Why FG is not responsible for power shortage-Fashola

If you don’t have electricity, it is not the Federal Government’s problem, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has declared.

Fashola, who disclosed this while speaking at the Nextier Power Dialogue on Wednesday night in Abuja, told his listeners that there were problems in the power sector, but reminded them that it was not the Federal Government’s problem if citizens in the country do not have electricity, especially since the sector was privatised.

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He said, “There are problems without a doubt and we must deal with them. But let me remind you, all of the assets that the Ministry of Power used to control for power have been sold by the last administration before I came. And so if you don’t have power, it is not the government’s problem. Let us be honest.

“The people who are operating the power sector, generation and distribution are now privately owned companies. I am here because I am concerned. If your telephone is not working, it is not the minister of communication that you go to. Let us be very clear.”

The minister added, “So for those of you who want to weaponise electricity, face the businessmen who have taken it up. Let us be honest. If your bank over-charges you interest, is it the minister of finance you go to? So let’s be clear. This is now a private business by Act of parliament 2005.

“My role is regulatory, oversight and policy, but I have a problem which is the fact that I can’t see a problem and turn my back, so I’m getting involved. So the people you should be talking to about transformers is not me, the ministry doesn’t supply transformers anymore.”

Fashola further defended his position after another participant at the dialogue insisted that the minister supervises the ministry and that the Gencos and Discos were players under the FMPWH.

Taking a cue from the analogy given by the participant while answering the question asked, the minister said, “I think that NERC (Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission) is the referee of the game. I am FIFA (Federation of International Football Association). And it is not right as you said that FIFA gets involved, because whether the referee makes a mistake or not the goal stands

“So the FIFA man does not enter the field to say go and change the result, but it’s an interesting analogy that I’ve also contemplated in my head and that’s why you didn’t catch me by too much surprise. However, it is important to allow the referee to continue to decide the game because investors like to know who decides.”

Affa Dickson Acho

More Nigerians now engaged in construction sites than foreigners – Fashola

The Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, has disclosed that over 50,000 Nigerians are now engaged in 77 works and 50 housing construction sites across the country, while only 277 foreigners are working in the sites. According to Fashola, the figures are contained in the “Inception Report” the Ministry of Works, Power and Housing recently commissioned to “ascertain the number of foreigners employed on those sites and whether they have work permits for the work they are undertaking”.

Fashola disclosed this on Thursday in a speech titled: “Solid Infrastructural Backbone – A Catalyst for National and Sustainable Development,” which he delivered at Sheraton Hotels, Lagos during the 2018 Nigerian Infrastructure Development Awards Night and the unveiling of  Nigerian Infrastructure Development Magazine.
Fashola, who won the NIDA 2018 “Icon of National Infrastructure Development” Award, was represented at the occasion by Engr. Funsho Adebiyi, Director of Highways, South West.
“The Ministry has now commissioned a more detailed audit of all sites and we await the results and findings,” he stated.
The Minister explained that “while Government welcomes foreigners and investors, we expect that like in all law abiding countries, foreigners can only work after obtaining work permit.”
He explained further that while Nigeria took loans from overseas to execute some projects, “we did not sign away the rights of Nigerians to benefits from such projects”.
The Chairman of the occasion, Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, who commended the organizers of NIDA Awards, said in his speech that infrastructure development of Nigeria is very critical and an issue that should be of concern to all.
Durojaiye said: “No nation develops above the level of infrastructural resources available to her.”
He also called for vibrant private and public sector players to partner in driving infrastructural revolution in order to fast track development on the country.
He said: We need more public budget investments, foreign capital and creative funding avenues to achieve this goal speedily as we cannot afford to be observers.
“As an emerging economy with growing population, we have to take the need to improve on our various infrastructure very seriously.”
In his welcome remarks, the Chairman of NIDA and Managing Director of Prospers Strategy Limited, Lanre Alabi, said the issue of infrastructure is very vital to national development as the state of infrastructure is a key determinant to gauge the health of nation.
Alabi explained: “NIDA was established to honour corporate organisations, government agencies and individuals who have made huge and outstanding impact in the Nigerian infrastructural development sector over the years.”
He added that with the debut of the first Nigerian Infrastructural Development focused magazine, a public platform to raise the bar on infrastructural awareness has been created.
He said: “The publication offers a credible avenue for both the public and private sector players to share ideas and to imbibe best practices that have helped other economies on infrastructure development.”

Hassan takes over Environment Ministry after Jibrin’s exit

Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, Suleiman Hassan would take charge of the Environment Ministry following the resignation of, Alhaji Ibrahim Usman Jibrin.

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Daily Trust gathered that Hassan who hails from Gombe state was mandated to takeover the Environment Ministry at yesterday’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

A presidential source told Daily Trust last night  that Hassan has been asked to immediately take charge of the Environment Ministry.

“Yes, it is the Minister of State Power, Works and Housing II, Suleiman Hassan that has been asked to takeover the Environment Ministry, “he said.

Recalled Hassan joined the federal cabinet when Amina Mohammed left to become the Deputy Secretary General of United Nations.

Senate Committee commends FMBN over performance

The Senate Committee on Lands, Housing and Urban Development led by its Chairman, Senator Barnabas Gemade visited the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) on oversight today.

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The visit, according to the legislators, was meant to appraise the activities of the Bank since their last visit over a year ago, he said

‘’we are here in conformity of our responsibility in oversight and the reason why we haven’t bombarded this organisation with visits is that for two years now we have seen a tremendous turnaround in terms of management and organization of this agency, which gives us a sense of comfort that whatever investments that government and the Nigerian people have made here, directly or indirectly is in safe hands.

‘’Be that as it may, we don’t work on assumptions, so we have to come here and see things for ourselves, and hear what management has to say about your operations over the past 12 months, so we can make a report to submit to Senate for the records ’’.

He acknowledged that the Ahmed Dangiwa led management team of FMBN is a vibrant one, and the committee members were pleased with the work that the management team has been doing.

In his remarks, the Managing Director of Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, Ahmed Dangiwa, expressed his gratitude for the cooperation and support FMBN has been receiving from the Committee on Housing.

He said ‘’FMBN has never had it so good in the history of its relationship with the National Assembly especially in the recent passage of the NHF and FMBN amendment bills which were championed by this distinguished committee, because these two bills have stayed in this bank for 12 years.

And we are happy that these bills have been passed and are now awaiting the assent of Mr President’’.

He further pleaded with the committee to fast track the legal aspects of the bill to enable a speedy transmission to the president for signing.

He added that the committee’s support for FMBN will enable the bank to be better repositioned to function effectively for the benefit of Nigerians.

Affa Dickson Acho

Environment Minister Leaves Buhari’s Cabinet For Nasarawa Emirate

Minister of state for environment Ibrahim Usman Jibrin has resigned his portfolio after emerging Emir of Nasarawa.

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He tendered his  resignation on Wednesday at the ongoing Federal Executive Council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.  A valedictory session was held for him.

At the start of the meeting, Buhari referred to Jibrin as “Your Highness”, causing general laughter in the council chamber.

Jibrin was appointed as the Minister of State for Environment in December 2015 when the council was constituted after a senate screening and confirmation.

Jubrin was turbaned as the new Emir of Nasarawa last Friday, by the Nasarawa Emirate Council following the approval of the state governor,Umar Tanko Almakura.

President Buhari has since congratulated the 13th Emir of Nasarawa and urged him to uphold the legacy of his predecessor.

Jubrin’s exit leaves a complete vacuum in the Ministry of Environment as President Buhari has failed to replace Amina Mohammed who resigned as the Minister of Environment in 2017 to take up the job of Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Affa Dickson Acho

 

Stakeholders Turn Out En Masse At REDAN House Fund Raising And Advocacy Lecture Series

Stakeholders in the building and construction industry, from both the public and private sectors in Nigeria, turned out en masse at the fund raising of REDAN House Building and advocacy lecture series, held at Sandralia Hotel, Jabi-Abuja on the 11th of December 2018.

The REDAN advocacy lecture series is a project of the Exco, which also served as an opportunity to interact with CEOs in the building and construction sector.

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While delivering his welcome address, the President of the Real Estate Development Association of Nigeria (REDAN),Reverend Ugochukwu Chime, said ‘’The REDAN Advocacy Lecture Series is fashioned by REDAN to inform our members and the general public in general on developments and current issues relating to housing development in our clime.’’

‘’It will deepen our collective knowledge, appreciation, anticipation, synergy and viability.

Speaking further he said ‘’There is a housing gap in the country and income level is low, the social intervention initiative of the federal government via the instrumentality of the Family Homes Funds, needs to be clearly understood, and requirements for participation clearly accepted’’

He acknowledged the commitment of Mr Femi Adewole, the Managing Director of Family Homes Funds, who was also the Guest Lecturer, for being in the vanguard in the quest for affordable housing delivery. He said ‘’

Your focus, determination and sense of commitment to chart a new course for housing delivery is clearly manifest in your words and action over the years’’.

The launching and fund raising was chaired by highly respected Mallam Ibrahim Aliyu, the Chairman of Urban Shelter Limited. The event was also attended by eminent personalities, which included

The Hon Minister of State for Power,Works and Housing,Suleiman Zarma,Managing Director, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria(FMBN)Mr Ahmed Dangiwa, Managing Director National Mortgage Refinance Company plc.(NMRC), Mr Kehinde Ogundimu, who was represented at the occasion,Managing Director, Family Homes Funds, Mr Femi Adewole and Managing Directors of all the major real estate development companies.

Affa Dickson Acho

 

 

National development: Emphasis on infrastructural development

Stakeholders who gathered at the just concluded maiden edition of the Nigerian Infrastructure Development Awards NIDA, held in Lagos have emphasised the need for rapid infrastructural development across the country to ensure national development.

The theme of the event organised by Prospers Strategy Limited was “Solid Infrastructural Backbone as Catalyst for National Development”. In his keynote address, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, who was represented by the Director of Federal Highways, South West, Engr. Funsho Adebiyi, said the Buhari administration has embarked on massive infrastructural projects across the nation to ensure national development.

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Fashola added that the administration is equally playing the pivotal role in ensuring the allocation of resources to enable it deliver on its mandate at a time the country is earning much less revenue from oil, pointing out however that, “I will like to focus on the larger picture of the resolve to renew Nigeria’s ageing infrastructure, most of which were built over four decades ago. “I speak of projects like the Kano-Maiduguri Highway, the Enugu-Port-Harcourt Road, the East-West Road, the Lagos-Ibadan Highway, the Benin-Okene-Lokoja Highway, the 2nd Niger Bridge, the Loko-Oweto Bridge and others. I speak also of difficult projects that appeared to have defied every attempt to start them like the Bobo-Bonny Bridge, which has now commenced, and the Mambilla Hydro Power project which contract has been signed.

“These projects and many others like our rail projects from Lagos to Kano, Port-Harcourt to Maiduguri, and Air and Sea ports at various stages of completion, will from the foundation for building our prosperity and national development. These foundations will be so strong that they will ensure that we are able, in the near and long terms, to deal with adverse economic seasons. “They will help to diversify Nigeria’s economy away from oil dependence, and open new opportunities of prosperity for Nigerians in sectors like tourism, agriculture, transport, logistics and manufacturing”, Fashola noted.

The Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission NCC, Senator Olabiyi Durojaye who was the chairman of the night, pointed out that infrastructural development is very critical to the development of the nation, stressing however, that it is one thing to have infrastructure, but it is another thing to develop it to the benefit of the nation. Durojaye therefore called on private and public sector players in infrastructure segment of the national economy to come together to take infrastructure development to global level, pointing out that Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind in the quest for infrastructure development as obtainable globally.

Chief Executive Officer of Prospers Strategy Limited, organisers of the event, Mr. Lanre Alabi, while welcoming the audience, said  the event, themed “Solid Infrastructural Backbone as Catalyst for National Development”, is part of a broad programme to X-ray topical infrastructure issues facing the nation and boost the growth and development of infrastructure in Nigeria. According to Alabi, “It offers a unique platform for technocrats, innovators and administrators, companies and groups whose mandate and activities impact on the improvement and development of infrastructure in Nigeria”.

Alabi informed that NIDA had identified corporate organisations, government agencies and individuals who had made huge and outstanding impact in the Nigerian infrastructural development sector over the years. “We have identified key personalities, top government officials, government agencies, private sector players and innovators who have played iconic and notable roles through strategic policy formulation, programme implementation, project execution in the development of infrastructure in Nigeria. “Our focus is to honour the best, boldest, creative and outstanding projects that have impacted on the well-being of the people.

Many infrastructural projects have projected the nation to the outside world and have birthed many other businesses. The presence of these high-impacting infrastructure investments cut across transportation, telecommunication, energy and power, oil and gas, aviation, agriculture, health, housing and entertainment. Fashola, Governors Willie Obiano (Anambra) and Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos) were among those honoured at the event for their contributions to infrastructural development.
Source: Kingsley Adegboye

Ugandan govt urged to reserve $4million worth of civil works for local firms

With foreign firms dominating big building projects in Uganda, domestic contractors have urged the government to reserve road and bridge schemes valued at $4m or less for them.

Francis Karuhanga, president of the National Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors (UNABCEC), said such a reservation scheme would help build capacity in domestic firms for infrastructure projects.

“We pray that this is introduced in all government financed projects,” Karuhanga told the organisation’s annual general meeting in Kampala.

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Karuhanga also called on government to introduce a contractor classification and registration scheme to promote transparency and competition in civil works procurement. He said only companies demonstrating profits for the past seven years should be allowed to compete.

Domestic firms face big disadvantages in competing for public civil work, Karuhanga said, including the requirement to furnish bonds and guarantees for construction contracts.

Procuring construction equipment is also very expensive for domestic contractors, he said.

“This has continuously pushed that domestic construction firms out business and instead favours the big international companies that have easy access to equipment through favourable financing and asset leasing terms and lines of credit,” Karuhanga said.

He called for a lower-interest fund, managed by Uganda Development Bank, to assist contractors.

According to New Vision, UNABCEC wants civil works worth up to $4m reserved for domestic firms, and those over $4m and up to $8m open to competition by domestic and foreign contractors.

One flashpoint for Ugandan contractors’ discontent has been a $450m, 51-km expressway from Kampala to Entebbe airport, completed in June this year, part-financed by China and built by Chinese state-owned firm China Communications Construction Co. Ltd..

In July a UNABCEC spokesperson asked why Uganda awards such work to a state-owned Chinese firm, and not to state-assisted Ugandan firms.

N8.7bn Approved For Road Construction in Yobe State

The Yobe State Executive Council, has approved the sum of N8, 701, 157, 489.00 for the execution of various new road projects within and outside Damaturu metropolis.

The Commissioner of Home Affairs, Information and Culture Alhaji Mala Musti revealed shortly after the exco  meeting at the State House,  Damaturu

The road projects approved for execution include 2.8 km road and 5.6km concrete drainage construction at Ali Marami Housing Estate, Damaturu at the cost of N560, 909, 854.30.

Other  approved  projects by the include a 2.4 km road and 4.8 km long concrete drainage at Anguwar Karo, Damaturu at the cost of N474, 029, 415.56;  1.5 km road and 3.0 km drainage line at Nayinawa Ward at the cost of N317, 433, 275.51 and the construction of 1.6 km road and 3.2 km long concrete drainage at Abbari Ward, also in Damaturu metropolis at the cost of N360, 111, 576.00.

“The residents of Don Etiebet Housing Estate, Damaturu will also have a 5.7 km road and 11.4 km drainage built for them at the cost of N1, 060, 536, 098.93”.

“As construction of the Damaturu International Cargo airport makes more progress, the State exco has approved N4, 999, 905, 407.38 for the construction of a new dual carriageway from Damaturu to Kalallawa Town to link the cargo airport with the state capital.

Souurce: Mohammed Abubakar

DMO floats 2nd N100bn sukuk bond to fund road infrastructure

The Federal Government through the Debt Management Office (DMO) has announced the sale of its second tranche seven-year N100 billion sovereign Sukuk, with the offer expected to close on December 17, 2018.

The bond, which is aimed at funding road infrastructure across the six geo-political zones, is payable semi-annually for seven years and is at a rental rate of 15.74 per cent to be due in 2025.

Speaking at the sovereign sukuk public offer-investor forum at the weekend in Lagos, Director General, DMO, Patience Oniha, said the success of the first N100 billion Sukuk bond launched in 2017 is down to the fact that the Nigerian financial market as well as its investors is getting more sophisticated and interested in new things, while calling for more participation on the part of the private sector.

She further added that the main objective of the second Sukuk issue is to sustain the rehabilitation and construction works on 25 key economic roads in the six-geopolitical zones with three roads now added for more reach.

“The success of the issuance of the first N100 billion Sukuk bond shows that the current administration is currently working round the clock to revamp the economy. The government is still spending a lot of capital, though we are not yet in the best place, we are in a good place. We want to see much more enthusiasm from the private sector as well as retail participation which stood at five per cent.

Borrowing is still going on but we want to have a stable portfolio but beyond borrowing, funds from the Sukuk bonds are strictly for capital projects especially road infrastructure. “

Oniha said debt levels remain moderate; adding that the increasing debt service is being managed by growth in revenue through the government’s efforts in engaging revenue mobilization initiatives aimed at encouraging tax payers to regularise their tax status.

According to her, the 2017 N100 billion Sukuk which was 5.8 per cent over-subscribed, ensured execution of road projects across all regions of the country, affirmed investors’ confidence and created jobs around the country.

She further added that the main objective of the second Sukuk issue is to sustain the rehabilitation and construction works on 25 key economic roads in the six-geopolitical zones with three roads now added for more reach.

Also speaking on the issuance of the Sukuk II offer, Deputy Managing Director, FBNQuest Merchant Bank Limited said Mr Taiwo Okeowo said, ‘‘we are happy to be participating in this initiative which will contribute to narrowing the country’s infrastructure deficit. With the issuance of the first Sukuk offer, we were able champion a robust investment drive – a demonstration of FBNQuest Merchant Bank’s strong distribution capacity.”

Subscribers could purchase N1,000 per unit subject to a minimum subscription of N10,000 and in multiples of N1,000 thereafter with FBNQuest and Islamic wealth manager, Lotus Capital managing the sale.

The DMO said it qualified as securities in which trustees could invest under the Trustee Investment Act and as government securities within the meaning of Company Income Tax Act (CITA) and Personal Income Tax Act (PITA) for Tax Exemption for Pension Funds. It will also be listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and on FMDQ Over-The-Counter (OTC) platform and be classified as liquid asset by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Source: Kehinde Akinsehinde-Jayeoba

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