**Wants National Digital Map Developed
By Dipo Olowookere
The success of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) would depend significantly on the work of the surveying profession.
This submission was made by the Minister of Power Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN), on Tuesday in Abuja while swearing-in President and nine other members of the Surveyors Council of Nigeria (SURCON).
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Fashola advocated the development of a National Digital Map for the whole country saying aside enhancing internal security, the electronic map would benefit weather forecasts, agriculture and internal transport systems.
The Minister noted that there was need for all the state governments in the country to come together to strategize on how to raise funding and digitalize all the mappings of their territories adding that the mappings would then form the basis for the National Digital Map.
The Minister, who recalled that the issue was discussed at the recent National Council on Housing, added, “It will help our internal security enormously, police will benefit from it, Civil Defence will benefit from it, weather forecasts and weather predictions will benefit from it, agriculture will benefit from it and our internal transport, rail transport, land transport will benefit from it”.
He said the success of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, recently launched by the President, would depend significantly on the work of the Surveying profession for the revival, development and sustenance of the economy as well as launching it into global competitiveness.
The Minister said the need for states to digitalize all the mappings of their territories had become expedient because of the importance of the exactitude of the science of Surveying not only to national security but also to the safety of life and properties, adding, “But beyond security is the fact that the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan has as one of its pillars the development of our infrastructure, the development of Energy”.
“It will be easier to then read all the maps that we carry on our phones because they are local and domestic coordinates and data,” Mr Fashola said, adding that going digital would also help avoid wrong targeting in surveying as a result of wrong coordinates or wrong interpretation.
Stressing the importance of security in creating a stable economic development, the Minister added, “We have had in some parts some errors made in targeting which sometimes may not be unconnected with wrong coordinates; or if they are not wrong co-ordinates then improper interpretation”.
Still on the importance of surveying to the economic growth of the country, Mr Fashola said in terms of the nation’s infrastructure such as roads and bridges, railways and the Housing projects, nothing would have been done without the input of the Surveying profession citing the example of the National Housing programme now going on in the 33 states of the country.
“In each of the 33 housing sites where construction is going on now, we couldn’t have started work without a survey plan, because it is from the survey plan that we created a layout plan and it is from the layout plan that designs that were created were then imposed and building could start”, he said adding that none of the highways currently being constructed across the country could have started without a right-of-way.
Mr Fashola, who also said the same impact of surveying also applied to transmission lines, transmissions stations and so on, however, expressed the commitment of the Government to supporting the Council to facilitate its function.
“I think that the Surveyor-General himself will be the first testimonial to say that since the Buhari administration the budgetary provision of this department has been quite expanded and will hopefully be sustained,” he disclosed.
On the role of the Council, the Minister declared, “What this Council is supposed to do is really to regulate the practice, the trade and profession of Surveying; decide who and who are eligible to practice it, under what conditions and so on and so forth”.
“So you have an onerous burden of leadership. It is not made easy by the fact that, as the Surveyor General has said, it is an ubiquitous profession; ubiquitous in the sense that it is so highly impacting; and in these days of Digital Mapping, global security challenges, your responsibilities are not made easier at all”, he told the members.
The Minister conveyed to the Council the felicitations of President Muhammadu Buhari, who, according to him, “charges you to discharge your statutory responsibilities without fear or favour and with your very best endeavours in accordance with the oath of allegiance that you have sworn”.
He added, “The statutory requirements for the constitution of this Council are very clear; the Surveyor-General of the Federation, a representative of the Military, the Director of Surveys, the representative of Women in Surveying, representative of the Office of Surveyor-General of the Federation and also representatives of tertiary institutions, a broad cross-cutting representation, and also from the School of Survey”, pointing out that every interest group “has been thoughtfully considered in the membership of the Council”.
Wishing the Council success in the “Challenging task” before it, the Minister declared, “Let me say in closing that in constituting this Council we are appointing leaders to solve problems; we are not appointing leaders to create problems and I think what I have not said there has said itself”, adding, “I hope that at the end of your tenure of service, the President and Commander in Chief will be able to give you a very warm handshake of congratulations”.
In his response on behalf of the members, the newly inaugurated President of SURCON, Surveyor Joseph Olorunjuwon Agbenla, pledged that the Council, under his watch, would discharge its responsibilities to the best of their ability adding that the Council members would not create problems for Government but would rather solve problems.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Surveyor General of the Federation, Surveyor Ebisintei Awudu, stressed the importance of the Surveying Profession pointing out that the Federal Government’s diversification drive in restructuring the economy, National security, National Sustainable Development would not achieve the desired result without the input of Surveying Profession.
He pledged the determination of his office, which, according to him, “is the nation’s apex Mapping Office which coordinates the activities of Surveying and Mapping”, to partner constructively with SURCON in the areas of leadership, research, policy and strategy formulations for better services to government and the citizens of the country.
Also present at the occasion with the Minister were the two Ministers of State in the Ministry, Mr Mustapha Baba Shehuri and Surveyor Suleiman Zarma Hassan, Acting Permanent Secretary Works and Housing, Mr Ibrahim Tumsah, Directors and Special Advisers in the Ministry while on the SURCON side, were the representatives of the Military, Tertiary Institutions and Women in Surveying among other representatives and other SURCON members.
Investors Trapped as Standard Alliance, Niger Insurance Lose Operating Licences
By Dipo Olowookere
The operating licences of Standard Alliance Insurance Plc and Niger Insurance Plc have been revoked by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM).
Although no specific reason was given for the withdrawal of the licences of the underwriting firms, the regulatory agency for the insurance sector in Nigeria disclosed that the revocation became effective Tuesday, June 21, 2022.
“This is to notify all insurance stakeholders and members of the public that the National Insurance Commission has cancelled the certificates of registration of Standard Alliance Insurance Plc, RIC – 091 and Niger Insurance Plc, RIC – 029 with effect from the 21st day of June 2022,” a statement issued on Tuesday, June 28, 2022, by the Head of Corporate Communications and Market Development at NAICOM, Mr Rasaaq Salami, stated.
In the meantime, the two insurance companies would be run by receivers/liquidators announced by the agency.
“The commission has appointed Sanya Ogunkuade Esq of Plot 217, Upper Grace Plaza, 3rd Floor (Left Wing), Shetima Munguno Crescent, Behind Julius Berger Equipment Yard, Utako, Abuja as the receiver/liquidator for Niger Insurance Plc, while Kehinde Aina Esq of Aina Blankson LP, 5/7, Ademola Street, SW Ikoyi, Lagos has been appointed the receiver/liquidator for Standard Alliance Insurance Plc,” the statement further said.
Concluding, NAICOM advised all stakeholders “to forward their enquiries to the respective receiver/liquidator for each company for their necessary action,” assuring them “of the safety and protection of their interests.”
Business Post reports that Standard Alliance and Niger Insurance are both listed on the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited and with this action of NAICOM, shareholders of the firms are trapped as they may not be able to recoup their investments in the companies.
Shares of the insurance companies closed flat at 20 kobo each today, with investors trading 1,530 units of Niger Insurance shares on Monday and no trade recorded for Standard Alliance Insurance as it has been on suspension since July 2019, according to data obtained by this newspaper from the exchange on Tuesday.
Niger Insurance has shares outstanding of 7,739,479,368 units and a market capitalisation of N1.6 billion, while Standard Alliance Insurance has 12,911,030,586 units valued at N2.6 billion.
Both companies will have their stocks delisted from the bourse in the coming days.
Nigeria Must Adopt Dual Circulation Economy to Prosper—Sekibo
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The Managing Director of Heritage Bank Plc, Mr Ifie Sekibo, has advised the federal government to adopt a dual circulation economic strategy like China to attain prosperity.
A dual circulation economy involves growing exports and expanding domestic demands from locally produced items by building higher consumption almost at the same time.
For Mr Sekibo, this strategy will work well in Nigeria because the country has the population to soak the pressure.
Speaking at an event organised by The Men’s League of Christ Church Port Harcourt, Rivers State, he also stressed that the government must address security challenges and leadership issues as they remain very critical for the success of the economic model.
At the programme themed What do Nigerians Want,? Mr Sekibo said, “On a higher note, I think one of the things that we need to achieve as a country is the issue of functional and value-adding identity management, which is still far away from us, although, some people know that we have BVN, NIMC and a few other identity capture systems they have not been as functional and value-adding, like the social security number that most people in advanced economies carry.”
The Heritage Bank chief, who was represented by the Divisional Head of Strategy and Business Solutions of the bank, Mr Segun Akanji, further explained that to achieve a prosperous economy, Nigeria needs to find ways and means by policies to build a dual circulation economy which thrives on three pillars.
According to him, the country needs to focus on building a dual circulation economy where it can expand domestic production and demand by making sure that the masses are employed.
“We need to make our people productive and stop putting subsidies in unproductive zones. When you give subsidies to people with inadequate or no income, they really cannot add value to the economy, and money has a way of flowing away due to the import of consumables from other countries and because of this, a larger portion of every consumption or cash given as subsidy gets out of the country,” Mr Sekibo stated while delivering a paper titled The Economy Nigeria Needs to Break Forth.
The bank’s helmsman further explained that to expand the domestic production, the government must give the private sector support to drive employment creation, technology, which is riding on innovation and manufacturing must be in place and, the population which is an added advantage must be well educated.
He highlighted the need to examine how the country could add value to primary production for global export, emphasizing on reduction of over-dependence on foreign markets but rather increasing local production for export, whilst also increasing demand for local products.
Mr Sekibo further affirmed that if states could function as proper federating units and take the lead of the competitive comparative advantages therein, wealth creation would be achieved that would bring about the desired changes.
Also speaking at the event, the former Governor of Anambra State and presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 general elections, Mr Peter Obi, agreed with Mr Sekibo that the country must address the issues of insecurity and leadership deficiency in order to prosper.
He lamented the huge indebtedness of the country, which he blamed on unproductivity due to the inimical situation of a high unemployment rate resulting in over 80 million Nigerians being jobless.
According to him, cumulative failure of the government over the years plunged Nigeria into insecurity, noting that other factors include the failure to migrate from sharing formula to production formula and lack of will to transform the power sector and the need to focus and support the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
On his part, a clergyman, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, harped on the need for leadership change, arguing that what the country needs now are leaders who have a vision and are ready to sacrifice for the common man, stating, “things must be done differently”.
Also speaking, Prof. Oyelowo Oyewo submitted that the police, power provision and railway must be decentralised as this will make states to be less dependence on the centre.
He maintained that regions are closer to the people and will boost security, the economy and the sense of belonging by the populace. He also identified data and planning as key factors in ensuring that programmes are tailored towards the people.
$13bn Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline to Boost Nigeria’s Gas Exports
By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigeria is set to boost its gas development initiative through exports to Europe after reaching a new milestone in further opening the domestic and regional gas market via the construction of the multi-billion Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline (TSGP) alongside Algeria and Niger.
The oil ministers of the three countries — Mr Mahamane Sani Mahamadou, Minister of Petroleum for the Republic of Niger, Mr Mohamed Arkab, Minister of Energy and Mines, Algeria, and Mr Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources of Nigeria as well as the Director Generals of national oil companies (NOCs) of the three African countries met to discuss the implementation of the TSGP on June 20, 2022, in Abuja.
During the meeting, which follows the signing of the Niamey Declaration during the 3rd Forum of the Economic Community of West African States in February 2022, parties established a task force and roadmap for the development of the TSGP.
It was disclosed that the TSGP project will mark a new era of improved regional cooperation in Africa, enhancing gas monetization and exports while scaling up exports to Europe via Algeria.
Not only will the $13 billion project drive socioeconomic growth by unlocking massive investments across the energy sector, but it will also help create jobs in various industries including energy, petrochemicals and manufacturing whilst optimizing energy production and positioning Africa as a global energy hub.
A steering committee made up of the three Ministers and Director Generals of the NOCs, established during the two-day meeting, will be responsible for updating the feasibility study for TSGP and will meet at the end of July 2022 in Algiers to discuss how to progress with the TSGP project.
With energy poverty increasing across the African continent due to limited investments in energy projects, delays in exploration, production and infrastructure rollout, the COVID-19 pandemic, and global energy transition-related policies, the TSGP project will bring in a new era of energy reliability for Africa.
With the 4,128 km pipeline running from Warri in Nigeria to Hassi R’Mel in Algeria via Niger, the pipeline will not only create a direct connection between Nigeria and Algeria’s gas fields to European markets but will bring significant benefits to Nigeria.
The pipeline will enable up to 30 billion cubic meters of natural gas to be traded yearly enhancing regional and international energy trade.
With gas emerging as the energy of the future, the TSGP project will play a critical role in positioning Nigeria, alongside Algeria and Niger, at the forefront of the energy transition.
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