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Nigerian Govt Approves N89.6bn For Road, Airport Projects

Nigerian govt approves N89.6bn for road, airport projects

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved N89.6 billion for the execution of road and airport contracts in the country.

The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola; and the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina; disclosed this to State House correspondents at the end of the FEC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.

However, Adesina represented the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika; at the briefing.

Fashola said the road contract covered Cross River and Akwa Ibom States.

According to him, the approval was made for the dualization of the Odukpani-Itu-Ikot Ekpene road at the cost of N79.649 billion.

He said: “The Ministry of Works and Housing presented the memorandum for the completion of the dualization of the Odukpani-Itu-Ikot Ekpene road. And this is in relation to the section from Oku Iboku Power Plant to Abak of about 26 kilometre stretch.

“Council approved the award to Messers Sematech Nigeria Limited for N79.649 billion to be executed over 16 months.

“So, this will help complete the dualization gaps between the one awarded to Julius Berger and the section awarded to China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC). When this is done, motorists in that area will now have an option of the dual carriageway instead of the existing single carriageway.

“And this is in recognition of the heavy cargo that passes through that area from the South-South through to the North-Central, Benue through Katsina-Ala through to the South-East to Abia. It’s a very important trade link for the country.”

On his part, the presidential aide said the Ministry of Aviation brought the memo for the approval of award of contracts for the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos; Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja; Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano; and Katsina Airport in Katsina.

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FG hands over Zungeru Hydro-electric power plant to concessionaire

Vice President Kashim Shettima has disclosed that the Federal Government has officially transferred operations of the Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant to Penstock Limited, the concessionaires.

The government is confident that the move will boost Nigeria’s power generation capacity and contribute significantly to meeting the country’s growing energy demands.

Shettima spoke on Tuesday during the first meeting of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) for the year 2024 at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The NCP announced significant progress in the Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant (ZHPP) concession, including the official transfer of the plant’s operations to Penstock Limited.

A statement by the vice president’s spokesman, Stanley Nkwocha, recalled that the Concession Agreement was signed on December 13, 2023, by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and Penstock Limited.

Following Council approval, the Concessionaire fulfilled its obligation by paying 50 per cent of the commencement fees on January 5, 2024.

The official handover ceremony took place on January 23, 2024, transferring the plant’s operations to Penstock Limited.

Shettima also announced plans by the Federal Government to recapitalize and restructure the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) to bolster Nigeria’s agricultural sector and achieve national food security.

 

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Zamfara bread bakers commence strike over ban on motorcycles

Zamfara State chapter of the Master Bakers Association, MBA, has ordered its members to stop production of bread until it settles with the State Government over the ban on motorcycles carrying breads.

The Association refuted the claim that the motorcycle riders carrying loaves of bread were supplying bread to bandits in the forests.

The State Government had recently banned any motorcycle carrying loaves of bread, saying that they were supplying the bread to bandits operating in the State.

The Government also banned the sale of petroleum in cans, pointing out that the breads and cans of fuel were encouraging the terrorists to unleash terror attacks on residents.

Addressing newsmen in Gusau, the State Financial Secretary of the Association, Mallam Habibu explained that the union would not resume production of bread until it settled the matter with the State Government.

“We have been holding a series of meetings with the State Government to resolve the issue. I am very much sure that very soon the issue will be resolved,” he added.

 

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Nigeria’s unemployment rate rises to 5% in Q3 2023—NBS

Nigeria’s unemployment rate increased significantly in the third quarter of 2023, rising by 0.8percent from the second quarter (Q2) 2023, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has said.

In its ‘Nigeria Labour Force Survey Q3 2023’ report published on Monday, the NBS said the country’s unemployment rate rose sharply from the 4.2percent recorded in Q2 2023 to 5.0percent in Q3 2023.

According to the statistics office, approximately 4.1percent of the working-age population engaged in subsistence agriculture, reflecting a specific sector’s employment dynamics.

The labor force participation rate dipped to 79.5percent in Q3 2023, down from 80.4percent in Q2 2023, indicating a shrinking active workforce.

Giving a breakdown of the statistics, the Bureau said, “The employment-to-population ratio was 75.6percent in Q3 2023 with a decrease of 1.5percent compared to a ratio of Q2 2023.

“The combined rate of unemployment and time-related underemployment as a share of the labour force population (LU2) increased to 17.3percent in Q3 2023 from 15.5percent in Q2 2023.

“About 87.3percent of workers were self-employed in Q3 2023.

“The proportion of workers in Wage Employment in Q3 2023 was 12.7percent.

“The rate of unemployment among persons with post-secondary education was 7.8 percent in Q3 2023.”

The NBS said unemployment rate among youth aged (15-24 years) was 8.6percent in Q3 2023, recording an ncrease of 1.4percent compared to Q2 2023.

“The unemployment rate in urban areas was 6.0percent in Q3 2023, a slight increase of 0.1percent from Q2 2023.

“Time-related underemployment in Q3 2023 was 12.3percent, showing a slight increase of 0.5percent from the rate recorded in Q2 2023. This shows an increase of 1.4percent compared to the rate in Q4 2022.

Informal employment rate in Q3 2023 was 92.3percent, while Q2 2023 was 92.7percent.

“Percentage of youth Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET Rate) was 13.7percent in Q3 2023,” the report added.

In response to the evolving labour market landscape and the need for cross-country comparability, Nigeria embraced new guidelines set forth by the International Labour Organization (ILO’s) 19th International Conference of Labor Statisticians (ICLS) in 2014. These guidelines advocated for a broader measurement of labour underutilization, recognizing all forms of work, paid or unpaid. The new standards also aimed to integrate labour statistics with GDP, thereby providing a more holistic understanding of labour’s contribution to the economy.

The previous methodology, based on ILO’s 1983 guidelines, failed to capture the dynamics of the modern labour market, including the significant informal sector and the prevalence of unpaid work in Nigeria. By acknowledging and accounting for these aspects, the new methodology sheds light on a more accurate representation of the employment landscape.

The new methodology has however faced criticism with arguments against its inconsistent application of the 19th ICLS resolution, and overly broad definition of “employed”. It is worth noting that one of the major advantages of the new methodology is its capturing of the informal sector. Also, factoring in the minimum wage rate and its dollar equivalent will buttress that the unemployment figure doesn’t accurately reveal the general living standard.

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