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Business

Road concession: FG to launch portal to guarantee transparency

The FG has announced the launch of a scheme to ensure competitiveness and guarantee transparency in the concession of roads.

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FEC approves N19.52 billion for road construction 

The Presidency has disclosed that the Highway Development Management Initiative, which is a scheme by the Federal Government to concession roads will launch a procurement portal on March 29th, 2021 to ensure competitiveness and to guarantee transparency.

The Presidency disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday, stating that the HDMI would be live on hdmi.worksandhousing.gov.ng   on March 29th.

HDMI is an effort of the FG to mobilize private capacity, resources, and entrepreneurship into the Nigerian highway sector; and convert roads from just social assets into assets of commercial opportunities.

READ: Okowa targets N100 million annual revenue via Asaba Airport concession 

“To ensure competitiveness and to guarantee transparency, a procurement portal has been developed to serve as the interface with the public and manage the HDMI from Procurement to Implementation

“All transactions will be done through this portal. No personal inquiry will be entertained by any official or staff of Federal Ministry of Works and Housing,” FG stated.

What the FG is saying about the scheme:

  • HDMI is made up of 2 categories namely the Value-added Concessions (VAC) and the Unbundled Assets Approvals (UAA):
  • UAA provides an opportunity for small businesses to take advantage of the commercial opportunities that are available along the Right-Of-Way;
  • Under the VAC the road pavement and entire right of way is concessioned for development and management by the concessionaire.
  • The VAC will be rolled out in phases. The First Phase will involve twelve roads and cover the 6 geo-political zones
  • Projected Capital Investment of N1,134,690,048,000.76 and employment potentials of over 50,000 direct jobs and 200,000 indirect jobs.

READ: Nigeria lost N4.6 trillion due to non-implementation of Import duty portal – FG

The FG also disclosed that 5.6% of the 35,000 km (1963.24 km) of the  Federal road network, would be offered for concession.

  • The roads are BENIN – ASABA (125KM); ABUJA – LOKOJA (193KM); KANO – KATSINA (150KM); ONITSHA – OWERRI – ABA (161KM); SHAGAMU – BENIN (258KM); ABUJA – KEFFI – AKWANGA (122KM); KANO – MAIDUGURI (lot 1 Kano-Shuari 100KM; lot 2 Potiskum-Damaturu 96.24KM) LOKOJA – BENIN (270KM); ENUGU – PORT HARCOURT (200KM); ILORIN – JEBBA (129KM); LAGOS – OTA – ABEOKUTA (80KM); and LAGOS – BADAGRY (79KM).

What you should know 

  • Nairametrics reported earlier this year that the FG received the Outline Business Case Certificate of Compliance for 12 pilot federal highways billed for concession.
  • Following the receipt of the Outline Business Case Certificate of Compliance, the FG stated that private individuals will be allowed to build, operate and maintain assets on some federal highways that are available for concession.

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Business

FG explains why the loan for youth investment fund is limited to N300,000

At N300,000 per beneficiary, only 41,000 beneficiaries would be covered in the first tranche of N12.5bn.

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President Buhari to address Nigerians on Lekki toll plaza shootings after investigation , Youth Investment Fund:  Ministry of Finance and CBN to launch provision of funds- Minister, Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports launch DEEL initiative

The Federal Government has explained why it limited the loan amount for the current beneficiaries of the N75 billion Nigeria Youth Investment Fund (NYIF) to N300,000.

The government said that it had to place a limit of N300,000 for individuals and eligible businesses who meet the conditions and guideline in order to ensure that it gets to as many beneficiaries as possible.

This disclosure is contained in a statement signed by the Director of Press, Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, who noted that the disbursement of the fund is being done in phases.

READ: FG launches application for N75 billion Youth Investment Fund at 5% interest, how to apply

What the statement from the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development is saying

The statement explained that the ministry had received more than 3 million applications for the initial N12.5bn made available adding that at the current cap of N300,000 per beneficiary, only about 41,000 beneficiaries could be covered.

The statement from the ministry partly reads, “The Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has been following with interest the reaction of some beneficiaries of the NYIF, particularly those expressing disappointment at the N300,000 cap on disbursement under the first tranche of N12.5bn.

Firstly, the framework specified N250,000 as the maximum for individuals and eligible businesses that are critical can access up toN3m subject to meeting key criteria set in the guideline and conditions.

READ: FG upscales digital skills training, to train 500,000 youths

Considering the number of applications received, there was the need to ensure spread and enable more beneficiaries enjoy the facility.”

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The ministry assured beneficiaries that higher loan thresholds would be possible once additional funds were available in subsequent phases.

The ministry in the statement also noted that it is ideal to start and gradually increase, considering that there are lots of first-time borrowers as well.

The ministry reaffirmed that NYIF was not a grant, but a loan, targeted at supporting the youth to start small businesses or to inject funds into existing small businesses.

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READ: How to go global with your company

What you should know

  • It can be recalled that the Federal Government had on October 15, 2020, launched the N75 billion Nigerian Youth Investment Fund, which was set up for investment in the innovative ideas, skills, and talents of Nigerian Youth.
  • It is to also institutionally provide the Nigerian youth with a special window for accessing much-needed funds, finances, business management skills, and other inputs critical for sustainable enterprise development.
  • The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development is the lead implementation entity and is responsible for budgetary provisions and for funds mobilization.

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Business

How FCT residents, businesses are adjusting to ease of lockdown

FCT residents are putting aside the pains of the lockdown period as they go about their daily lives and businesses in the typical resilient fashion that Nigerians have come to be known for.

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On the 2nd of January, 2021, the Federal Government announced the guidelines for the extension of the eased lockdown (phase 3) by one month following the rising cases of coronavirus disease in the country.

The eased lockdown has since seen businesses reopen nationwide albeit cautiously and in line with social distancing and other government protective recommendations implemented. The most heralded of these recommendations, the use of nose masks in public places and social distancing, have been fairly adhered to although, in recent times, it would seem that many Nigerians are moving on from the initial dread that sparked full compliance with these directives in the heat of the pandemic last year.

As with many parts of Nigeria, life has gradually returned to normal in the FCT. On Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency announced the arrival of the expected COVAX Astrazeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccines, which today has seen Nigeria record 1,096,727 vaccinations, with the FCT recording 49,192 vaccinations as of April 18th 2021. Although vaccine apathy is still reasonably high, residents are warming up to the idea of getting the required shots to protect themselves and others against the virus.

READ: FCT Minister presents N299.96 billion as 2021 statutory budget

The FCT is typically a ‘Civil Service’ domain but this is not to say that there aren’t other businesses being conducted in the region.  Nairametrics took a tour around the Abuja metropolis to get a general feel and assessment of business reopening in the region.

The first points of call were the banks which have maintained strict compliance with the enforcement of the use of nose mask and the admission of a limited number of people into the banking hall at a time. As with several other banks, at the Guarantee Trust Bank branch at AYA junction in Asokoro, customers are required to obtain a ticket from the bank security with a number written on it. Customers are admitted into the banking hall in order of the number on their tickets.

One customer, Mary, expressed displeasure at the turn of events, citing the discomfort and the amount of time expended in carrying out hitherto simple transactions. “It used to be uncomfortable at first, but since it for our safety, we have no choice but to adhere to the protocol,” she stated.

READ: Nigeria’s COVID-19 curve is flattening at a rapid pace.

In the area of transportation, ride-hailing services which had until last year enjoyed immense patronage, are also just beginning to pick up. Emmanuel a driver for a ride-hailing service confirmed that business has picked up compared to the first phase of the lockdown easing. He, however, lamented the effect that rising inflation was having on his daily income from the executive cab business.

“Honestly, I am happy that businesses are picking up but we still need support. The rising prices of things are not reflected in the fare that our passengers are charged. We have to service the car, pay for fuel, and other needs. Although we are happy to be back, we feel things can be better,” he affirmed.

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Public transport, on the other hand, has long moved on from the days of enforcement of a limited number of passengers in vehicles and the compulsory masking up of all passengers. Neither the drivers nor the conductors of the buses boarded during this investigation were particular about social distancing or the use of masks. Many safety-conscious passengers were, however, observed to still use their masks while onboard.

Bus fares have largely remained the same as they were pre-covid. For instance, the fare for a trip from Karu Junction to Berger still ranges from N150-N200, depending on the time of the day.

Restaurants and food outlets including fast food grottos are also businesses that enjoyed immense patronage pre-covid but were forced to shut down or at best, streamline their services to strictly take-outs and online orders in the aftermath of the breakout of the pandemic. A trip to a KFC outlet at Area 11 in Garki, and a number of other food courts revealed that customers are not allowed entry without a mask. However, once inside, the mask could be set aside to place orders and eat meals.

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In Gwarinpa, at the Rooftop Puzzles Restaurant and Bar, customers are required to sanitise their hands and wear a mask before entry, but once inside, are allowed to sit anywhere and be attended to by staff kitted in nose masks.

READ: CAC sets 3-hour time line for company registration in 2021

To conclude, life has pretty much returned to normal in the FCT and residents are gradually putting aside the pains of the lockdown period as they go about their daily lives and business concerns in the typical resilient fashion that Nigerians have come to be known for.

On the Legislative side of things, the FCT Minister has recently concluded plans with the FEC to boost infrastructure development in the city, with Nairametrics recently reporting that the Federal Economic Council has approved the sum of N82 billion for the completion and rehabilitation of infrastructure projects in the Federal Capital Territory. The projects range from the Federal Secretariat to the expansion of the outer Southern Expressway amongst many others.

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