The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has explained why the Federal Government is constructing a rail line to the Niger Republic.
The minister said poor road network, security challenges and harassment from various government security and paramilitary agencies which discourages individuals and businesses from other West African countries from exporting through Nigeria, are some of the reasons why the government is embarking on that railway project.
The explanation follows the public criticisms in some sections of the media over the Federal Executive Council’s approval for the building of the $2 billion Kano-Maradi, Kano-Dutse Railway project.
This disclosure was made by Amaechi, while appearing on a programme at Channels Television, on Monday, March 29, 2021.
The minister said that he had to go to the Niger Republic to plead with government officials to allow Nigeria to gain access into Maradi for the railway project.
What the Minister of Transportation is saying
On why it is so important for Nigeria to go into Maradi, Amaechi said, ‘’It is simple, currently the Niger Republic is exporting through Benin Republic. All the countries that are landlocked in the West African Region are exporting through Benin Republic, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast. Why are they not exporting through Nigeria? Oh, your roads are bad, so the railway takes care of that, oh customs are difficult, they will charge us things that are not what we are charged in the Benin Republic, Immigration does not allow us.
Even when we pass all these, police checkpoints on the road, customs checkpoints on the road, immigration checkpoints on the roads, then communities have their own checkpoints on the road, armed robbers attack us on the road. So we prefer to go to where it is cheaper and safer to do business.
So what we are saying to you is we come to Maradi, we build offices, we build a warehouse, you put your thing in the warehouse, you deal with customs at Maradi, you deal with immigration at Maradi, deal with police or whatever you need for the goods to go, once you put the good on top the wagon, straight to Lagos, once it gets to Lagos, straight to the ship because the things you would have done in Lagos, we have done in Maradi. So it makes it cheaper and easier to do business.
No community will stop the train and say where are those things from Niger? Or if you are importing from outside the country and you are from Niger of Chad, as soon as you finish from Lagos seaport the next place you see your goods is at Maradi,” he added.
Amaechi noted that what they are doing is to grow Nigerian business and economy as those people who will be coming will sleep in Lagos, pay for a hotel and do business, assuming the ship is not leaving that day.
In case you missed it
- It can be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday, February 9, 2021, performed the groundbreaking ceremony of the $2 billion Kano-Maradi, Kano-Dutse Railway Project.
- This follows the approval by the Federal Executive Council in September 2020, for the rail line and the subsequent signing of the contract documents for the commencement of the project in January 2021.
- The rail line is expected to financially empower Nigeria as the import/export hub for Niger and would help the country compete favourably with other coastal countries of West Africa in servicing the landlocked countries around, in the area of movement of cargoes to make Lagos seaports more viable.
Why We’re Building Rail Line To Niger Republic – Amaechi pic.twitter.com/KHU8lt9l3n
— Channels Television (@channelstv) March 30, 2021
CBN includes sugar, wheat on FX restriction list
The CBN is set to include sugar and wheat in the forex restriction list.
The Central Bank of Nigeria has announced plans to place sugar and wheat on its FX restriction list.
The plan was disclosed by the apex bank via its verified Twitter handle in a statement credited to the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele.
The tweet stated: “Sugar and Wheat to go into our FX restriction list. We must work together to produce these items in Nigeria rather than import them. #Emefiele.”
Sugar and Wheat to go into our FX restriction list. We must work together to produce these items in Nigeria rather than import them . #Emefiele
— Central Bank of Nigeria (@cenbank) April 16, 2021
It would be recalled that over the years, the CBN has been reviewing its list of restricted food items to include more items, with the most recent being the addition of maize, a widely-consumed staple food in the country.
What you should know
- The CBN governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, had earlier (on Thursday) given this hint while on an inspection visit to the proposed $500 million sugar processing facility in Nasarawa state, belonging to Dangote Sugar.
- In 2015, the CBN listed 41 items that had been placed on its FX restriction list citing that the move was necessary to conserve the nation’s foreign reserve and boost local production of the items on the restriction list.
- Some of the items which made the 2015 list are margarine, poultry and eggs, rice, and cement.
- In 2020, the apex bank included maize in its FX restriction list as it directed all authorised dealers to immediately discontinue the processing of Forms M for maize/corn importation into the country.
- Nairametrics had also earlier explained in its publication following the new policy shift, that the government’s premise for deciding to restrict FOREX on food is faulty, especially since Nigeria has not attained full food security and the agricultural sector is still struggling.
FG signs new Sustainable Development Goals agreement with UN
The Agreement is for new development cooperation with initiatives towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals set in the UN Agenda 2030.
The Nigerian Government has signed a deal with the United Nations to develop new cooperation towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in a statement on Thursday after the agreement was signed with the United Nations Office for Project Services, UNOPS, represented by Ifeoma Charles.
The Minister said, “On behalf of the Nigerian Government, I signed an agreement with the UNOPS represented by Ifeoma Charles Multi-Country Office Rep. The Agreement is for a new development cooperation with initiatives towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals set in the UN Agenda 2030.”
What you should know
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals are:
No Poverty; Zero Hunger, Good Health, and Well-being; Quality Education; Gender Equality; Clean Water and Sanitation; Affordable and Clean Energy; Decent Work and Economic Growth; Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; Reducing Inequality; Sustainable Cities and Communities; Responsible Consumption and Production; Climate Action; Life Below Water; Life on Land; Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions; and Partnership for the Goals.
Nairametrics | Company Earnings
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- Nigerian Breweries publishes names of over 100,000 shareholders who are yet to claim their dividends.
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- Infinity Trust Mortgage Bank Plc records a 60% increase in profit after tax in Q1 2021.