It is no longer news that Governor Akinwumi Ambode failed in securing his party’s ticket for the next gubernatorial election and by implication, the current administration in Lagos State comes to an end on May 29 2019 when a new administration will be sworn in.
As party campaigns for the next year’s elections gather momentum, there are growing concerns among the business community over the fate of some current government policies in areas of infrastructural projects, and job creation initiatives.
In this article, Nairametrics takes a look at some ongoing projects vis-a-vis policies under threat with the exit of the present administration in Lagos State next year.
The City Light Rail Project
The mass transit rail project, called the Blue Line, awarded to China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), which is to run between Mile 2 and Marina has suffered several delays.
When the Ambode-led government came on board, he stated that the project would be delivered to Lagos residents in 12 months. That deadline fell on July 2016; in fact, five months after he promised to deliver the project, he shifted the goalpost and said it would be completed in December 2016. But by November 2016, the governor made another volte-face, extending the date of completion to sometime before the end of 2019.
Ongoing Road Projects
A visit to some major road project sites such as the Murtala Muhammed Airport road, Pen Cinema Bridge in Agege, and Iyana Ipaja road shows that the pace of work has slowed down significantly.
The Lagos State Government had promised to deliver the Oshodi-Airport Road in 15 months. It was to be expanded from four to 10 lanes and work commenced in September 2017. The Agege Pen Cinema Bridge has a December 2018 completion date.
Sadly, with the current pace of work on these projects, there are doubts over the ability of the present government to deliver before the expiration of this administration, while residents of these areas continue face untold hardships daily.
Light Up Lagos Power Project
The Ambode-led government launched the “Light-Up Lagos Project” which was conceived to light up major highways and streets in the Lagos metropolis with the aim of boosting commercial activities, enhancing security, and improving the aesthetics of the state and living standards for residents.
The project which has three segments (Light up Lagos Advisory Committee, Community Electrification, and the Street Lighting Initiative) was greeted with high hopes among residents, but most highways in Lagos are still in total darkness.
Early this year, the Lagos State government signed a N2.52 billion partnership agreement with a UK firm to construct 10,000 LED street lights covering 300km across the state. Lagosians still await the execution of this project.
The Cleaner Lagos Initiative
Waste management has been a major challenge in the state. The Ambode administration, through the Ministry of Environment, introduced the Cleaner Lagos Initiative and subsequently appointed Visionscape Sanitation Solution Limited, as its strategic partner for the deployment of waste management infrastructure in the state.
Subsequently, the State Executive Council passed a resolution to secure the financing structure adopted by Visionscape and its partners to raise up to N50 billion in bonds for the implementation of the CLI through the issuance of an Irrevocable Standing Payment Order (ISPO) as a charge on the State Internally Generated Revenue Account/ Environmental Trust Fund. The company thereafter raised an initial first tranche of its bond issuance, a N27 billion at 17.5% fixed rate with a five-year maturity due 2022.
Currently, there is an ominous future for Visionscape. Last week, the company vowed to suspend its operation following attacks by residents on its staff and equipment as a result of political outcomes in the state.
Lagos State Employment Trust Fund
One of the high points of the Ambode administration is the establishment of the Code Lagos Initiative and the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund. The fund was established to provide financial support to residents of the state, for job, wealth creation, and to tackle unemployment. The fund is expected to create 300,000 direct and 600,000 indirect jobs within a period of three years by supporting at least 100,000 MSMEs in the state. It is, however, not certain if a new administration will continue with these laudable initiatives.
Ideally, Government should be a continuum, where an incoming administration continues with the projects and policies of the preceding administration, but this is not the case in the Nigerian political landscape as several projects are starved of funds immediately a new government comes into power. The Ambode administration also scrapped several policies and projects of the Fashola administration.
Sadly, the list of abandoned projects and policy somersaults in the state are endless, all of which are not good signals to investors. Recall that the Lagos State Government terminated a PPP arrangement it entered with Lekki Concession Company, LCC, which could have seen it fund the construction of the Lekki-Epe Expressway and recoup its investment through tolling on the road over a period of 30 years. The government had to buy back the concession agreement by way of buying back the company.
Whichever way the pendulum swings at the next governorship election in the state, the new administration should act maturely by improving the existing infrastructure in the state. The race of making Lagos a “smart city” can only be achieved if there is consistent improvement of infrastructure in the state.
Senate President lists benefits of PIB as public hearing on the bill opens
Ahmad Lawan has listed the benefits of the PIB presently before the National Assembly for consideration.
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which is presently before the National Assembly for consideration and passage will ensure that Nigerians benefit optimally from crude oil production and sale of fossil fuel reserves.
According to a statement that was issued by the Special Assistant, Press to the Senate President, Tabiowo Ezrel, this disclosure was made by Lawan, while declaring open a 2-day public hearing on the bill by the National Assembly on Monday, January 25, 2021.
The Senate President pointed out that the National Assembly in its consideration of the piece of legislation would ensure that the bill when passed into law, guarantees improved revenue earnings for the country.
What the Senate President is saying
Lawan in his statement said, ‘’Let me say this, we (National Assembly) will pass this bill not without ensuring that it is a bill that satisfies certain conditions. Nigeria is blessed with these resources, we want Nigeria to benefit optimally from them. In fact, we are in a hurry because we have lost so many years of benefits that we could have had.’’
He, however, noted that the non-passage of the PIB had been a major drag on the industry over the years, significantly limiting its ability to attract both local and foreign capital at a time when many other countries are scrambling to exploit their oil and gas resources.
Going further, Lawan said, ‘’The mere knowledge that the nation’s oil industry is still being governed by laws enacted more than 50 years ago is ludicrous and extremely disappointing.
‘’As legislators, we will strive to deliver a Bill that will enhance the growth of our oil and gas industry, modernize our fiscal system and enhance competitiveness, while creating harmony for all stakeholders. This is a promise we have made and that we shall achieve.’’
‘’Nigeria must have an oil and gas industry that benefits its people. Equally, our oil and gas industry must be competitive. We must create a sustainable investment climate, where business in the sector will flourish,’’ he said.
He also added that the determination by the legislature to pass the Bill is driven by the need to overhaul a system that has refused to operate optimally in line with global standards, resulting in loss of continental competitiveness, transparency, accountability, good governance and economic loss for the petroleum industry and the country.
The Different chapters of the PIB
The Senate President revealed that the PIB comprises of 4 chapters that outline;
- How to create efficient and effective governing institutions with clear and separate roles for the petroleum industry,
- Establish a framework for the creation of a commercially oriented and profit-driven National Petroleum Company,
- Promote transparency, good governance and accountability in the administration of the petroleum resources of Nigeria among others.
Other benefits of the PIB
He also noted that the PIB upon passage and assent into law by the President;
- Would foster sustainable prosperity within host communities, provide direct social and economic benefits from petroleum operations to host communities,
- Create a framework to support the development of host communities among others
- Establish a progressive fiscal framework that encourages investment in the Nigerian Petroleum Industry,
- Balancing rewards with risk and enhancing revenues to the Federal Government of Nigeria,
- Provide a forward-looking fiscal framework that is based on core principles of clarity, dynamism and fiscal rules of general applications,
- Establish a fiscal framework that expands the revenue base of the Federal Government while ensuring a fair return to investors.
Lawan assured that the National Assembly during the public hearing would deal with all issues relating to the oil and gas industry with thoroughness and effectiveness so as to avert colossal losses to the nation’s economy.
Lawan: PIB will ensure Nigerians benefit optimally from resources
***As Senate begins public hearing on bill pic.twitter.com/nSycKWW4lH
— President of the Senate (@SPNigeria) January 25, 2021
Nigeria’s Sparkle partners with Network International for virtual and physical payment cards
Nigeria’s Sparkle signs with payment experts Network International for virtual and physical payment cards.
Nigerian fintech startup Sparkle, a digital ecosystem providing financial, lifestyle, and business support services, has partnered with Network International, to power its recently launched payment card offering.
This is coming months after collaborating with Visa to enable them to issue Visa cards to its users.
Founded by former Diamond Bank chief executive officer (CEO) and tech entrepreneur, Uzoma Dozie with the aim of providing seamless solutions to Nigerian individuals, SMEs, and retailers. Sparkle’s new virtual and plastic debit cards are targeted at SMEs and upwardly mobile, unbanked consumers across Nigeria, bringing them the convenience, flexibility, safety, and security of cashless payments across various channels.
What they are saying
- According to Uzoma Dozie, “Digital adoption and customer experience are going to be dependent on the people, platform, and partnership. In the area of payment processing and data insights, Network International brings that to our platform, and we are truly excited about the future of the partnership and what it means for the enablement and transformational impact for Nigerians anywhere in the world who are connected to the Sparkle platform.”
- Also speaking on this new partnership, Andrew Key, Managing Director – Africa, Network International, said, “We are delighted to strengthen our strategic alliance with Sparkle as it seeks to further disrupt the payments offering to consumers and retailers in Nigeria. Building on our two decades of experience within payments and deep insight of the African market, we look forward to deploying our trusted platform and best-in-class technology towards supporting digital and financial inclusion of Nigerian consumers and businesses.”
Sparkles’ collaboration with Network International is based on their shared commitment to further the adoption of digital payments among emerging markets across Africa and the Middle East. Its users can make in-app payments with the new virtual card, and also make e-commerce transactions with the cards attached to their Sparkle profile.
This collaboration will offer Sparkle access to the Network’s years of experience and expertise in creating card solutions for emerging markets. The company can also benefit from Network’s advanced digital infrastructure and robust security protocols, avoiding the need to invest in expensive card management infrastructure.
AFEX appoints Kamaldeen Raji as MD of AFEX Fair Trade Limited
Mr Kamaldeen Raji has been appointed as the Managing Director of AFEX Fair Trade Limited.
Leading commodities market player, AFEX has announced the appointment of Kamaldeen Raji as the Managing Director of AFEX Fair Trade Limited (AFEX Fair Trade).
This information was contained in an exclusive disclosure sent to Nairametrics today the 25th of January 2021.
According to the information contained in the press statement, the appointment is in line with AFEX’s mandate of strengthening trade infrastructure for Nigeria’s commodities market, while providing support for smallholder farmers, who are key players in the agricultural value chain.
What they are saying
The CEO of AFEX, Ayodeji Balogun, who commented on the appointment of the New Managing Director, said:
- “I am delighted to have Kamaldeen stepping into the leadership at AFEX as the Managing Director of AFEX Fair Trade. This is in alignment with AFEX’s five-year strategy that consolidates the best aspects of our business into business units that will deliver impressive wins in trading, financing and market system development for Africa’s commodities market.”
Kamaldeen Raji, Managing Director, AFEX Fair Trade limited said:
- “AFEX has delivered on its promise for a working commodities exchange model for West Africa after six years of operations in Nigeria. I am excited to join the executive leadership to contribute to our next five years as a business.”
- “As I drive our strategy to reach one million farmers and expand our national storage capacity to 500,000 MT over the next five years, AFEX Fair Trade will build on the success of previous years.”
- “Through AFEX Fair Trade, AFEX will continue to contribute to impact metrics that align with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1, 2, 5, and 8; no poverty, zero hunger, gender equality, and decent work and economic growth.”
Kamaldeen prior to his appointment as the Managing Director of AFEX Fair Trade Limited had previously served in Commercial Manager’s capacity for AFEX. This position monitored all commercial partnerships with a focus to drive revenue activities and growth opportunities.
It is important to note that, AFEX Fair Trade is one of AFEX’s business units, responsible for commodities trading and storage, the company is charged with the task of providing extension services to farmers in a bid to boost their productivity and incomes across all segments of the agricultural value chain.