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Stakeholders laud NPA’s N89.9b remittance to govt coffers

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Stakeholders in the maritime sector have lauded the remittance of N89.9 billion by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) into the Federal Government’s coffers.
   
Acting Managing Director, Mohammed Bello-Koko had recently said the Authority has so far remitted about N89.9 billion into government coffers this year, after about 120 percent surge in internally generated revenue.
 
Commenting on the development, the former national President, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Eugene Nweke said it is no longer in doubt that Bello-Koko has the ability to productively or prudently manage the Authority to generate enhanced revenue.
   
Nweke stressed the need for the NPA management to also focus on infrastructure maintenance and sustenance. 

A chieftain of the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Mr Abdulhai Inua Mohammed said the figure was truly impressive.

He, however, stressed the need for Bello-Koko to look inwards, beyond revenue generation. He bemoaned infrastructural decay at the ports, and urged the NPA helmsman to do everything possible to get the infrastructure fixed.

An importer and industry expert, Bolutife Egbewole said while he didn’t expect the acting managing director to deliver so much within so short a time, the feat, nonetheless, shows that Bello-Koko knows his ‘onions’.

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Why we need CBN’s N2.5bn COVID-19 support fund – Rivers govt

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The Rivers State Government has explained why it intends to access the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) COVID-19 support fund for states across the federation.

The state government said the fund will enable it to establish a world-class radiotherapy centre and department at the Dr. Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Treatment and Diagnostic Centre in Port Harcourt, the state capital.

The state Commissioner for Finance, Issac Kamalu, gave the explanation at the end of the state executive council meeting presided over by Governor Nyesom Wike at the Government House on Thursday.

The commissioner added that the CBN created the fund to cushion the effects of coronavirus on the federal and state governments.

Kamalu noted that “the N2.5 billion is structured into two components. N2 billion will be for healthcare infrastructure support and N500 million as revolving credit for medical consumables.

“As you are aware, the facility has been utilised by virtually all the States and Rivers State is among the few that are yet to utilise the facility.

“So, the government has, in its wisdom, thought it necessary that this facility should be accessed so that members of the public, as well as those living in the state, can utilise the outcome of this in terms of medical service provision.”

He also added that parts of the money will be used to upgrade healthcare facilities at the Prof. Kesley Harrison Hospital and the Dental and Maxillofacial Hospital in Port Harcourt.

Earlier at the meeting, the state executive council approved the construction of the 10th flyover in the state which is expected to cost about N8.2 billion.

According to the Commissioner for Works, Eloka Tasie Amadi, the project, which will be located at the Rumukwurushi-Elimgbu axis of Obio Akpor Local Government Area of the state, is to be completed within 12 months.

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High cost of cement will render most Nigerians homeless – Group

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A group, Coalition of South East Youth Leaders, COSEYL, an umbrella body of all the youth groups in the South-East has said that the high cost of cement would render most Nigerian families homeless if not checked.

The group said it is totally condemnable to sell a bag of cement at the rate of N5,000 per bag in a country where so many families go to bed hungry.

In a press release signed by the President-General of the group, Goodluck Ibem, he said the high cost of cement would make landlords increase their house rent which would be above the reach of the common man.

He added that the attendant consequence was that Nigerians who cannot afford to pay the increased rent will have no other option than to leave the house with their families to live under the bridge or any place where they will not be required to pay rents.

Part of the press release read: “The cement that is sold N5,000 in Nigeria, is sold at the rate of N300 in some other countries. This is wickedness taken too far.

“The monopoly of cement has led to the suffering and death of so many Nigerians. A situation where the federal government gives licence to only one man in the country to be the producer and seller of cement is gross insensitivity and should stop forthwith.

“The Federal Government should liberalize the cement business by giving licences to Nigerians who are capable of doing the business. Competition in business remains the only way to get the best quality of goods and services at a reduced considerate price.”

Ibem said that: “One is tempted to believe that the Federal Government is using Alhaji Aliko Dangote who is the sole producer and seller of cement in the country to raise funds for the APC 2023 campaigns by milking Nigerians dry through high costs of cement.

“Why would the Federal Government give licence of producing cement to only one man in a country that is over two hundred and fifty million (250,000,000) people, if not for the simple reason of oppressing them.

“We will not accept this oppression from the Federal Government and we demand that cement be sold for N1,000 per bag and the business should be liberalized. The federal government should give licences to Nigerians who want to go into the business.

“As youth leaders of the South East geo-political zone that have the interest and wellbeing of our people at heart, we cannot keep quiet and allow this calculated wickedness orchestrated by the federal government against innocent Nigerians to stand.

“The high cost of cement has greatly reduced the rate of development and those intending to build companies, industries and new buildings cannot do so because of the exorbitant rate of cement. The economy is at a standstill. Nothing is moving.

“We, therefore, demand that the Federal Government should reduce the price of a bag of cement to N1,000. The Federal Government should give licence to Nigerians who are ready to do the cement business while also creating an enabling environment for them to thrive.”

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Why 2022 Budget won’t fail – Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the 2022 budget won’t fail but will accomplish the purpose for which it was passed because the National Assembly is led by trusted members of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Buhari, who said this while speaking on Channels Television on Wednesday, expressed confidence that this year’s budget will succeed.

Recall that following the President’s assent to the 2022 budget, there were reports of friction between the presidency and the parliament.

Buhari had expressed strong reservations on the “worrisome changes” made by the National Assembly to the 2022 Executive Budget proposal.

When asked if he is afraid that the budget might not be able to achieve its purpose, Buhari replied, “No! Not at all.

“My confidence that we can successfully implement the budget is because, in both houses, the party is leading.

“It’s APC party and the leadership; look at the Senate President, he was in the House of Reps for two or three terms before he went to the Senate.

“Look at Femi Gbajabiamila, I was watching on the television, when he was an ordinary member, he was always on his seat fighting for the party and the system we believe in.

“Really, I consider myself lucky. My party and their competent leadership are both leading in the Senate and House of Representatives.”

“That is why you don’t hear much about me, I allow them to do all the things because I can’t go against my party and I can’t go against people I have absolute confidence in. I know they are doing their best,” Buhari added.

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