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FG Signs $3.9Bn Abuja-Baru-Lokoja-Itakpe Rail line PPP Agreement

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The Federal Government has signed a $3.9bn PPP agreement with the China Railway Construction Corporation Limited for the construction of a new Abuja-Baru-Lokoja-Itakpe rail line to for better connectivity of the country by rail.

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi at the signing of the contract with the CRCC at the ministry, disclosed that the latest $3.9bn contract, with an agreement of 15percent Nigerian equity and 10percent China equity, puts the CRCC at the forefront of rail projects in Nigeria.

“The signing ceremony that we had today is the first PPP (Public Private Partnership) railway agreement for Abuja-Itakpe or Abuja-Baru-Itakpe and Lokoja and it is between Nigeria and CRCC.

“The agreement is supposed to be 15 per cent Nigeria equity and 10 per cent CRCC equity and then we borrow 75 per cent as SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle) from the Chinese bank.

“Part of the agreement is that CRCCI will provide us with a performance bond from their bank before we give a sovereign guarantee for then to be able to borrow the 75%, and then, there is a concession agreement that CRCCI will manage both the railway and the seaport and recover the 75 percent and pay the money.

“So, the entire railway for now in Nigeria is constructed 100 by CRCC. I think that the good working relationship we have had with CRCC is the reason we have not been able to engage other companies. ” said Amaechi.

The minister further asserts that Nigeria is waiting for CRCC at Abuja to itakpe and warri seaport, as they are not yet on site after approval from the Federal cabinet.

” Before the approval at the Federal Cabinet, CRCCI was pushing us with so much pressure to approve it, we approved it and they are not on site.

“There is a need for CRCCI to go to site. If we raise our equity they will raise theirs together. But largely is that the funds will come from China.

“There is a need to also instruct both CCECC and CRCCI to realise that we need to localise the Technology and we need local participation of both Nigerian engineers and contractors.

The Minister speaking on localisation of Industry stress the need for the chinese compamy to work with Nigeria to develop the knowledge of Nigerians, hence the reason why it is being emphasized thst on the tge CRCC build universities and provide us lecturers until Nigeria can train our own lecturers.

“Just like we are holding CCECC on issue of manufacturing at Kajola, for which we have awarded them the contract of about 500 million dollars to build for us rolling stock for Lagos-ibadan, we will also resume conversation with CRCCI on the issue of manufacturing of railway components in Nigeria,” said the Minister.

The Vice Chairman, CRCCl, Wang Wenzhong in his remarks said the CRCCI is a friend of Nigeria and will continue practicing the concept of stride with Nigeria and stir an industrial change and investment in Nigeria.

He reiterated that the CRCCI is making efforts to ensure thst the ongojng project are completed with the hope that the Nigerian government provide resources to take care of problems of compensation and resettlement.

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FG urged to declare state of emergency on federal roads, Senate tasks

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Disturbed by the deplorable conditions of road networks across the country, the Senate on Tuesday, charged the federal government to declare a state of emergency on all federal roads.
This was as the upper legislative chamber mandated  its Committees on Petroleum (Downstream), Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, FERMA and National Planning to investigate the Petroleum Products Price Regulatory Agency, PPPRA on the non-remittance of five percent user charge pump price of petrol.
Besides, the joint committees were also asked to investigate the non remittance of international vehicle transit charge accruing to FERMA and other established state roads maintenance agency.
These resolutions followed deliberations on a motion sponsored under Orders 42 and 52 of the Senate rule by Senator Geshom Bassey (PDP Cross River South)  who lamented the deplorable state of federal roads in the country.
Presenting the motion, Senator Basset expressed concern that several thousands of lives have been lost to road accidents due to bad and un-motorable roads, while bad portion of roads are safe haven for kidnappers and armed robbers on Nigerian highways.
Supporting the motion, Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP Enugu North) said the state of the federal highways are highly deplorable and that urgent attention is needed especially within this budget cycle to do something drastic to address the situation.
Utazi said “and like you prayed that the PPPRA should release the fund for totally provided for FERMA to do  it’s job.
“Mr President, the raining season is just gradually coming to an end and this is the opportunity for FERMA to go and start rehabilitating our roads so that Nigerians can move freely.
“This period is also the time for harvest and in order to ensure that farmers that are in the hinterland get to the appropriate market to get adequate prices for their goods, we  have to make sure the roads are properly done.
“You also know that because we don’t have the rail lines that should be in place, most of the goods and services that we move from one place to the other are done through trucking and if you continue to do trucking, you know that the life span of any  major federal highway may not last long.
“This is a very important motion moved at the most appropriate time to get the desired attention and I’m standing here lending my support and full weigh to get that being done knowing fully well that those of us from the south east are the major complainants of the bad roads in this country and we hope that we get the desired attention from FERMA if  this motion scales through.”
In his remark, President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan said he believe that every part of the country suffers from this problem of deplorable  roads.
He expressed optimism that the  committees mandated to look into the matter will  swing into action and attend to the issue associated with this motion.
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Kwara seeks FG’s special intervention over ecological problem

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Kwara State Government on Sunday called on the Federal Government to give special consideration to the state to address ecological challenges confronting it, especially the yearly flooding arising from the overflow of the River Niger and Asa River.

Asa river bridge along Abdulwahab Folawiyo road, Ilorin

“People of Kwara State have suffered greatly from ecological problems linked to yearly overflowing of these rivers and it is only fair for the state to be considered for special palliatives to fix damaged infrastructure and economic lives of our people and mitigate the effects on the affected communities,” Permanent Secretary Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Isiaka Al-Amin, told a news briefing on Sunday in Ilorin, the state capital.

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The news briefing followed a sensitisation tour of flood-prone areas in the state by a committee set up by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq. The interministerial committee, chaired by Al-Amin, was set up as part of government’s efforts to lessen the impact of flooding in the state.

Al-Amin said the yearly overflow of the River Niger has cut off communities, destroyed farmlands and displaced thousands of people across the state, calling on the Federal Government to consider urgent dredging of the River to end the perennial flooding.

He also called for urgent completion of the channelisation of the Asa River to curtail the yearly flooding in the state, especially in the Kwara Central Senatorial District.

“While it has become pertinent to strengthen high-level advocacy and sensitisation to educate our teeming population to vacate riverine areas pending when the rain subsides, we wish to place it on record that this is an ecological problem which requires urgent and enduring solution. It is on that note that we call on the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency consider the dredging of the River Niger to end the perennial flooding and destruction of properties in communities bordering it,” he said.

“Moreover, our people are advised to always remain where they are during a suspected heavy downpour.  Meanwhile, it has been approved that outstanding fertilisers meant for farmers be distributed immediately to enhance their farm products.”

Al-Amin said the committee has succeeded in getting some flood-prone communities to relocate temporarily to facilities provided by the government, commending the traditional and thoughts leaders for their support in the campaign.

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Residents appeal to Kwara govt for electricity transformer

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Residents of Oke-Foma phase III in the Ilorin West local government area of Kwara State has appealed to the state government to assist the community with transformer in order to curb the current power outage affecting them.
ROYAL NEWS gathered that the community which is composed of no fewer than 3000 households is in total blackout for some months.
A statement signed by stakeholders in the community, Hon. Tunde Mohammed and Hon. Ologbomoso,  appealed for government’s quick intervention towards solving the menace of erratic power supply in the community.
He however disclosed that efforts have been made in the past towards intimating appropriate government agencies in the past in order to facilitate replacement of the faulty transformer in earnest.
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