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We resisted governors’ pressure to borrow for March shortfall – Zainab Ahmed

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Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has said the Federal Government rejection a suggestion by state governors to borrow from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to augment the N50 billion federation account allocation committee (FAAC) shortfall in March.

She stated this on Monday while featuring on the Good Morning Nigeria programme, a daily breakfast show on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).

Recall that Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki had alleged that the FG printed N60 billion to support March federal allocation to states.

But the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, dismissed Obaseki’s claim describing it as “unfortunate and totally inappropriate.”

Ahmed said that whenever there was a reduction in federal allocation, the Federal Government would take money from some reserve accounts, adding however that in the case of March allocation which fell short by N50 billion, all state governments were asked to manage their resources.

“It is a difficult time, I can explain to you how difficult it is not just for the Federal Government but also for the states, we see increasing reduction in our FAAC revenue,” she said.

The minister also said, “In the month of March, we had a shortfall of FAAC that is almost about N50 billion and we did not have enough accrued in any of those accounts, the states to be honest wanted us to borrow from the Central Bank, but we resisted, we just told everybody to go back to live within what they had.

“So it was very surprising for us when we heard a sitting governor saying that the CBN had printed money for FAAC; that was very unfortunate because it is not true.”

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Lagos rolls out cashless FLM buses, to replace okada in two months

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Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has unveiled cashless First and Last Mile (FLM) buses that will ply inner routes expected to replace commercial motorcycles (okada) in the state.
A total of 300 FLM buses in the first phase of the scheme were rolled out on Tuesday out of the expected 5,000 units
Sanwo-Olu, while unveiling the FLM bus scheme at the Lagos State House, Ikeja, on Tuesday, said the need to phase out okada was the reason their introduction.
He said government would observe the operation of the FLM for two months to know its performance in meeting the needed demand before he would pronounce total ban on okada operation.

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Kaduna dares labour, declares NLC president, others wanted

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Kaduna Government has declared National President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba, and other members of the union wanted.
They were declared wanted for economic sabotage and attacks on public infrastructure under Miscellaneous Offences Act.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai, in a tweet on Tuesday, said, “Ayuba Wabba & others of @NLCHeadquarters declared wanted for economic sabotage & attacks on public infrastructure under Miscellaneous Offences Act.
“Anyone that knows where he is hiding should send a message to @MOJKaduna. KDSG. There will be a handsome reward!”
In another tweet, he said, “The reform of the size, cost & quality of over bloated, inefficient & barely educated public service is at stake here. We will neither retreat nor concede to any thoughtless & corrupt political hacks ever!”
The state government had said the five-day warning strike by the NLC, which began on Monday, would not distract it from its plan to sacking workers it could not accommodate in the civil service.
But Wabba, who addressed civil servants in the state on Monday, vowed to bring the El-Rufai’s administration to its knees until the sacked workers are recalled.

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Lekki deep seaport project gets fresh $629m loan

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Lagos State Government says it has secured a loan of $629m to finance the ongoing Lekki deep seaport project.
The state Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, Dr Lola Akande, disclosed this on Monday, at the 2021 ministerial press briefing to commemorate the second year in office of Governor, Bababjide Sanwo-Olu.
The Lekki deep seaport is being built over 90 hectares of land at the centre of the Lekki Free Trade Zone, approximately 60 kilometre east of Lagos. It is the first deep seaport to be built in Nigeria on Built Own and Transfer agreement.

It received an infusion of over US $221m equity funding from China Harbour Engineering Company last year.

According to Akande, the latest loan secured from China Development Bank, is to support, falicitate the construction, development of the giant project and early operation in year 2022 targeted period.
“Current completion percentage as at February 2021 stood at 47 per cent, trial operations of the port is slated for third quarter of year 2022 while commercial operations is slated for first quarter of year 2023,” she stated.
Akande explained that the project had provided job opportunities for 611 locals: 32 local skilled workforce, 513 local semi-skilled and 66 local un-skillled labour.

Construction of the initially budgeted $1.5 billon seaport began in December 2017 and the project is expected to be completed in 2023 after a review.
The multi-purpose Lekki port will have container, liquid and dry bulk terminals to serve container vessels of up to 8,000TEUs (20ft equivalent units), dry bulk vessels, and liquid bulk cargo vessels.
A nine kliometre-long and 19-metre deep navigation channel and a 600m-wide turning basin will be built to allow vessels to approach or leave the port.
A 1,500m breakwater structure and a 300m secondary breakwater structure will be constructed for safe handling of vessels. Other facilities at the port will include a 6km-long and 14.5m-deep approach channel, quay wall, cargo handling cranes, and three 19m-deep liquid jetties.
When operational, the Lekki deep seaport is expected to be one of the most modern ports in West Africa and support the growth of commercial operations in the region as well as serve as alternative to Apapa Ports.

Akande also spoke on the state of the ongoing construction of Dangote refinery and Petrochemical Industry at the LFTZ, saying the project which had generated over 1,000 jobs, is expected to commence operation by end of the second quarter of 2021.
Akande said that the construction of an integrated petroleum delivery system valued at $230m had been completed.
She said, “Total number of 40 free zone enterprises were in operation as at February 2021,1054 local employment generated between October 2020 and February 2921.
“Though Lagos State Government has no shares in Dangote Group, we stand to benefit from employment opportunities.”

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