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n IURSDA\: JULY 28. 2011

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FG to fast-track N127.5bn Abuja-Kaduna train project Em e k~


Eze ki e l, Abuj"

HE Federal Government has promised to last·

'rllCk the oomp!etion of the Abuja-Kflduno'l high speed lTlI;n project Barring un foresellm

events. the prOJ£d will be completed within 36 moo lhs as stipulated in the conl~ agreement. Asttltementon\Vednesday by the Director. Press and Public Reletlions. Ministry of Tr.!lnspot1. Mr Kingsley

in o ther developed countries

KI a m Sillisfied with the work going 00 at Ihe !ocalion. ~ciaUy lhe railway track. ~Ieeper mMufacturin g factory. steel pillnt stmctu re. laboratory and gantry CT8nes for movement of heavy eqUIpment. The projed cunenlly employs abou t 3.000 Nigerians but it is


, Niget,ans when it is I:ompleted -Already. wbstantial a mount 01 money has been l!'armarkedinthe2012budget for ongoing rail projects across Ihe CO\lniry 10 elUUre their limely completion . We must com mend President Goodluck Jonathan fOI striving 10 reviliJhse the railway syslem. which has

been comatose 101' decades J\Iready. the lbgos-Jebba rail lina have been rehabilitated bul we will soon addreg the problems hindering that of the Jebba·Kano routl!' _~ The Managing Director. CCECC. Mr. Adin Bao Gang. said that gM!n the economic importance of the project 10 Nigeria. the co mpllny was delennined to complete it on

lime ~We are ready to complete the project on schedule. When completed. the passenger Irliin wi ll takl!' an hour from AbuJa 10 Kadunll and eal:h can con~' mo..e than 5.000 passengers dally. while cargo trams will take an hoUl and half with each delivering lit leaslBOO lonnes ~ he said

Agha, $lIid Ihe f"';nister of

Transport Senator ldrls Umar. disclosed th,s during an inspection lour 01 the project ~Ie 0'11 Idu in the Federal upitaJ Te rnl Dry The project. which cover!; 186 kilometres of '<liI network. will gulp "bout


(N I27.5bn)


being executed by the China Civil Engineering and Conslluction Company The Chinese Exim Bank is exp«ted 10 provide a K)II loan of $5OOm lor the ptojecl. .....hile the Federal Government will pay the IS

balance of S350m

According to che project's specification. the rail crack \.;11 have '36 bndga and mne lull!,.' de\'t'loped stations Um~r said the Federal Government would constilute a m!nisterh:11 monilrning team to monilor !!Ind !!.Ibmit monthly reports on Ihe proJed to line With President Goodluck Jonathan'! transformallon i'\gi!ndll 10f the rail sector He ~N I . "The governmenl has mappl!'(! oul a 2S·year work pill" to ensure Ihal the rallw.lly becomes vl3b1e for Nigeria to compete favourllbiywllh the rail 5('ctor

·L·R General Manager. TedrnoJom\ Channels & Intemclliona/ Subsidiaries, SIq..oe&nk Pic. Mr. SegunAldllteml.C/liejExeculrlH!

Of/it:v, Moll for Africa.. Mr. Rotimi FoIoyoIl. ond Group Head. E-Charure/s. Skye Bonk PIc. Mr. Chub Ikr..r. dU/ing lire inauguratiort 0/ th~ Mall for I\/fica co-bronds with Skye Bonk on ~.corlllnerce payments. In Logos... orr Wulnesdoy. Photo: Segun Bakare..

Minimum wage: Irlle Urnore n


HE Nigeria Labour Congress has said it wrll resist any attempt 10 remove subsidy on petroleum products liS a precondltlon for the payment of Ihe nelv minimum ..... age of N18,OOO by.llDtien 0( government According to the National Vice·Presiden t. NLC. Mr. Emmanuel A.foku . lhe

NLC vows to resist oil subsidy removal r-ederal Government IS not citizen fflendl~' by considerIl1g Ihe removal of wbsidy on petroleum Ploducts. He said the clamour 10f subsidy remOVlll had been on since lhe !!T.lI 01 lormer PresidentOlusegunObasanjo and \\IM shU pending He said. ~For politicians. they will nol f~1 the elfect when subsidy is rem oved

First Bank plans $500m Eurobond Omobol""j i Solagb a de wit h IIge ncy rep o rt IRST &nk of Nigeria Pic will issue a sSOOm Eu robond at the end 0 1 the year to relillC:1llce its mlli turing



The Chief Financial Officer. First Bank. Mr. Bayo Adelabu. told Reuters on Wednesd;')y that the lender was finahsing arrangements ....;Ih its book·ru nners on Ihe deal. whldl he expected 10 be concluded by the lasl quarter of 20 1l. Ade1.l1bu said the bank would comment:e an African expansion strat~t from nut yellr to rival pan-African players h!:e Umted Bank for Alrica Pic lind Ecobank PlI:. nollng thai it would go 101 acquisitions wilhin Africa He said the bank. which would focus on org.llnic grOl.",th in Nigerill. was on rT1Ick to adding 50 rw,v branches rn Nigeria by Ihe end 01 the year ~He ~d Ihe loan growth

.lit Fint Bank was expected

I!mbarked upon by the b.lIn k

10 rise flom 10 per cerrt to 15 per cent In 2011 and thai the bank had ill:hieved 13 per cent already in the filst half of the yellr Aa:ording to him. relum on equity 0 1 IS per cenl will Tl5(' 10 18 pel clI'nt by year·end. First Bank had earlier recorded a 41 per cent Increase in half·~'C!ar operllhng Income of N 1209bn in June 201 1. from N85.6bn In Jun e 2010 Accordi ng 10 iJ stateme nt the bank's website. 0" gross earnings .lII5O rose 10 N I39 Thn . an increllise of 14 per cell t from Nl22.3bn cornparedwith theequivalenl perrod In 20 10 . as lendIng rates and yields improved Profit afler tax also grew by 23.3 per ccnl 10 N3 1.3bn from N25.3bn J une 2010. Commenting on Ihe result. th e Group ,..Ianaging Director. First BlInk. ""r. Biti Onasanya. said. ~The resu lts bl!'ar testhn ony 10 the lal:l lhal the corporate tl'3nsformalion

in 2009 is clearly starting to yield fru it ~As we execute ou r stlClt~ 0( dl!' fending and extending ou r leadrng position. I am pleased 10 report very healthy (20 per cent) growth in ollr lot<ll .il.SS('ts to N2 9tn. ~



bet:ause the easit':51 way 10 be \.YI!aIlhy in Ihis country i! to become a politIcian. ,..1any things can be act~lised wr lhln four yea rs. including having a fat aCl:ount balancl!' ~you can imagine the level of ha rdship th.ll t this will bring on people '·11 is also going to mbbish whatever lIIchieven"H.!nt that would hllVi! been iJlliJined in terms o f minimum wage lor ....'Ofllers because Ihe poliqr 01 fuel prke increa5(' in Nigeria will bring inAation and spiral effects 011 Ihe eoonomy. malkel forces and so on It is like calling IOf a harsher T('ality for Ntgenans and lhat is unfarr According 10 Ajoku. there is no way th e government can remove subsidy without M

fi~t providing cushionrng measures to reduce the negative effects it will have on the cihzens The JOInt Secretary. Labour and Civil Society CoclIilron. Mr Abiodun Aremu . also Rlid that the removal of wb'sidy on petroleum products \va5 unlllcceptable AccOlding to him. the wealth of the nation ~hould not be concentr.llted in few hands at the expen5(' of Ihe majorily He said. ~Any poI"tey not directed at ensuring TTW<imum wei/aT(' and happiness of Nigerian§. which the polICy of sil'Udurai i'ldjuslment and ~I<r"on that succes'!ive regime.'i have been embarking upon represent. WIn be oppo5E'd by us."

FG moves to reopen Savannah Sugar Company GO\Ie'rnmenl. through th e Ministry of TriJde and HE Federal Governme nt Investment. has constituted has begun moves to a six·mi!ln IlIIl:l.frndlllgfpeace reopen Ihe Savannah rl!$loralion committee. Sugar Company. NU/NIn. headed by lhe: tlsu Tsaragi. Adamawa St.llie . whrch ....'lIS Alhaji A. K. Abdullahi. 10 shut down recenlly followrng look into the remote and alleged secunly threa ts from immedi.llte Cl!use of th e its host communilies. clO$ure of the comp""y Investigations revealed and ma ke necasary that the compilny. a recommendatiOllS for Its subsidiary of Ihe Dangele speedy reopening. Group. had been enmeshed While inauguliltrng Ihe In crisis .... ith its h051 I:ommillee in Ahuja. Ihe com munit ies over al leged Minister o f Siale for Trade Irregu larities in employment and Inveslment, Dr Samuel and non·compe nsation for Orlom. noled thiJt Ihe government was mindful of ~""Bu, fedelill ~ abundant poten tial~ Eme ka Eze ki e l, Abuj a



' FDI to Africa declines '

the company to realising the country's industrialisation drive. add ing th.lll the gove rnment wes commilled to restoring peace and industrial hermony In the I:ompany He saKi. ~ The exploll of Ihe Dallgote Group in Ihe revival of produl:tion activities in Savannah Sugar Company in the past srx to seven !..'ean aner emerging liS the core Invt'Sfor in the privalisalion progl"llmme in 2003 has been acknowledge as one of lhe outstanding SUCl:ess slories of the privatisallon programme of the Federal Government.

LDWS of Foreign Direct Invesirnl!'nt to Africa fell nine per cent in 2010, accordi ng to the latest annU!!l1 mvestment repoll by the United Nations Conf('Tence on Trade a nd Development The World in\l\';Slmenl Report20 11 (I) WlIS released on Tuesday by the UN Office in Geneva. Atcording to Ihe report, FDI InRows to Africa for lhe year stood at S55bn or 4.4 per cent in 2010. down from 5 .1 per cenl in 2009 It said FDI inAou.'S into West Nrican counlna also 51umped. The countries are recipients 01 abou l one fifth t$llbnl of th e continent's total Dows. FDI to the primllry sed o r. apediJUy in the oil industry. continued to dominate inflows to the continent. In West Africa. th e report noted IhiJt a ll accounted for the rise of Ghana as a fT1<ljor host country. as well as for the declines of inb'S to Angola a nd Nigeria. The report st!!ltes that the emerging oil ind ustry pulled inAov.'S 10 Ghana and Niger to recortl level!. at S2.Sbn and!.947m. n:"'!lpI:!'Cu\o't'Ij,'. Regulatory COT1(em s in th e oil industry conlribu ted to thti! 29 per cenl fiJlI in inAO'W'S to Nigeria. whkh still acrounled for more than hall of the inDoo:slo the wb-

F by


Rice cultivation in Lagos f

AGOS Slate may buy U and elsewhere In the nation 10 grow rrClil 10 meet its needs. The state i! already introd ucing irrigation and encoulClging mrKhanisation to boo!it rice prooUdion. a consultant to the Ministry of Agtiadture and Co· ope,"tives. Mr Rolimi Fashola. lold the Rite Africa Outlook conference in Durb.lln. South Africa on Wednesday. ~We cannot rely on imports. We are looking to acquire land in neighbouri ng Itales as lagos is land poor. ~ Bloomberg quoted him as saying. Nigcna. Alrica·s most populous nlilion, is the biggest consumer and importer of rice on lhe coolinent The country 15 fOTeCi'l~t 10 Import about 1.9 million metric tOOne5 or the gTain Ihis year. or lIboul 4 I per cent of its 4 .65 mi lllootonnes lorecast consumption. accord ing to the Unitl!d Department 01 St.llles Agriculture. wh ich also forecast production lit 2.7 million tonnes "U!gos is a microcosm 0 1 greale'l' Nigella .~ Fashola


THE PUNCH, 28 JULY, 2011