apapa Port, Fashola vowed that in spite of the seeming nonchalance on the part of the Federal Government which owns the ports, his administration would continue to engage the problem with other stakeholders while also seeking the attention of the Federal Government to do what is right.

Describing the problem as a multi-agency one, the Governor said from the briefings he received from the state government representatives and other stakeholders working on the problem, there is apparent lack of coordination among the many agencies of the Federal Government working on the distribution of fuel at the Ports.

Fashola said from the briefings he got from the General Manager of the State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Mr. Babatunde Edu and the General Manager (Admin) of the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Mr. Aloga Ogbogo, these agencies lack the required coordination to bring needed efficiency in the operations of both the tank farm owners and their tanker drivers, adding that, “As a result, people in Lagos, especially people in Apapa, are at the receiving end of the very uncomfortable life they are made to experience getting to their offices, getting to their homes”.

Decrying the insensitivity of these Federal Government agencies to the sufferings of Lagosians, especially those living or doing business in Apapa, Fashola noted, “Clearly you have heard from those who know the business that if the NNPC, for example, pumps fuel to Mosinmi and Ibadan this place will decongest; so why are they not doing that?”

Fashola noted that if the Federal Ministry of Works would come to takeover and repair the Apapa-Oshodi-Tin Can Island Road, which is a Federal Government road, clearly people living in the area would have some relief adding, “The reality is that once there is congestion in one place, it just locks everybody in”.

He also drew attention to another lapse where the suggestion to conduct spot checks on trucks before they go into the ports for loading was turned down by NPA officials pointing out that it would have been easier to clear the trucks outside so that they could go in batches of 20 and the operation would be faster.

“But somebody at the NPA wants to do it one at a time at the gate and from the briefing we have heard from some of our representatives here, there are perhaps some benefits in doing that,” noting that, “there is also some corruption suggested in process, because why would anybody not want to make something efficient unless there is a personal benefit?”

The governor said that other problems that compounded operational problems at the ports included lack of necessary equipment, adding that, a situation where only two cargo handling equipment are deployed to about 40 trucks would grossly slow down the operations.

“The Federal Government should listen and understand that the concessioning and management of the port requires much more than just signing an agreement, it also requires people making investments and government being alive to its responsibilities.”

On what the state government is doing to assuage the situation, Fashola said in the meantime about eight inner city roads are under construction and rehabilitation in the Apapa area expressing regrets, however, that because of the traffic gridlock, the contractors, Messrs Julius Berger, has found it difficult to move its equipment to bring materials for the construction of the roads.

“We are working on some inner roads in Apapa, about seven or eight roads. But even for Julius Berger, the contractor, now to bring their equipment in to supply materials to construct the inner city roads that we are committed to is now a problem because of the failure of the Federal Government,” he said.

Pointing out that it is also becoming difficult to even move refuse trucks in the area. “I don’t know what other country can treat her commercial capital like this; I don’t know what kind of leadership continues to allow this kind of eyesore and disgraceful happening,” he lamented.

Restating his resolve to tackle the problem head on, the governor declared: “Clearly, this is a government (Federal Government) that is losing touch, clearly not showing empathy for the pains the people of Lagos are going through under its watch. But we will continue to bring to their attention the pains that they are inflicting on our people here and we won’t give up.”

He recalled a text message sent to him during the week by a citizen who expressed loss of hope in the possibility of solving the traffic problem in Apapa adding that in response he told the man that since the problem was created by men, it would also need the effort of men and women to solve it.

Fashola who pointed out that the problem is not just what happens in Apapa but what is in Tincan Island as well. “You can see that even the bridge coming into Apapa is now threatened. It is just incomprehensible to me; I have never seen a country treat its commercial capital like this.”

“But I am here because we won’t give up. This is our job and this is why we are in government. So we are not going to give up and we won’t surrender, we won’t abdicate our responsibility, we will continue to work with the stakeholders.”

Commissioner for Transportation, Mr. Kayode Opeifa, told the Governor that the problem in the Apapa area was further worsened by the state of the roads in the area pointing out that Creek and Liverpool roads have collapsed making movement of vehicles almost impossible.

He said the NNPC was yet to comply to an appeal made at a meeting to suspend pumping fuel to tank farms along Apapa-Oshodi Expressway in order decongest the trucks in the area adding all the agencies of the Federal Government working on the distribution of fuel in Apapa were not cooperating with the State Government and other stakeholders in seeking solution to the traffic problem.

Also speaking, General Manager, Operations, of the State’s Traffic Management Authority, Mr. Babatunde Edu, told the governor that efforts being made by the authority and other stakeholders at the ports to decongest traffic were being frustrated by some interests and people who, according to him “have seen what happens here as means of making money”.

According to him, if spot check is done on the trucks outside before getting to the entry gate, it would hasten the operations and reduce congestion. “But they prefer to do it right at the gate of entry and for about 20 minutes one vehicle will not go in,” he said adding that as a result although the authority has done a lot to confine the trucks to a lane, there was always a spillover.

The General Manager (Admin) of the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Aloga Ogbogo, in his remarks said the major problem has been the collapse of many of the roads around the ports saying there was need to persuade Julius Berger to whom the roads have been contracted for rehabilitation to move to site and repair some of the critical roads.

Saying there has been some level of compliance in the directive by the governor to restrict the trucks to one lane, Ogbogo said his association later discovered that Messrs Dangote company is located at the service lane of the road and the appeal by the association that the company allow only trucks listed to load to come in was yet to be abided by.

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2.5 million people travel by rail – NRC http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/07/19/2-5-million-people-travel-by-rail-nrc/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/07/19/2-5-million-people-travel-by-rail-nrc/#comments Sat, 19 Jul 2014 07:20:54 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=203543 An official of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) announced on Friday in Lagos that no fewer than 2.5 million people travelled by rail in the first half of this year.

David Ndakotsu, Assistant Director, Public Relations of the NRC, told NAN that about 560,000 people out of the 2.5 million were conveyed from Lagos to other parts of the country.

He said that one of the major challenges facing the NRC was the persistent flood that usually slowed the movement of goods and passengers on inter-state trips.

The new Oshodi rail line. Photo: Idowu Ogunleye PM News

The new Oshodi rail line. Photo: Idowu Ogunleye PM News

“Another challenge is passengers’ refusal to abide by the rules, hanging on doors of moving trains as a way of avoiding purchase of train tickets,” he said.

Ndakotsu, however, commended the efforts of the Federal Government in ensuring that there were improvements in the
services being rendered by the company to the public.

He said that a bill had been passed by the National Assembly to amend the Railway Act of 1995, which only allowed government participation.

Ndakotsu said that the amendment of the law would facilitate private sector participation in rendering rail services to the populace.

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FG develops 30-year infrastructure Master plan http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/06/25/fg-develops-30-year-infrastructure-master-plan/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/06/25/fg-develops-30-year-infrastructure-master-plan/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 09:16:48 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=200216 Supervising Minister of National Planning, Alhaji Bashir Yuguda

Supervising Minister of National Planning, Alhaji Bashir Yuguda

The National Economic Council (NEC) on Tuesday considered the final draft of the National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan (NIIMP) meant to accelerate infrastructure development in the country.

Addressing State House correspondents on the outcome of the NEC meeting in Abuja, Supervising Minister/Deputy Chairman, National Planning Commission (NPC), Ambassador Bashir Yuguda, said the master plan was formulated to span for 30 years.

According to him, the master plan beginning from 2014 to 2043 will focus on key areas of infrastructure including energy, housing, agriculture, ICT, roads, and security.

“Today, at the National Economic Council, I presented the National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan, which is a total way of looking at the infrastructure stock in the country.

“The idea of the master plan is to look at the various sectors that make up the infrastructure in the country, develop a framework, develop monitoring and evaluation and also develop focused areas for us as a nation

“The idea of the Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan is to focus on key areas of infrastructure: energy, transport, which includes rail, roads and aviation.

“We are also focusing on ICT, Housing and security. We also have water, agriculture and mining,” he said.

He said the document was designed to raise “infrastructure stock as a percentage of GDP from current 35 per cent to a minimum of 70 per cent”.

He said Nigeria’s core infrastructure level was significantly below the target benchmark level, and identified the required investments to improve infrastructure in line with the country’s growth aspirations.

Yuguda said the document which would be resubmitted to NEC before the final approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), also provided for short and medium terms priorities to guide project selection with the first term covering the next five years.

He said the council directed the National Planning Commission and the state planning/finance ministries to review the document in line with the council’s observation as well as reflect the actual required funding in view of the value of the rebased economy.

Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State, said state governors had agreed to set up a technical committee to study and further enrich the document.

“Essentially, what NEC agreed like we all said, was that this is a robust document, well researched document and since it is a document that we expect to last for about 30 years that we should not just browse over the document.

“We should look at it critically, especially at state and regional levels.

“We have agreed that each and every one of us should set up small committees of technical people within two weeks to work on the document so that as stakeholders whose buying-in is required we will add to the document that we will produce,” he stated.

Dankwambo said the council commended the National Planning Commission for the comprehensive report on the draft NIIMP.

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Alstom board backs bid by General Electric http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/06/21/alstom-board-backs-bid-by-general-electric/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/06/21/alstom-board-backs-bid-by-general-electric/#comments Sat, 21 Jun 2014 19:17:58 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=199785 Alstom

The board of directors of French power-to-rail group Alstom on Saturday unanimously approved US conglomerate General Electric’s bid to acquire its energy business.

“The board of directors unanimously decided to issue a favourable opinion of GE’s offer” and will begin consultations with personnel, a statement said.

The statement comes a day after the French government stepped firmly into the battle over Alstom, saying it favoured General Electric’s 12.35 billion euro ($16.8 billion) bid for Alstom, while also announcing a surprise caveat that it would take a 20 per cent controlling stake to preserve French strategic interests in its industrial jewel.

The French government plans to acquire that 20 percent stake by purchasing two-thirds of the shares owned by another French group, Bouygues.

Discussions on the price were ongoing on Saturday, a source close to the deal told AFP.

Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg said Friday he had sent a letter of intent to GE head Jeff Immelt laying out the terms of the alliance, chosen over a rival offer from Germany’s Siemens and Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls also hailed the sweetened GE offer, which includes a government veto over sensitive nuclear energy technology.

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Siemens and Mitsubishi increase bid for Alstom http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/06/20/siemens-and-mitsubishi-increase-bid-for-alstom/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/06/20/siemens-and-mitsubishi-increase-bid-for-alstom/#comments Fri, 20 Jun 2014 05:43:59 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=199451 Alstom

Siemens and Mitsubishi upped their offer for France’s power-to-rail group Alstom on Friday, as they battled with General Electric to win the government’s backing to buy the French conglomerate.

The new offer — announced a day after GE sweetened its rival bid — increases the valuation of Alstom’s energy division by 400,000 euros to 14.6 billion euros and ups the cash contribution by 1.2 billion euros to 8.2 billion euros, the groups said in a statement.

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Abuja-Kaduna rail line 85% complete http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/06/15/abuja-kaduna-rail-line-85-complete/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/06/15/abuja-kaduna-rail-line-85-complete/#comments Sun, 15 Jun 2014 10:19:10 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=198825 Senator Idris Umar

Senator Idris Umar

The Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar, said on Saturday that the Abuja-Kaduna Standard Gauge Rail Modernisation Project was 85 per cent completed.

Umar announced this in Doko, Kaduna State at a ceremony to mark the attainment of 100km of track-laying for the railway modernisation project.

NAN recalls that the Vice President, Namadi Sambo, launched the track-laying at Idu, Abuja, in July 2013.

“Today, in less than one year, the construction has attained over 100km out of 186km. In the next three months, the track will be completed.

“All the materials required are already on ground to achieve the completion and availability of the rail line’’, he said.

He said the constraints of water interference at kilometre 19 and some estates built along the rail line in Kubwa were resolved.

Umar urged the Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) handling the project to continue with the zeal and determination with which they started.

James Li, Project Manager, CCECC, said there had been steady progress in the construction of the rail line since the commencement of the track-laying.

He said earthwork site clearing had been done and devoid of obstructions or existing structures; while cutting, including rock blasting and filling were at advanced stages.

“About 185 km of the 186.5km route distance has been cleared, 8,597,000m of earth excavated, 403,000m of rock blasted and 6,064,000m of earth filling done.

“Sub structural works have now been completed on all the 26 railway bridges while all the five box bridges have also been fully completed.

“Also 13 out of more than 30 over-pass bridges have been completed while work is in progress on 16 others,” Li said.

He said construction has started on 203 out of the scheduled 206 railway culverts while preparation work was in progress for the commencement of remaining three culverts.

He said more than 330,000 pieces of concrete sleepers had been pre-cast while the required 348 pieces of pre-cast T-beams had been produced.

Li noted that the track laying had reached advanced stage of 110km of track panel laid and 47,356m ballast distributed.

According to the project manager, work has started fully on the seven of the required nine station buildings.

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Jang wants railway terminus relocated to Kuru http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/06/12/jang-wants-railway-terminus-relocated-to-kuru/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/06/12/jang-wants-railway-terminus-relocated-to-kuru/#comments Thu, 12 Jun 2014 12:48:38 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=198438 Governor Jonah Jang

Governor Jonah Jang

Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau on Thursday called on the Federal Government to relocate the Jos railway terminus to Kuru because of the congestion in the city centre.

Jang made the call when he addressed residents of Kuru while inspecting projects in Plateau North Senatorial District.

The governor promised to liaise with the Minister of Transport to ensure the relocation of the terminus to a less congested area.

“I will discuss with the minister of transport so that the terminus will be relocated from where it is to Kuru because the Jos metropolis is already congested,” he said.

Jang, who also inspected the remodelling of Yakubu Gowon Cargo Airport, Heipang, said government would partner with Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to extend the runway.

“The runway is too short and since we are talking of an export zone, bigger aircraft would be coming to the airport and there is need for an extension,” he said.

The governor, who expressed satisfaction with the remodelling of the airport, however, decried the slow pace of work on the project.

“The design is a highly improved model but the slow pace is giving me great concern. I understand that the contractor has not been financed properly.

“I am going to meet with the Managing Director of FAAN to ensure that they released the fund to complete this project, it is hanging on for too long,” he said.

He, however, expressed satisfaction with the pace of work on the protocol lounge at the airport being financed by the state government.

The governor urged contractors handling projects in the state to ensure their completion before the expiration of his tenure.

Jang said the inspection was to encourage the contractors to speed up work and meet his administration’s target.

According to him, the inspection would be repeated after three months to ensure that projects were completed.

Jang also inspected the renovation and construction of road network in Government Science School, Kuru.

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Airbag defect: Toyota recalls 2.27 mn vehicles globally http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/06/11/airbag-defect-toyota-recalls-2-27-mn-vehicles-globally/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/06/11/airbag-defect-toyota-recalls-2-27-mn-vehicles-globally/#comments Wed, 11 Jun 2014 06:04:19 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=198183 Toyota

Toyota on Wednesday said it was recalling 2.27 million vehicles globally over an airbag system defect that could cause a fire, the latest in a series of callbacks by the world’s biggest automaker.

The company, which has now recalled about nine million vehicles in the past two months, said the announcement covered about 20 models, including its Corolla sedan and Yaris subcompact.

The fire risk from the defect covers about 1.62 million cars abroad and 650,000 in Japan, Toyota said.

“There is a risk that the airbag container could break down and scatter around, which could cause fire or injuries,” the carmaker said in a statement submitted to Japan’s transport ministry on Wednesday.

It did not elaborate on details of the potential fire hazard, but a company spokesman in Tokyo said the automaker had received a complaint from a Japanese customer who said his passenger seat was burned due to the glitch.

The spokesman added that no serious injuries or accidents linked to the defect had been reported.

The callback comes after Toyota in April recalled 6.39 million vehicles globally over a string of problems, dealing another blow to the firm, whose reputation for quality and safety has been dented in recent years.

Despite record sales and bumper profits, Toyota has been fighting to protect its brand after earlier recalls involving millions of vehicles.

In March, it reached a deal to pay $1.2 billion to settle US criminal charges that it covered up a sticky pedal blamed for dozens of deaths.

US rival General Motors has also been sideswiped by accusations that it hid a decade-long ignition and airbag problem linked to 13 deaths.

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Peacock Travels Launches UK Summer Travel Package http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/06/10/peacock-travels-launches-uk-summer-travel-package/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/06/10/peacock-travels-launches-uk-summer-travel-package/#comments Tue, 10 Jun 2014 13:43:54 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=198056 Travel Management Company in Nigeria, Peacock Travels and Tours, a subsidiary of Peacock Group, has launched a new holiday package for intending travellers to the United Kingdom this summer.

Peacock at the weekend won the Best Travel Agency in Nigeria Award over the weekend  by the Dubai-based Emirates Airlines during the celebration of its 10 anniversary in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, Peacock said its pleasant and exciting UK vacation offer is available for groups, families, individuals other categories of people who may be interested in visiting the UK during the summer.

The offer, according to a statement from the London office of Peacock Travels and Tours, will be available throughout the summer from June to September. He noted that prospective travellers would have the opportunity to tour various places for 10 days.

The Travel Manager, Peacock Travels and Tours, UK, Mr. Keith Lloyds, said the offer included a tour of the London city, visit to Manchester and Chelsea football clubs, tour of Wimbledon stadium, visit to London Thames River and among others interesting place in London.

Specifically, he said others sites to visit included Buckingham palace tour + tickets, Harrods, Tower of London, Soho, Chinatown, Piccadilly Circus, London Oyster , museum including free gift , River Thames across London for everyone seeing Big Ben, London Eye,  all the Chelsea Bridges, Tower Bridge, Docklands.

Lloyds said: “Research has shown that when people visit their relatives in London during the summer, they hardly have time to take them to visit interesting places in London. This is because those friends, relatives and acquaintances are usually busy going to their work places or schools. This our offer will offer prospective visitors to London the opportunity to take a tour of the city.”

According to him, the Holiday department of Peacock Travels is set to make this year’s summer an exciting and memorable one for all Nigerians at an affordable rate. For easy payment plan, the management of Peacock had agreed to make prospective travellers to make payment in three instalments.

Lloyds added, “Summer holiday is the best time to forget about work and take the time off to refresh and revitalize your body and soul.

Summer vacation can serve as a good opportunity to go out and expose yourself to the world outside, expand your knowledge by learning new things. Being the busiest season to travel in a year, summer season however compensates for this considering the advantages it offers you.

He explained, “Greetings to our friends, clients and future clients in Nigeria, Peacock Travels UK, is proud to offer you a once in a life time experience to see and breathe our wonderful world of culture and sports.

“We offer you the chance to see your favourite football teams and discover the essence of our national pastime. We also offer the chance to see the amazing Rugby stadium where England will host the 2015 Rugby World Cup, the real birthplace of Rugby. Every tour will also give me the chance to meet and greet you, and also see the work we are currently doing to offer the people of Nigeria and Africa, an amazing opportunity by Nigeria’s best loved Travel Group.” Peacock, fastest growing TMC in Nigeria has offices across Nigeria, South Africa, UK and other places.

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Nigerian Customs needs to be flexible, transparent – Spain http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/05/31/nigerian-customs-is-not-flexible-and-transparent-spain/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/05/31/nigerian-customs-is-not-flexible-and-transparent-spain/#comments Sat, 31 May 2014 16:57:34 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=196757 Custom boss Dikko Abdullahi

Custom boss Dikko Abdullahi

The Spanish Government on Saturday told the Nigerian Customs Service to adopt a more flexible and transparent approach when clearing Spanish goods at Nigerian ports.

Pablo Segrelles, Chief Economic and Commercial Counsellor of the Spanish Embassy in Nigeria, made the call in an interview NAN in Lagos.

He lamented that Spanish goods were being unduly delayed at Nigerian ports.

The envoy noted that the delays had always resulted in payment of high demurrage for Spanish goods coming into Nigeria.

“The Nigerian Customs should urgently begin to adopt flexibility and transparency in the clearing of Spanish products coming into Nigeria through the ports.

“Spanish exporters to Nigeria are complaining of delays in the clearing of their products at the ports by the customs.

“We, therefore, think that the Nigerian Customs and other relevant government agencies should do something urgent about this problem.

“A lot of Spanish companies exporting their products to Nigeria are by the day getting discouraged with the present clearing system,” he said.

Segrelles said that the situation was gradually making Spanish exporters to begin to shift exporting expenses to their Nigerian importers.

The envoy said that the delay in the clearing process would continue to have negative impact on Nigerian importers if something urgent was not done.

He noted that the situation had forced some Nigerian importers to look elsewhere for means of livelihood.

He said that many Spanish investors and companies were interested in doing business in Nigeria but were being discouraged with the problem of implementation of Nigerian government’s policies at the ports.

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China signs mega east Africa rail deal http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/05/11/china-signs-mega-east-africa-rail-deal/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/05/11/china-signs-mega-east-africa-rail-deal/#comments Sun, 11 May 2014 13:37:13 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=194186 Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang

Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang

China on Sunday signed a deal to build a $3.8 billion rail link between Kenya’s Indian Ocean port of Mombasa and Nairobi, the first stage of a line that will eventually link Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.

Under the terms of the agreement, Exim Bank of China will provide 90 percent of the cost to replace the crumbling British colonial-era line with a 609.3 kilometre (379 mile) standard-gauge link and Kenya the remaining 10 percent.

Construction is due to start in October and take three-and-a-half years to complete, with China Communications Construction Co. as the main contractor.

Once the Mombasa-Nairobi line is completed, construction would begin to link east Africa’s largest economy with Kampala, Kigali, Bujumbura and Juba.

The deal was signed at State House in Nairobi and witnessed by presidents Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Salva Kiir of South Sudan.

“This project demonstrates that there is equal cooperation and mutual benefit between China and the East African countries, and the railway is a very important part of transport infrastructure development,” Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said.

Li has been on a four-country tour of Africa, his first since taking office last year, with the world’s second-biggest economy keen to boost its presence on the continent to find new markets and opportunities.

Kenyatta hailed the booming relationship with China, calling it one “based on mutual trust” and saying Kenya “has found an honourable partner in China”.

Museveni also took a swipe at Western donors who have been critical of his leadership — including government corruption and his recent signing of draconian anti-gay legislation.

“We are happy to see that China is concentrating on the real issues of development,” Museveni said.

“They don’t give lectures on how to run local governments and other issues I don’t want to mention,” he said.

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New Niger Bridge triggers hope and resentment http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/03/16/new-niger-bridge-triggers-hope-and-resentment/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/03/16/new-niger-bridge-triggers-hope-and-resentment/#comments Sun, 16 Mar 2014 10:30:42 +0000 http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=188323 Sometimes a bridge is more than just a bridge.

After years of delays and empty promises, Nigeria has finally begun work on a new bridge across the vast River Niger, connecting states in the southeast to major commercial hubs in the southwest.

Many of the Igbo ethnic group that dominates in the southeast have applauded the project as a crucial step towards improving trade and travel between two of Nigeria’s most populous regions.

But others have charged that the bridge was delayed as punishment to a people still persecuted more than four decades after a civil war that followed the southeast’s attempt to secede.

They charge that the project has been launched now merely to improve President Goodluck Jonathan’s political fortunes as he heads towards an expected re-election bid less than a year away.

The old Niger Bridge

The old Niger Bridge

- Keeping his ‘promise’ -

“This project is very dear to the people of the southeast,” Anambra state spokesman Mike Udah said of the proposed 1500 metre (5,000 feet) bridge project which broke ground last month.

The existing River Niger overpass, built in 1963, is decaying and cannot cope with the massive flows of traffic between the southeast, which has a population of roughly 50 million, and the major cities of the southwest, including Lagos, sub-Saharan Africa’s largest city with some 20 million people.

Crossing the current bridge has become a hellish experience with “excruciating traffic” disrupting business and commercial travel, Udah said.

The new structure being built by the German construction firm Julius Berger at a projected cost of 17.8 billion naira ($108 million dollars, 78 million euros) has the backing of many economists who say infrastructure spending needs to become a top priority for Africa’s most populous country and top oil producer.

Regardless of how people in the region feel about their government, Udah, an opposition party member, urged southeast residents “to put politics aside and support the president to ensure the success of this laudable project.”

At the groundbreaking ceremony, Jonathan described the new bridge as a piece of “strategic national infrastructure” and said that by pushing the project forward he had fulfilled “a sincere promise” from his 2011 campaign.

- Political ploy? -

Hardliners in the southeast said they were not persuaded that the president was working in their interest.

President Jonathan performing the ground breaking ceremony for new Niger Bridge

President Jonathan performing the ground breaking ceremony for new Niger Bridge

“The project is a drop in the ocean,” said Madu Uchenna, spokesman for a group pressuring for southeastern sovereignty. “It cannot make us forget the injustice and marginalisation of our people by the Nigerian state.”

The southeast unilaterally declared independence in 1967 following waves of killings of Igbos in the mainly Muslim north, reportedly by members of the Hausa ethnic group.

Calling itself the Republic of Biafra, the southeast fought a brutal 1967-1970 civil war that killed more than a million people, many from starvation.

Uchenna’s group, the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), and others have long alleged that Igbos receive inferior treatment from the federal government in areas ranging from prominent political and military appointments to infrastructure projects.

Writing for the widely read Sahara Reporters news website, columnist Frank Onia suggested the new bridge would have been built years ago if not for an official, undeclared policy that calls for “holding down the southeast.”

“No other conclusion is possible from the continued neglect of the (River) Niger bridge,” he wrote.

Ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo also held a groundbreaking ceremony in 2007, but funds to actually build the project were never approved.

Unfinished public projects are a scourge across the country and are not specific to the southeast, but the delays still raised resentment in the region.

Fierce rhetoric from some Igbo hardliners aside, Jonathan’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has performed well in the southeast since civilian rule was restored in 1999.

But the president is facing an unprecedented crisis within the PDP and will, should he run again at the election in February 2015, be up against a new opposition mega-coalition which groups his most prominent rivals.

His support in the southeast is also thought to be eroding, with two of five states in the region now controlled by opposition governors.

“If Jonathan thinks giving us another bridge will make him get our votes, he is joking,” said Uchenna.

.Joel Olatunde Agoi of AFP

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Lagos budgets N1bn for new buses http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/01/13/lagos-budgets-n1bn-for-new-buses/ http://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2014/01/13/lagos-budgets-n1bn-for-new-buses/#comments Mon, 13 Jan 2014 17:55:56 +0000 http://pmnewsnigeria.com/?p=182257 LANRE BABALOLA
Lagos commuters will have cause to smile this year if the Lagos State Government fully utilised the N1 billion it has set aside to buy new buses for the LAGBUS scheme in the N489.6 bn budget signed into law Monday by Governor Babatunde Fashola.

Commuters of the laudable transport scheme have often complained of spending long hours at bus stops waiting for the buses. It is hoped that the money budgeted to buy new buses for the scheme in this year’s budget will be used for the purpose to lessen the hardship experienced by commuters.

A breakdown of this year’s budget approved by the State House of Assembly last Thursday did not reveal the revenue expected to be generated by the scheme but under the Capital Contribution/Capital Receipts (Inflow and Outflow) the Lagos State Metropolitan Area Transport Authority, LAMATA, which is managing the scheme, is expected to generate N3.7bn revenue.

BRT buses: Lagos plans to buy new buses with N1bn

BRT buses: Lagos plans to buy new buses with N1bn

The Lagos State Residents Registration Agency, LASSRA, led by Governor Babatunde Fashola’s sister, Olayinka Fashola, was allocated N1.3bn for capital expenditure and another N226.9m as subvention for this year while the agency is to generate only N1m.

Gov. Babatunde Raji Fashola

Gov. Babatunde Raji Fashola

The government also budgeted N322.6m under the Overhead Cost as special allowances for Obas in the state.

Under the Ministry of Justice, the Office of the Public Defender is to receive a subvention of N50m this year for its activities.

Though the Lagos State Transport Management Agency, LASTMA, was expected to generate N500m this year, the Fashola administration did not deem it fit to provide for hazard allowance for the staff of the agency.

The governor has often explained that LASTMA was not really created to generate revenue for the government but to manage traffic in the state. Observers are wondering whether the status quo has changed.

The government has also earmarked N5bn under its capital expenditure as special expenditure with no details provided or any explanation on what it meant.

The state is also to spend another N3bn as capital expenditure under what it terms state infrastructure intervention fund.

In the breakdown of the budget as obtained by P.M.NEWS, new intakes at the Lagos State University, LASU, will be given N200,170,500 as subvention while the government also proposed to give others N861,345,600 subvention under its scholarship/bursary fund.

The Lagos State ScholarshipBoard will also receive N47m as subvention this year.

The state is expected to pay N1.58bn under the capital expenditure as its outstanding liabilities this year. It will also pay N22.4bn as charges for its internal debt. On its external debt, the state will pay N921m.

The N489. 690 billion budget was passed by the state House of Assembly last Thursday.

The amount is 3.43 percent lower than last year’s budget. Out of the total sum, N234.665 billion is for recurrent while N255.025 billion is for capital expenditure.

The Assembly, presided over by Speaker Adeyemi Ikuforiji, passed the budget, having considered the outcome of its Appropriation Committee recommendations headed by Mudashiru Obasa.

Before the budget was passed, the committee had read the breakdown on sectoral basis. While it reduced allocations to some ministries, agencies and departments (MDAs), it added to others, based on their needs.

The breakdown of the budget shows that Education will gulp N51.378 billion, Health, N22.07 billion, Works and Infrastructure, N100.12 billion and Environment, N25.67 billion.

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