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FG increases train fare, as Abuja-Kaduna service resumes July 29

The government approved the increase due to the fact that the train will be conveying half its capacity.

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Amaechi proposes a capital budget of N205 billion for Ministry of Transportation in 2021, FG approves $3 billion Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway and $462 million Bonny deep seaport, Banks to hold shipowners accountable for $200m CVFF disbursement. FG sets deadline for completion of Ibadan-Kano rail project, gives reason for delay 

The Federal Government has announced the resumption of the Abuja to Kaduna rail services on Wednesday, July 29, 2020. The resumption of the train services is going to coming with fare increases amid precautionary measures to curtail COVID-19.

The disclosure was made by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, during an inspection tour and test run of the 10 newly acquired coaches and 2 locomotives deployed on the Abuja to Kaduna rail corridor.

Amaechi also revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved an increase in train fares due to the fact that the train will now be conveying half its capacity in order to maintain social distancing.

According to the Transport Minister, “In a month (pre-COVID-19), we get about N120 million, and if we run like this (half capacity), we will realize N60 million. It means that we need another N60 million to complete the running cost.” 

READ MORE: $9.6 billion judgement: FG pays PID £250,000 as running cost

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‘’It is, therefore for the above reason that the rates have been increased as follows: First class, N6,000, Business Class, N5,000 and Economy, N3,000 to enable Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) meet up at least with the running cost.’’ 

When asked if this increase will not be too much of a burden for the poor to pay, Amaechi insisted that they can afford it, pointing out that it was certainly cheaper than the ransom to be paid if kidnapped on Abuja-Kaduna road.

On the Itapke to Warri rail line, he also revealed that the route will be more lucrative when fully operational, than the Abuja to Kaduna route because when the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano gas pipeline project starts, they will carry their pipes from Warri seaport to Itakpe.

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He said that the fear of exposing the 1000 workers needed to complete the Lagos-Ibadan railway, to the coronavirus disease, stalled the project which was supposed to be completed in May 2020. He also said that lack of funds is delaying the take-off of the Ibadan-Kano railway line.

The Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai who saw the Minister off to the rail station after a courtesy call, told journalists that the reopening of the railway could not have happened at a better time. He reminded them that COVID-19 is real, therefore people should abide by all the safety protocols.

READ MORE: Bonny Island benefitted $30 billion in gas investments, NLNG boss reveals

On the issue of the increased train fare, the governor said he wished it would have been higher and called on the Ministry and NRC to consider e-ticketing as a measure of addressing ticket racketeering at the train stations.

On his part, the Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Fidet Okhiria, said that with the arrival of these Diesel Multiple Units (DMU’s), the corporation will now increase the frequency of trips on the Abuja-Kaduna line from eight (to and fro) trips to 14 per day.

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The Manager of the Abuja-Kaduna Rail Service, Pascal Nnorli disclosed that there will be fumigation of all rolling stocks and offices before the reopening of the station. He also said that the policy of no mask no entry will be enforced at all stations. He further disclosed that more DMU’s are still being expected on the route to manage the high passenger traffic.

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It can be recalled that the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) suspended passenger train operations nationwide following the ban on interstate travel by the Federal Government on April 28, 2020, as part of the measure to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease.

READ ALSO: No agreement was signed with GE on $2.7 billion railway project – FG

Some of the suspended train services include the flagship Abuja-Kaduna train service, Lagos-Kano express train on the old narrow gauge, Lagos-Ogun passenger services and some others.

Amaechi had earlier last month, said that the ministry was not in a hurry to resume train operations because of the danger posed by the coronavirus pandemic. He insisted that all health and safety protocols must apply when train services resume.

Chike Olisah is a graduate of accountancy with over 15 years working experience in the financial service sector. He has worked in research and marketing departments of three top commercial banks. Chike is a senior member of the Nairametrics Editorial Team. You may contact him via his email- [email protected]

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Concerned

    July 26, 2020 at 7:51 pm

    I hope there will be no more standing!!!

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Tech News

MTN, Vodacom launched 5G in sub-Saharan Africa in 2020 – GSMA Report

Vodacom and MTN launched their first major 5G networks in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2020, according to the GSMA 2020 report.

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The Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA) 2020 report revealed that Vodacom and MTN launched their first major 5G networks in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2020.

The telecoms operators offered 5G mobile and fixed wireless access (FWA) services in several locations across South Africa – this appears to be a welcome development, as the South African government had already assigned temporary spectrum in the 3.5 GHz range in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Obviously, the proximate opportunity to be harnessed for the 5G in South Africa is to use FWA to bridge the gap in fixed broadband connectivity for homes and businesses.

According to the report, there has been 5G trial runs in almost all the countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, including Gabon, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda but the possibility of mass deployment of the 5G network is still not guaranteed, as there are significant levels of unused 4G capacity. Also, the 4G adoption rate is still relatively low, creating opportunities for the operators to increase their stakes in 4G.

As a boost to mop up the unused 4G capacity, the partnership between Safaricom and Google to finance the acquisition of 4G smartphones, provides the desired momentum as low-income consumers pay for 4G devices in convenient and flexible daily installments.

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According to the report, it is expected that over the next five years, the number of smartphone connections in Sub-Saharan Africa will almost double to reach 678 million by the end of 2025 — an adoption rate of 65%.

What you should know

  • It is expected that by 2025, there will be a little below 30 million mobile 5G connections in Sub-Saharan Africa, equivalent to almost 3% of total mobile connections.
  • The mobile market in the region will reach several important milestones over the next five years: half a billion mobile subscribers in 2021, 1 billion mobile connections in 2024, and 50% subscriber penetration by 2025.
  • The achievement of these critical milestones would be predicated on the operators’ commitment in providing reliable infrastructural networks across the region.
  • Between 2019 and 2025, the operators in the region would have expended/invested about the sum of $52billion in infrastructure rollouts.
  • The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting more than 750 operators with almost 400 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organizations in adjacent industry sectors.

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Financial Services

Stamp Duty on Nigerian Stock market transactions pegged at 0.08% from December 7

The NSE has given clarifications on the public notice released by the FIRS, itemizing contract notes at an ad valorem rate of 0.08%.

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NSE prepares to launch West Africa’s first Exchange-traded derivatives

The Nigerian Stock Exchange has given clarifications on the public notice released by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in July, itemizing contract notes at an ad valorem rate of 0.08% up from 0.075%, effective 7th December 2020.

The circular released by the Nigerian Stock Exchange reads:

“In reference to the Public Notice in the Business Day Newspaper of Monday, 20 July 2020, captioned ‘Clarification of Administration of Stamp Duties in Nigeria’ issued by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) (A copy is attached as Appendix A for ease of reference).

The Public Notice provided, amongst other things, information on dutiable instruments and the applicable flat or ad valorem rates, with Contract Notes 1 itemized at an ad valorem rate of 0.08%. As you know, this is at variance with the current rate of 0.075% administered in the Nigerian Capital Market.”

To that extent, Dealing Members of the Nigerian Stock Exchange are to note the following:

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  • Effective December 7, 2020, the Central Securities Clearing System Plc. (CSCS) will adjust its system to implement the automated deduction of the Stamp Duty rate of 0.08%.
  • Dealing Members are required to immediately engage their software vendors for the required adjustments to their technology applications, to reflect the 0.08% rate ahead of the effective date of 7 December 2020.
  • Dealing Members are required to communicate the changes above to their clients immediately, ahead of the effective date.

What you should know

Nairametrics revealed that the FIRS listed at least 50 types of transactions that are eligible for stamp duty deductions.

Some of the listed chargeable transactions include bank deposit or transfer, loan agreement, Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), sales agreement, will, tenancy/lease agreement, and all receipts.

The FIRS noted that the recently inaugurated FIRS Adhesive Stamp is not the same as the postage stamp administered by NIPOST for the purposes of delivery of items and documents.

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The Stamp Duties Act, 19391 defines Contact Notes as “the note sent by a broker or agent to his principal, or by any person who, by way of business, deals, or holds himself out as dealing, as a principal in any stock or marketable securities, advising the principal, or the vendor or purchaser, as the case may be, of the sale or purchase of any stock or marketable security, but does not include a note sent by a broker or agent to his principal where the principal is himself acting as broker or agent for a principal.”

See the circular below:

Download (PDF, 566KB)

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Coronavirus

Covid-19: UK to approve Pfizer, BioTNech vaccine, to start immunization December 7

The UK government is set to approve the COVID-19 vaccine developed by BioNTech SE and Pfizer Inc next week.

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Covid-19: AstraZeneca vaccine gets huge boost, produces immune response in elderly, Vaccine, COVID-19: Russia to roll out vaccine in September ahead of the West 

The global reception of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc in collaboration with BioNTech following the positive outcome of its phase 3 trial, seems to have intensified as it is set for approval by the UK medical regulator.

According to Reuters, a report from Financial Times on Saturday suggests that deliveries would commence within hours of the authorization with the first immunizations using the BioNTech and Pfizer vaccine possibly taking place from December 7.

The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, had earlier in the day, named Nadhim Zahawi, who is the current junior business minister, as the minister responsible for the deployment of COVID-19 vaccines.

The UK government has placed an order for 40 million doses of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine, which has been found to be 95% effective in the final analysis of the phase 3 trials in preventing the spread of a virus that has killed over 1.4 million people across the world with its devastating impact on the global economy.

The UK government had on November 20, formally asked its medical regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), to conduct a study of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine with a view to determining its suitability, the first step in making it available outside the United State

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The government which had secured 100 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and University of Oxford had also asked the regulator on Friday to assess the vaccine for a possible rollout before Christmas.

What you should know: The US drugmaker, Pfizer Inc, on November 18, 2020, announced that a final analysis of clinical-trial data of its experimental Covid-19 vaccine, which it is developing in collaboration with BioTNech, showed it was 95% effective, thereby paving the way for the company to apply for the first U.S. regulatory authorization for a coronavirus shot.

Pfizer said they had no serious safety concerns in a trial that involves almost 44,000 participants as their vaccine protected people of all ages and ethnicities.

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