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FEC Approves N38.4bn to Complete Inherited Road Projects

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Inherited Road Projects

By Sodeinde Temidayo David

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the sum of N38.4 billion for the completion of inherited road projects in five states of the country.

This was made known by the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, at the end of the weekly cabinet meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday.

According to Mr Fashola, all the projects were inherited from previous administrations.

“They are not new projects, they are projects that we inherited and we are trying to complete. So, essentially they relate to cost revision because of the ages of the contracts and the prices of goods that have changed,” the Minister, a former Governor of Lagos State, told reporters.

He said the old road projects are located in Anambra, Imo, Bayelsa, Nasarawa and Benue States.

The first project was the contract for a 13.5-kilometre offshoot of road from Onitsha to Owerri road through Okija to Ihembosi and Ugbor to Ezinifite in Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State.

The Minister recalled that the contract was awarded in 2011 “but wasn’t funded until this administration came in so the contractor is asking us to revise the contract by a review of N488,980,891 and an additional completion period of six months and the council approved that review of price and the extended completion period.”

He said the second contract was for the completion of a 20-kilometre road in Bayelsa State, which was awarded in December 2014 on the eve of the tenure of the last administration and couldn’t take off because of violence issues at the time and also very limited budget provisions.

“It is one of the contracts that we have since activated with the Sukuk Bond. So, the dualization is progressing but there is some additional work that needs to be done. There are also results of further investigations that support a revision of the contract by N7.947 billion and this was approved by the council,” Mr Fashola confirmed.

The third contract was for the completion of a road linking Nasarawa and Benue States in Central Nigeria, a 74-kilometre Nasarawa to Loko road, which was awarded, in 2006 and is yet to be completed.

The Minister added that the road is set to be completed by 2022 and would save travel time for its users, especially those travelling from Otukpo in Benue state to Abuja.

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Highest Percentage of Women Entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa—Report

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women entrepreneurs

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

A report by Global Entrepreneurship Monitor has revealed that Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest percentage of women entrepreneurs in the world, with 26 per cent starting and managing a business on the continent in the last year.

As a result of the rising rate of women entrepreneurs in the region, Visa is expanding its global She’s Next initiative to empower women entrepreneurs on the continent, bringing practical insights and valuable tools needed to grow and advance their businesses.

The initiative comprises a series of programs giving women entrepreneurs access to insights via research and engagement with small businesses, private and public sector communities and educational resources.  She’s Next, empowered by Visa, will also bring networking opportunities in partnership with She Leads Africa; a community of over 700,000 women entrepreneurs, and lastly financial support and solutions to enable digital capability.

To coincide with the launch, Visa has unveiled new research titled Understanding Women Owned SMEs, which explores the role of technologies including digital payments in enabling the business success of female entrepreneurs in South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria.

The research highlights the top business challenges experienced by women entrepreneurs in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria, the impact of COVID-19 on these businesses and how digital payments have accelerated business growth in over 80% of the businesses surveyed.

Commenting, Aida Diarra, Senior Vice President & Head of Sub-Saharan Africa at Visa, stated that, “According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest percentage of women entrepreneurs in the world, with 26 per cent starting and managing a business on the continent in the last year.

“We aim to encourage and enable even more participation of women in driving the economy, through our She’s Next initiative,” says Aida Diarra, Senior Vice President & Head of Sub-Saharan Africa at Visa. “Our research shows that female-led businesses face unique challenges throughout their entrepreneurial journey, and we are committed to helping these business owners across Africa to identify opportunities for growth.”

As one of the largest electronic payment networks in the world, Visa provides products, services and programs that go beyond payment tools to deliver the value of Visa’s network by helping small businesses to be more competitive today and in the future.

Visa believes that economies that include everyone, uplift people everywhere and it focuses every day on enabling access to digital commerce for both buyers and sellers. For small businesses, Visa is taking steps to address the access gap and be a payments network that truly works for everyone.

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Lagos Eyes PPP to Bridge Infrastructure Gap

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PPP Lagos

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Efforts would be made to work with the private sector to deliver projects that are of immense long-term impact on the residents of Lagos State, the Director-General of the Office of Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) in the state, Mr Ope George, has assured.

Mr George, who admitted that there was an infrastructure gap in Lagos State like in most states of the federation, emphasised that the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu was committed to bridging this gap by taking advantage of the people-friendly PPP model to deliver projects that impact Lagosians positively.

According to him, his office was working tirelessly to engage private investors to bridge infrastructure gap in critical sectors such as transportation, health, traffic management, and housing development.

Speaking during a media interview, the DG stated that the state government was delivering infrastructure that are visible and such that people can get immediate value for them.

He further stated the resolve of the state government to shorten the delivery time-frame of projects and policies that affect the people directly; while being creative, innovative and ensuring diversification in delivering people-friendly PPPs to the good people of Lagos State.

Mr George cited Awa Bike, a bike-share scheme in partnership with Awa Bike Limited, as one of the numerous PPP initiatives.

“This non-motorised transport initiative is in tandem with the resolve of the Lagos State Government to tackle traffic congestion in the state.

“Rapid urbanisation is a major challenge in most cities across the world; so, the vision of this government is to make commuting in and around the megacity less stressful and to bring down the cost of transportation.

“Another benefit of Awa Bike is that it promotes good health and environmentally friendly. It is also very affordable,” he said.

He also said the ultra-modern Medical Park, which the state government is constructing in Ikoyi, as a centre of medical excellence with state-of-the-art equipment and infrastructure, as well as the Maternal and Child Care Centres in Ajah, Eti Osa and Alimoso, equipped with modern facilities using the people-friendly PPP model, were also among the impact projects embarked on by the government.

In the aspect of transportation, Mr George stated that through the partnership with Artezia, a technology company with speciality in the traffic management systems, the state government has strengthened enforcement of responsible driving with the deployment of technology devices that capture processes and stores traffic violation data as well as billing payment for vehicle inspection solution for traffic offenders.

He added that the construction of units of houses at Ilubirin Housing Estate and student hostels at the Lagos State University (LASU) were also some of the quick-wins, people-friendly projects that the state government was undertaking for the betterment of the lives of residents of the state.

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Nigeria Customs Seeks Help to Combat Crime

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Nigeria Customs Service

By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel

In order to effectively tackle the numerous border and national security challenges in the country, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has stressed the need for synergy amongst sister agencies.

The Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Mr Hameed Ali, emphasized this while speaking at a strategic convergence of security experts at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS).

The meeting, which was aimed at proffering solutions to the insecurity threats tormenting Nigeria, saw the participation of 43 Senior Executive Course, held in Kuru, Jos, Plateau State.

Represented at the event by the Assistant Comptroller General of Customs, Mr Adewale Adeniyi, the CGC noted that, “To contend with the numerous border and national security challenges in the country, especially with the rising tide in terrorist activities and bandits across the country,” all the security agencies need to collaborate.

“Customs has been making tremendous efforts to reposition the policy implementation nomenclature for enhanced operational efficiency,” he added.

Mr Ali explained that in spite of the commitment of customs towards bringing about peace and security, the emergent security threats were still potent enough which calls for additional strategies to mitigate.

Speaking as a guest lecturer, the Commandant General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Mr Ahmed Audi, also stressed the importance of synergy, adding that there was no other better time to put collaborative efforts than now for peace to reign in the country.

He said, “Nigeria is facing asymmetric war, which is a very serious conflict and if asymmetric war has dealt with other countries and held them for one or two decades, Nigeria is not an exception and the only way is to face this head-on.”

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