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FG to spend $4.9bn fresh loans on Kano-Niger Republic rail line, others

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President Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari

A standard gauge rail being planned from Kano State in Nigeria to Maradi in Niger Republic is one of the projects the President Muhammadu Buhari plans to fund with the fresh external loans he is asking the National Assembly to approve for his regime, The PUNCH reports.

Buhari had asked the National Assembly to approve fresh external loans of $4.054bn and €710m ($839m) for his regime.

He also sought the  legislature’s approval for grant components of $125m in the 2018-2020 external rolling borrowing plan.

These were contained in a letter addressed to both chambers of the National Assembly and read on the floor at the resumption of plenary by the presiding officers Messrs Ahmad Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila (Senate President and Speaker of House of Representatives respectively) on Tuesday.

Lagos-Ibadan-rail

Buhari,  in the letter, dated August 24, 2021, explained that the projects listed in the 2018-2021 Federal Government Borrowing Plan would be financed through sovereign loans from the World Bank, French Development Agency, EXIM Bank International Fund for Agricultural Development, Credit Suisse Group and Standard Chattered/China Export and Credit in the total sum of $4,054,476,863 and €710m (839m) and grant components of $125m

According to the President, summary of some key projects in each of the six geopolitical zones that will be funded by the loans and a summary on the expected impacts on the socioeconomic development of each of the six geopolitical zones were attached to the letter.

According to the breakdown obtained exclusively by one of our correspondents from the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, five international bodies will jointly provide the $4,054,476,863 component of the loan.

They include the World Bank -$3,250,000,000; China Exim Bank -$225,120,000; IFAD- $50,000,000; European ECA/KfW/IPEX/APC -$190,255,276; Bank of China -$276,981,587; and Standard Chartered Bank/China Export and Credit (SINOSURE) -$62,120,000.

The Euro component of €710m will be provided by AFD -€210,000,00 and Credit Sussie Group €500,000,000 while the World Bank will provide the grant components of $125m.

According to the document, the $190,255,276 to be provided by European ECA/KfW/IPEX/APC will be spent on the Nigeria to Niger Republic rail line.

The document gave the project title as “Kano-Maradi SGR with branch to Dutse” and identified the implementing MDA as the Federal Ministry of Transportation.

“Financing cost which the lender requested to be capitalised” was written under the column for multilateral institution.

On the expected impact of the project on the geo-political development, the Federal Government wrote, “The project is to link Nigeria with Niger Republic from Kano-Katsina-Daura-Jibiya-Maradi with branch to Dutse.

“It is part of the Trans-Africa Railway System and it is expected to improve the international trade between Nigeria, Niger and other North-Africa countries.”

Also, the $225,120,000 to be provided by China Exim Bank is expected to be spent on the Lagos-Ibadan Railway Modernisation Project.

It is meant to cater for the construction of the branch line (Apapa-Tin Can Island Port) project.

On the impact of the project, the Federal Government said, “The project is to provide an alignment of routes from the Apapa Port Terminal to Tin Can Island Port and to enhance the economic activities at the Apapa and tin Can Island Ports.”

The $50,000,000 to be provided by IFAD will be spent on what the government called Value Chain Development Programme -Additional Financing II.

It identified the implementing states as Anambra, Benue, Ebonyi, Niger, Ogun, Taraba, Nasarawa, Enugu and Kogi while the geo-political zones were listed as North Central, North East, South West and South East.

The expected impact, according to the government, is “to support a measurable increase in the programme’s outreach to 100,000 farmers, including over 6,000 and 3,000 processors and traders respectively.

“It will also support the mainstreaming of issues that were not considered at the stage of programme design.”

The €210,000,000 to be provided by AFD will be spent on two projects -National Digital Identity Management Project (co-financed with the World Bank, AFD and EIB) -€100,000,000; and the Kaduna Bus Rapid Transport Project –€110,000,000.

The Bank of China’s $276,981,587 will be spent on the establishment of three power renewable energy projects; Credit Sussie Group’s €500,000,000 will be spent on sovereign guarantee for the issuance of Euro bond as collateral to enable Bank of Industry fund its projects; while the -$62,120,000 to be provided by Standard Chartered Bank/China Export and Credit (SINOSURE) will be used to provide 17MW hybrid solar power infrastructure for the National Assembly complex.

World Bank’s $3,250,000,000 will be spent on seven projects.

Part of Buhari’s letter to the National Assembly had read, “I write on the above subject and submit the attached addendum to the proposed 2018-2020 external rolling borrowing plan for the consideration and concurrent approval of the senate for the same to become effective.

“The distinguished Senate President may recall that I submitted a request on 2018-2020 borrowing plan for the approval of the senate in May 2021.

“However, in view of other emerging needs and to ensure that all critical projects approved by Federal Executive Council as of June 2021 are incorporated, I hereby forward an addendum to the proposed borrowing plan.

“The projects listed in the external borrowing plan are to be financed through sovereign loans from the World Bank, French Development Agency, EXIM Bank and IFAD in the total sum of $4,054,476,863 and €710m and grant components of $125m.

“A summary of some key projects in each of the six geopolitical zones and a summary on the expected impacts on the socioeconomic development of each of the six geopolitical zones are attached herewith as Annex II and III.”

 

Source The PUNCH via The Advocate

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Economy

Nigeria Energy Dialogue, Ministry Partner on Methanol Fuel Technology

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By Dorcas Jonah

The Nigeria Energy Dialogue (NED) has partnered with the Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation to unveil the Methanol Fuel Production Technology.

The Executive Director of NED, Frank Edozie said this at the ongoing 2023 Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation Expo on Tuesday in Abuja.

Edozie who said the partnership was a revolution simplified by technology, said it would also drive the country’s vision for a clean, safe and available energy.

He said methanol is a transportable energy that can be used to power industries, rural electrification and household energy with a multiplier effect on the economy through job creation.

“We will get our people to work as many people needed accessible energy. The beauty of it is we are talking about technology that is there.

“We will build on Brass Methanol and numerous methanol projects across the country.

“We don’t see this as an alternative; it will eventually become the main source of energy because it is green and accessible.

“The more it is deployed, the cheaper it becomes until it gets better current cost of energy,” he said.

Edozie said that the technology convert gas methanol to hydrogen fuel cells for multiple uses across the energy space in Nigeria.

The director this was coming at a time Nigeria was almost completing the construction of Brass Methanol plant, in partnership with Sun Hydro Energy Limited and Clean Energy Resources.

Also speaking, Dr Peter Ekweozoh, Director, implementation of Methanol value chain in Nigeria, said that Methanol Fuel technology implementation would assist Nigeria achieve its obligation under the Paris agreement.

Ekweozoh said that the project would reduce global warming in various sectors of the economy by reducing hydrocarbon emission footprints.

“This technology will help to improve our transportation system, because we are going to use hydrogen fuel cells or Methanol which has low carbon footprints to drive vehicles when fully adopted by Nigerians,” he said.

He said that 40 million jobs would be generated in two years from the methanol production value chain.

He said it would also generate cheap quality affordable clean and trusted energy to power the rural areas in Nigeria.

Dr Offiong Archibong Anyanwu, Programme Director for NED, said the project would create a platform for stakeholders in the energy sector to ensure that net zero was achieved.

“The objective of this partnership is to sustained focus on the momentum that has been made on methanol in Nigeria, and this will ensure cleaner source of fuel for cars, household applications and industries,” she said.

Anyanwu added that methanol was the future of energy, expressing hope that this achievement of the Buhari’s administration would not be swept under the carpet by the next administration.

She said this was because Methanol was already used across the system and since technology was not static, it was imperative that the current government build on the momentum methanol hence the slogan BOOMM.

Dr. Joy Ogaji, Chief Executive Officer, Association of Power Generating companies in Nigeria expressed confidence in the revolutionary move to possible cheaper fuel to power generation companies in Nigeria.

She said if methanol is properly packaged and implemented, power generation companies can have better access to cheaper fuel.

Joy also said it will at the long run bring about the climate change and draws closer to meeting our net zero 2060.(NAN)

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Economy

CBN Domestic Card Scheme Takes off

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The Central Bank of Nigeria, in line with its mandate to promote stability, inclusion and growth in the financial and payment system, has introduced a national domestic card scheme that becomes effective on January 16, 2023.

Although the bank is yet to disclose the procurement cost and operational charges, Nigerians will from Monday receive a new electronic card for local transactions that will be charged in Nigeria.

The card payment scheme processes payments using debit and credit cards.

The card is expected to compete with other debit cards, including Mastercard, Visa, and Verve cards operating in Nigeria.

The CBN, in conjunction with the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc and the Bankers’ Committee made the announcement of the new card scheme at a press briefing in October last year.

At the conference, the Managing Director of NIBSS, Premier Oiwoh, explained that the domestic card scheme would reduce the operating costs of cards in the country for both the issuers and users.

“The card would be optimised for local content solely for the Nigerian market and support micropayment and credit, e-government, identity management, transportation, health and agriculture regarding payment,” Owoh added.

The CBN’s Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr Osita Nwanisobi, also corroborated Oiwoh’s position, explaining that Nigeria’s payment ecosystem has grown and can buoy a domestic card scheme.

“Considering the strength and breadth of its banking sector and the rapid growth and transformation of its payments system over the last decade, Nigeria is ideally positioned to successfully launch a national card scheme”, he said.

The new card, expected to unify payments across the banking landscape, is coming at a time Nigerians are fighting commercial banks over alleged dubious and duplicitous charges on their cards.

The card will be delivered through Nigeria’s central switch, the NIBSS, in conjunction with the Bankers Committee and other financial ecosystem stakeholders.

Today’s deployment will enlist Nigeria into the growing list of countries like India, Turkey, China, and Brazil that have launched similar cards for domestic use.

The CBN said, “The domestic card scheme will be an important game changer for financial inclusion in Nigeria.

“The plan is to deliver Africa’s first central bank-driven, domestic card scheme that combines a fully domestic infrastructure with international interoperability. Our plans will enable us to pivot into the largest card scheme in Africa, and amongst the biggest globally.”

However, it could not be ascertained yet if Nigerians would be able to use it for international transactions as its application is for now restricted to local shores.

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Buhari Signs N21.83 Trillion Budget into Law

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*says adequate provisions made for elections, others

President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the 2023 Budget of N21.83 trillion along with the 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Bill into law.

A statement from his office by Mr. Femi Adesina, his spokesman, the President said the aggregate expenditures of N21.83 trillion, is an increase of N1.32 trillion over the initial Executive Proposal for a total expenditure of N20.51 trillion.

He explained that the 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Act would enable the administration to respond to the havoc caused by the recent nationwide floods on infrastructure and agriculture sectors.

The statement reads further: As is customary, he said the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning will subsequently provide more details of the approved budget and the supporting 2022 Finance Act.

”We have examined the changes made by the National Assembly to the 2023 Executive Budget proposal.

”The amended fiscal framework for 2023 as approved by the National Assembly shows additional revenues of N765.79 billion, and an unfunded deficit of N553.46 billion.

”It is clear that the National Assembly and the executive need to capture some of the proposed additional revenue sources in the fiscal framework. This must be rectified.

”I have also noted that the National Assembly introduced new projects into the 2023 budget proposal for which it has appropriated N770.72 billion. The National Assembly also increased the provisions made by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) by N58.55 billion.”

President Buhari said his decision to sign the 2023 Appropriation Bill into law as passed by the National Assembly was to enable its implementation commence without delay, considering the imminent transition process to another democratically elected government.

He, however, directed the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning to engage with the Legislature to revisit some of the changes made to the Executive budget proposal, expressing the hope that the National Assembly will cooperate with the Executive arm of Government in this regard.

He urged the National Assembly to reconsider its position on his proposal to securitize the Federal Government’s outstanding Ways and Means balance at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

”As I stated, the balance has accumulated over several years and represents funding provided by the CBN as lender of last resort to the government to enable it to meet obligations to lenders, as well as cover budgetary shortfalls in projected revenues and/or borrowings.

”I have no intention to fetter the right of the National Assembly to interrogate the composition of this balance, which can still be done even after granting the requested approval.

”Failure to grant the securitization approval will however cost the government about N1.8 trillion in additional interest in 2023 given the differential between the applicable interest rates which is currently MPR plus 3% and the negotiated interest rate of 9% and a 40year repayment period on the securitised debt of the Ways and Means.”

To ensure more effective implementation of the 2022 capital Budget, President Buhari thanked the National Assembly for approving his request for an extension of its validity date to 31st March, 2023.

The President directed the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to work towards early release of the 2023 capital votes to enable Ministries, Departments and Agencies commence the implementation of their capital projects in good time to support efforts to deliver key projects and public services as well as improve the living conditions of Nigerians.

Reiterating that the 2023 Budget was developed to promote fiscal sustainability, macroeconomic stability and ensure smooth transition to the incoming Administration, the President said it was also designed to promote social inclusion and strengthen the resilience of the economy.

He pledged that adequate provisions have been made in the Budget for the successful conduct of the forthcoming general elections and the transition programme.

On achieving revenue targets for the budget, the President directed MDAs and Government Owned Enterprises (GOEs) to intensify their revenue mobilization efforts, including ensuring that all taxable organizations and individuals pay taxes due.

To achieve the laudable objectives of the 2023 Budget, the President said relevant Agencies must sustain current efforts towards the realization of crude oil production and export targets.

”To augment available fiscal resources, MDAs are to accelerate the implementation of Public Private Partnership initiatives, especially those designed to fast-track the pace of our infrastructural development.

”This, being a deficit budget, the associated Borrowing Plan will be forwarded to the National Assembly shortly.

”I count on the cooperation of the National Assembly for a speedy consideration and approval of the Plan.”

On the Finance Bill 2022, the President expressed regret that its review as passed by the National Assembly is yet to be finalized.

”This is because some of the changes made by the National Assembly need to be reviewed by the relevant agencies of government. I urge that this should be done speedily to enable me to assent into law,” he said.

Those who witnessed the signing of the budget include Senate President Ahmad Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.

The President thanked the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and all the distinguished and honourable leaders and members of the National Assembly for the expeditious consideration and passage of the Appropriation Bill.

He also recognised the roles played by the Ministers of Finance, Budget and National Planning, the Budget Office of the Federation, the Senior Special Assistants to the President (Senate and House of Representatives), the Office of the Chief of Staff, as well as all who worked tirelessly and sacrificed so much towards producing the 2023 Appropriation Act.

”As I mentioned during the presentation of the 2023 Appropriation Bill, early passage of the budget proposal is critical to ensure effective delivery of our legacy projects, a smooth transition programme and effective take-off of the incoming Administration.

”I appreciate the firm commitment of the 9th National Assembly to the restoration of a predictable January to December fiscal year, as well as the mutual understanding, collaboration and engagements between officials of the Executive and the Legislative arms of government.

”These have made the quick consideration and passage of our Fiscal bills possible over the last four years.”

The President expressed the belief that the next Administration would sustain the early presentation of the annual appropriation bill to the National Assembly to ensure its passage before the beginning of the fiscal year.

”I firmly believe the next Administration will also sustain the current public financial management reform efforts, further improve the budgeting process, and particularly maintain the tradition of supporting its Appropriation Bills with Finance Bills designed to facilitate their implementation.

”To sustain and institutionalize the gains of the reforms, we must expedite action and conclude work on the Organic Budget Law for it to become operational before the end of this Administration.”

Acknowledging that ‘‘these are challenging times worldwide,’’ the President concluded his speech at the ceremony by expressing deep appreciation to Almighty God for His Grace, while commending the continuing resilience, understanding and sacrifice of Nigerians in the face of current economic challenges.

”As this Administration draws to a close, we will accelerate the implementation of critical measures aimed at further improving the Nigerian business environment, enhancing the welfare of our people and ensuring sustainable economic growth over the medium- to long-term,” he said.

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