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Amaechi under fire in National Assembly accused of bias in railway construction

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Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi
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The The National Assembly joint Committee on Land and Marine Transportation have accused the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi of bias in railway lines construction across the country.

The joint Committee frown at the proposal of the Minister of Transport, Chibuike Amaechi for no constructing standard rail gauge for Kano-Maradi in Niger Republic while constructing old narrow gauge for other parts of Nigeria.

The protest was sequel to the presentation of 2022 budget proposal before the Joint National Assembly Committee on Marine Transport.

Amaechi said “Construction of the 284 kilometers Nigeria-Maradiv (Niger Republic) standard guage, rail line enabling interconnectivity with countries in the West Africa sub region for the promotion of trade and commerce”.

“This important contribution by Nigeria would be mutually beneficial by adding to the economic growth of the two countries, Niger and Nigeria”

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Senator Danjuma Goje and House Committee Chairman, Hon.Pat Asadu kicked against the marginalization of other regions of the country in the construction of rail lines.

Both Chairmen queried the Minister why not constructing uniform rail lines across the country instead of giving Kano-Maradi modern standard rail line and constructing old narrow Rail line to other regions.

The Chairman Committee on Port, Hon Pat Asadu who opened the floor after the Minister presented its budget to the Committee asked why constructing Modern rail line for one place and constructing old rail lines to other parts of the country.

He queried, “Why won’t you construct narrow gauge across the country so that we can develop equally. I can’t sit down and approve this. These are done with such impunity, my heart bleeds .This had been reoccurring.”

The Senate Committee Chairman on Marine Transport supported the observation of Hon. Asadu.

He asked, “why you will give us old rail line and spending a lot of money procure through foreign loans to construct standard gauge to Maradi in Niger Republic”.

Ameachi while responding to issue raised by the committee members said that difference between the Narrow gauge and Standard gauge is speed adding that the country may not get the money to construct standard gauge across the country.

He said that the negotiation for loan for the construction of Kano- Maradi standard gauge line is about to be completed.

On the economic justification for constructing the $1. 3bn Kano-Maradi rail, Ameachi said the project was not based on sentiments but economic benefits for the country.

He said on completion of Kano-Maradi and Kano to Lagos railway, all national cargoes from Niger Republic, like uranium and gold, would be moved through Nigerian sea port from that corridor.

This, he said, would translate into huge economic benefits for Nigeria.

“What I will do before leaving office is to ensure that we move from verbal agreement with the government of Niger to written agreement,” he added.

He also clarified that his ministry was yet to get money for Kano-Kaduna, Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway projects. “The only money we have gotten is $1.4bn for Lagos-Ibadan rail project,” he said.

In his opening remarks, Senator Goje emphasized the important of marine Transport across the globe saying Marine Transportation is an essential components to the world economy as over 90 percent of the world trade is carried by sea and it is the most effective way to move huge volumes of goods and raw materials around the world .

 

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Economic: Osinkolu Assures Nigerians Of Better Days Ahead 

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Dr Olusegun Osinkolu
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A financial expert, Dr Olusegun Osinkolu has appealed to Nigerians to exercise patients with the economic team put together by President Bola Tinubu, noting that relief will soon come.

Osinkolu assured that Nigeria will soon witness a great turn around by the time the economic team swings into full action.

“we will heave a sign of relief soon as the story would change for better”.

The Ayede-Ekiti born All Progressives Congress (APC) Chieftain in a statement issued on Friday and released to newsmen, described the appointments of the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Yemi Cardoso and Minister of Finance, Wale Edun as a round peg in a round hole.

Osinkolu, who was a banker of repute, described them as gentlemen and men of integrity, who are masters on their field of appointments.

He commended President Bola Tinubu for the appointments, describing it as well deserved and has raised the bar and shown that competence is the parameter for public service.

“I want to formally thank President Bola Tinubu for considering the duo of the CBN Governor and Finance Minister for their appointment.

I commend his open-mindedness to embrace and usher in vibrant patriots into the national mainstream politics.

“I wish to state that their appointment is not only well deserving, but also falls in line with Mr. President’s penchant for talent discovery that has characterised his bold and giant strides in Lagos state and the nation at large.

“I affirm that this particular appointment is a round peg in a round hole,”he stated.

He urged the duo of the CBN Governor and finance minister to focus on the vision and mission of Mr President, by refocusing through their short, medium and long term measures.

He assured Nigerians that the CBN and it’s Finance ministry under their watch will operate transparent monetary policies, while his administration will not tolerate and work towards correcting the errors made by past administrations.

He further urged the duo to comply with all constitutional duties and ensure that financial policies of the country are of international standard and in support of the Tinubu-led administration.

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Senator Natasha lauds NDDC, NLNG partnership on local content

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Senator Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan
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Senator Natasha Akpoti-Uduaghan, lawmaker representing Kogi Central senatorial district has commended the pact between Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG), to develop local content capacity.

Both NDDC and NLNG recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to leverage shared aspirations and collaborate on diverse fronts in the delivery of sustainable development projects in the region.

Reacting, Senator Natasha urged NDDC to consider the need to be the primary recruiters of their trained workforce to achieve effective service delivery.

She gave the charge on Thursday during an interactive session between Senate Committee on Local Content and the NDDC Managing Director, Samuel Ogbuku.

As the Chair, Local Content Committee, Natasha tasked the NDDC on the need to not only build capacity and equip their workforce but also engage them efficiently.

“NDDC should consider being the primary recruiters of their trained workforce. Artisans or skilled professionals such as ICT workers can be absorbed by NDDC contractors, which in turn, will enable the commission reach the most vulnerable and neglected youth,” she said.

She also pledged to partner with NDDC on building a database of artisans within the country to strengthen the workforce and by extension achieve microeconomic growth for Nigeria.

“Local Content Committee intends to deploy innovative thinking for positive results, thus, we are building a database of carefully profiled artisans who have been trained by NDDC, SMEDAN, etc.; and work modalities to have the oil & gas companies, as well as government contractors, recruit from the pool of verified workforce.

“This would help curb unemployment by keeping the jobs locally. Such a project would also help the Local content board, NDDC and other agencies monitor and evaluate the performance of our collective capacity-building efforts towards achieving a common microeconomic growth for Nigeria and Africa at large,” she added.

In his remarks, the NDDC MD accepted her proposal and looks forward to a synergy with the Local Content Committee to develop strategies, and in turn, engage trained workforce for employment opportunities.

 

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Update: 2024 Appropriation Bill Passes Second Reading At House Of Reps

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House of Rep in Session
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The House of Representatives has passed the N27.5 trillion 2024 budget for a second reading.

The House leader, Julius Ihonvbere, on Thursday, November 30, while leading the debate on the general principles of the budget, commended President Bola Tinubu.

Ihonvbere noted that national security and education which got significant allocations will be enhanced if implemented.

He said, “Nigeria will be more secure with the allocation to defence and security. As a teacher, I am impressed by the emphasis on basic education. I am sure that education will be better off this time.”

 

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