Connect with us

Business & Economy

France collaborate to develop inland dry port




The French Government has agreed to collaborate with the Federal Government to develop inland dry ports in the country.

Mr Hassan Bello, Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), disclosed this during a collaborative meeting between the duo and investors delegation on Thursday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the thrust of the meeting was the development of inland dry ports, rail transportation infrastructure, export and import promotion and development between both countries.

Bello explained that after due study,  five locations were chosen by the Federal Government for the construction of a dry port and they were, Funtua, Kano, Ibadan, Plateau and Isiala Ngwa in Abia.

According to him, the dry port at Funtua is already 68 per cent completed and with efforts by the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC)  it can  be ready for operations in October or November.

He noted that reasonable progress had also been made in the other various ports, adding that the critical issue was that the projects were concessioned  to the private sector.

“The Federal Government thinks that in order to bring shipping closer to the people there should be ports.

“The guidelines for the policy is that dry port will decongest the sea port,  it will make things easier for everybody, secondly we have to galvanise export.

“Nigeria cannot be import dependent country for a long time,  we need to export to earn all the foreign currency.  It is intended that the dry port will be centred for export.

“In which case we are going to bring standards. Pre-export inspectors so that once you are exporting, it is certified,  everything is sealed and taken by rail mostly to the ship that is waiting and off it goes.

“What it does is that you are spreading the economy and giving exporters access to the ports. We are calling for government to declare the dry port as centres for exports so everything will be there.

“There will also be free zones, so most of the taxes will be lessened. We want to make these ports very comprehensive, we have to add value, we must have the compliment of the cold storage as to really cure these post-harvest losses.

“The most important thing is that we need to enhance and open the ports for local and international investments,’’ Bello said.

On railway, the NSC boss, said rail capacity was key to the success of the dry ports, adding that to earn the confidence of investors, we should have scheduled railway services.

He noted that some countries had indicated interests to invest, therefore, it was important to get things right.

According to him, the idea is not just to have a port, but to have a modern/electronic port that is in accordance and compliance with the ISPS code and of international standard.

He thanked the Managing Director, NRC, Fidet Okhiria, for accepting to ensure availability of land for investors to create additional values.

He,  however,  urged him to take a critical independent survey of all the ports and lay it before the Federal Government so that rail shouldn’t be a cause for delay of the port.

He also appealed that the ports shouldn’t be allowed to be congested like the Apapa ports, goods be cleared 24 hours,  no demurrage or rent seeking and the ports must relate to the economy and the community.

Representing the French government, its Regional Agriculture Counsellor, Dr Sonia Darracq, expressed readiness of its government to collaborate with Nigeria.

While reiterating the importance of the dry port, Darracq, said it would amongst other things,  boost the agricultural sector of the country, as it would curb post-harvest losses of food products.

“I am in contact with some French companies that will be interested in partnering in the development of the dry port be it for food or other things.

“And I brought in some documentation for companies that also cover the cold chain sector and they will  be very much willing to know better about your policy in terms of dry-port development in order to investigate some ways of cooperation.

“I am here to understand better,  what the government and  private sector plan in developing the dry port sector and all other infrastructure.

“I am mostly concerned with the transportation of our food but I’m also very keen to know the strategy of development of the highway,  the roads.

“I came here specifically at the request of the number one in France in the cold chain.  This is a group of French companies which deals in cold chain for more than 50 years.

“They have a vast experience,  they are private companies and are very much willing to start business discussions with you.

“I am a government person and the French government is very much willing to assist in the form of some financial tools we can activate for the beginning.

“We want to be part of the transformation of all or few environmentally friendly energy sources for all activities including the cold chain transportation and everything.

“To that we can  easily activate not only the French financial assistance but also the European Union.

“ I will write a  report that I will share with my ambassador but also with the EU representatives here because I think this is  for us,  a golden opportunity to work together and to be part of this development that is critical for the country,’’she added.

The Managing Director, NRC in his remark, reiterated the importance of rail in industrialisation and development.

Okhiria reiterated efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to link the country through rail, stating that work was on going to revitalise/construct the narrow and standard gauge lines in the country.

He said :“ the Federal Government has taken the bull by the horns to develop the infrastructure and the dry ports now have rail tracks to move products.

“If we succeed in linking the rails, we will not only reduce congestion but encourage people to use other ports and boost the economy in the long run.

“I pray the government continues to have the will to develop the sector as it is not a cheap project.’’ (NAN)

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Business & Economy




Asiwaju Bola Tinubu
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu

President Bola Tinubu says Nigeria’s national defence and internal security, local job creation, macro-economic stability, investment environment optimization, human capital development, poverty reduction, and social security are some of the top priorities of the 2024 Budget of Renewed Hope.

Addressing a joint session of the National Assembly on the 2024 Federal budget proposal on Wednesday in Abuja, President Tinubu said the nation’s internal security architecture will be overhauled to enhance law enforcement capabilities with a view to safeguarding lives, property, and investments across the country.

He said the proposed budget prioritizes human capital development, with particular attention given to children, because human capital remains the most critical resource for national development.

“To improve the effectiveness of our budget performance, the government will focus on ensuring value for money, greater transparency, and accountability. In this regard, we will work more closely with development partners and the private sector.

“To address long-standing issues in the education sector, a more sustainable model of funding tertiary education will be implemented, including the Student Loan Scheme scheduled to become operational by January 2024,” the President affirmed.

Speaking on the economy, President Tinubu said a stable macro-economic environment is crucial in his administration’s bid to catalyze private investment and accelerate economic growth; hence, his government shall continue to implement business and investment friendly measures for sustainable growth.

“We expect the economy to grow by a minimum of 3.76 percent, above the forecasted world average. Inflation is expected to moderate to 21.4 percent in 2024. In preparing the 2024 Budget, our primary objective has been to sustain our robust foundation for sustainable economic development. A critical focus of this budget and the medium-term expenditure framework is Nigeria’s commitment to a greener future.

“Emphasizing public-private partnerships, we have strategically made provisions to leverage private capital for big-ticket infrastructure projects in energy, transportation, and other sectors. This marks a critical step towards diversifying our energy mix, enhancing efficiency, and fostering the development of renewable energy sources. By allocating resources to support innovative and environmentally conscious initiatives, we aim to position Nigeria as a regional leader in the global movement towards clean and sustainable energy.

“As we approach the COP28 climate summit, a pivotal moment for global climate action, I have directed relevant government agencies to diligently work towards securing substantial funding commitments that will bolster Nigeria’s energy transition. It is imperative that we seize this opportunity to attract international partnerships and investments that align with our national goals. I call upon our representatives to engage proactively to showcase the strides we have made in the quest to create an enabling environment for sustainable energy projects.

“Together, we will strive for Nigeria to emerge from COP28 with tangible commitments, reinforcing our dedication to a future where energy is not only a catalyst for development but also a driver of environmental stewardship,” he said.

The President said a conservative oil price benchmark of 77.96 U.S. Dollars per barrel and a daily oil production estimate of 1.78 million barrels per day were adopted after a careful review of global oil market trends, and that a Naira to U.S. Dollar exchange rate of 750 naira per U.S. Dollar was adopted for 2024 as well.

Giving a breakdown of the 2024 Appropriation Bill, the President said: “Accordingly, an aggregate expenditure of 27.5 trillion naira is proposed for the Federal Government in 2024, of which the non-debt recurrent expenditure is 9.92 trillion naira while debt service is projected to be 8.25 trillion naira and capital expenditure is 8.7 trillion naira. Nigeria remains committed to meeting its debt obligations. Projected debt service is 45% of the expected total revenue.

“The budget deficit is projected at 9.18 trillion naira in 2024 or 3.88 percent of GDP. This is lower than the 13.78 trillion naira deficit recorded in 2023, which represented 6.11 percent of GDP. The deficit will be financed by new borrowings totaling 7.83 trillion naira, 298.49 billion naira from Privatization Proceeds, and 1.05 trillion naira draw down on multilateral and bilateral loans secured for specific development projects.”

President Tinubu said his administration remains committed to broad-based and shared economic prosperity, adding: “We are reviewing social investment programmes to enhance their implementation and effectiveness. In particular, the National Social Safety Net project will be expanded to provide targeted cash transfers to poor and vulnerable households.”

He also said efforts will be made to further contain financial leakages through the effective implementation of key public financial management reforms.

The President commended the patriotic resolve of the 10th National Assembly to collaborate with the Executive on the mission to renew the hope of Nigerians and deliver on the promises made to Africa’s largest population.

“As you consider the 2024 Budget estimates, we trust that the legislative review process will be conducted with a view to sustaining our desired return to a predictable January-December fiscal year. I have no doubt that you will be guided by the interest of all Nigerians. We must ensure that only projects and programs with equitable benefits are allowed into the 2024 Budget. Additionally, only projects and programs that are in line with the sectoral mandates of MDAs and those which are capable of realizing the vision of our administration should be included in the budget,” the President declared.


Continue Reading

Business & Economy

Tinubu Retains Kyari As NNPCL GCEO, Appoints Akinyelure As Board Chairman



Kyari (left) and President Tinubu


President Bola has appointed Pius Akinyelure as the Non-Executive Board Chairman of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) and also retained Mele Kyari as the organisation’s Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO).

A Monday statement by Tinubu’s spokesman Ajuri Ngelale said the duo is part of the new board and management of the NNPCL.

Their appointment, which is in compliance with Section 59 (2) of the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021, takes effect from December 1, 2023, he said.

Apart from Kyari and Akinyelure, other members and board of the management include: Alhaji Umar Isa Ajiya — Chief Financial Officer; Mr. Ledum Mitee — Non-Executive Director; Mr. Musa Tumsa — Non-Executive Director; Mr. Ghali Muhammad — Non-Executive Director; Prof. Mustapha Aliyu — Non-Executive Director; Mr. David Ogbodo — Non-Executive Director and Ms. Eunice Thomas — Non-Executive Director.

Tinubu also approved the appointment of two permanent secretaries for the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.

While Mr. Okokon Ekanem Udo was nominated as the former’s permanent secretary, Amb. Gabriel Aduda is for the latter.

“President Tinubu anticipates the fullest measure of compliance with the performance-driven and results-oriented mandate of his Renewed Hope administration in the implementation of energy policy that will monetize all available oil and gas resources of today while paving the way for the total exploitation of new and cleaner energy sources of tomorrow by this distinguished team,” Ajuri said.

Continue Reading

Business & Economy

FEC Approves N27.5tn As 2024 Budget



FEC Meeting at the Presidential Villa Abuja

***Reviews Medium-Term Expenditure Framework,

The Federal Executive Council (FEC), on Monday, approved a 2024 budget of N27.5 trillion.

This followed the review of the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework earlier passed by the National Assembly which benchmarked the exchange rate at N700 to $1 and crude oil price at $73.96 cent per barrel.

Briefing State House Correspondents shortly after the FEC meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Abubakar Bagudu, said it revised the MTEF and the Fiscal Policy to use an exchange rate of N750 to $1 and also a benchmark crude oil reference price of $77.96 per barrel.

According to Bagudu, the FEC also approved an Appropriation Bill for 2024 with an aggregate expenditure of N27.5 trillion, an increase of over N1.5 trillion from the previous estimate.

He also noted that using the old reference prices, the forecast revenue is now N18.2 trillion which is higher than the 2023 revenue, including that provided in the two supplementary budgets, in which the deficit is lower than that of 2023.

Meanwhile, the FEC was briefed by the Fiscal Policy and Tax Reform Committee on its workings for roughly 90 days.

Addressing journalists, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, said the committee had proposed the removal of VAT on diesel and is looking to increase the ratio of tax revenue to GDP to 18 percent, which is the average for Africa.

He also gave an update on the $100 million financing from the African Development Bank (AfDB) and $15 million from the Canada African Development Bank Climate Fund (CACF) inherited from the previous administration.

According to him, it is a concessional borrowing of around 4.2 percent per annum by Abia state through the federal government.

He said the funds are for waste management and rehabilitation of roads in Abia State.

Furthermore, Edun said the African Development Bank approved $1 billion concessional financing for Nigeria with a moratorium of eight years, at about 4.2 percent per annum, in recognition of the economic measures that have been taken and the swift movement towards macro stability.

He said the loan to be paid in 25 years at 4.2 percent per annum, has a moratorium of eight years

He said the AfDB, a concessional financing organisation, is to provide $1 billion in general budget support.

“The Federal Executive Council has also approved a total limit of N2 trillion to be available for use by the Ministry of Finance in order to go in and out of the market and essentially to, where possible, bring down the rate of interest on the current outstanding,” Edun explained.

“The view is that there will be an opportunity to save about 50 billion naira or more in debt servicing over time by giving back expensive debt refinancing it with cheaper funding.”

Continue Reading