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Senate approves fresh $1.5bn, €995m loans for tractors, others

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The Senate has approved the Federal Government’s proposals for $1.5bn and €995m loans for importation of knocked down farm machines (tractors) and economic stimulus.

This followed the adoption of a report of the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, chaired by Senator Clifford Ordia (Edo Central).

The loans were parts of the external borrowings the President, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd,) had in May 2020 asked the Senate to approve to finance various priority projects of the Federal Government and support the state governments facing fiscal challenges.

Ordia, presenting the report, said $1.5bn would be sourced from the World Bank to finance projects of state governments facing fiscal challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The projects were listed as States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability programme to provide fiscal support to states and COVID-19 Action recovery and economic stimulus programme to support state-level efforts to protect livelihoods, ensure food security and stimulate economic activity.

He said the €995m to be sourced from the Export-Import Bank of Brazil would finance the Federal Government’s Green Imperative Project to enhance mechanisation of agriculture and agro-processing in Nigeria to improve food security.

Ordia noted that the borrowings were largely concessional loans with low interest rates and a reasonable moratorium and payback period.

He explained that six indigenous assembly plants, one in each geo-political zone, had been identified and would be rehabilitated to assemble completely knocked down farm machinery and equipment to be imported from Brazil.

According to the lawmaker, the CKD machines to be imported will be adapted for local conditions with job creation opportunities for citizens.

He said the loan was intended to be used to deliver technological package to small holder farmers for a fee through the establishment of service centres in each of the 774 local government areas of the federation to be owned and run by private business entities.

On providing fiscal support to states across the federation, Ordia disclosed that $750m from the World Bank would be used to finance States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability Programme in all states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.

He added, “The committee found that the federal objective of the restructuring is to support states to introduce measures to further mitigate fiscal shocks by introducing COVID-19 responsive disbursement linked indicators at state level, to match the fiscal measures at the federal level.

“The committee notes that it is based on the above restructuring, that additional financing of  $750m  is now required for the COVID-19 response of Nigeria.”

The House of Representatives also received the report on the external borrowings on Wednesday.

Also, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, said the target of the Federal Government was to drive Nigeria’s agricultural mechanisation programme with about 60,000 tractors.

He disclosed this while hosting participants of the Senior Executive Course NO 43(2021) of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Plateau State.

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Photos: Kia dazzles Nigerian fans, unveils Sonet, Seltos compact SUVs

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Lovers of compact sport utility vehicles built with sophistication in Nigeria have two new stunning products to celebrate, coming from Kia Motors. They are the all-new Sonet and the high-tech Seltos.

The two models assembled in Nigeria and unveiled in Lagos on Friday to the motoring journalists are expected to substantially raise the market share of Kia in the compact SUV segment, which is fast becoming the toast of many new car buyers globally including Nigeria, especially young trendy people.

Details later…

 

 

 

 

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Southern govs okay VAT collection by state governments

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Governors of the southern states have agreed that collection of value-added tax (VAT) should be undertaken by state governments.

Chairman of the Southern Governors Forum and Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, disclosed this on Thursday while reading a communique at the end of a meeting of the governors in Enugu.

The Federal Inland Revenue Service and some state governments are currently in court over VAT collection.

Rivers and Lagos state governments have enacted laws empowering their respective states to collect the tax (VAT).

Last week, the Court of Appeal directed states to maintain status quo on VAT collection pending the determination of an appeal filed by the FIRS.

Akeredolu said that the governors affirmed that the collection of VAT fell within the powers of state governments.

“We resolved to support the position that the collection of VAT falls within the powers of the state,” he said.

He also said, “The meeting reaffirmed its earlier commitment to fiscal federalism and emphasised the need to pursue its inclusion in the Nigerian Constitution through the ongoing constitutional amendment.”

Akeredolu urged states in the south to leverage the competence of their houses of assembly and representation at the national assembly to pursue the goal.

He said that the meeting reviewed the state of the nation and the progress made in the implementation of the ban on open grazing of cattle in the south of Nigeria.

He said, “The meeting expressed satisfaction with the rate at which states in the south of Nigeria are amending or enacting the anti-open grazing law.

“This aligns with the uniform template and aspiration of governors in the south and we encourage the states that have yet to enact the law to do so expeditiously.

“The meeting agreed to encourage the full operationalisation of the already agreed regional security which will share intelligence and collaborate toward the safety and security of the region.”

The meeting was attended by Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu, Nyesom Wike of Rivers, Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos and Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta.

Others are Adegboyega Oyetola (Osun), Douye Diri (Bayelsa) and Dapo Abiodun (Ogun).

The deputy governors in attendance were Bisi Egbeyemi (Ekiti), Rauf Olaniyan (Oyo), Kelechi Igwe (Ebonyi), Ude Oko-Chukwu (Abia), Philip Shuaibu (Edo), Prof. Ivara Esu (Cross River) and Placid Njoku (Imo).

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Land Rover to expand Defender with eight-seater 130, showstopper models  

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Land Rover is preparing to expand the Defender lineup, turning it into a family of vehicles similar to what it did with the Range Rover nameplate.

The expansion will specifically cover a long-wheelbase variant, an eight-seater 130, due next year to a posh, six-figure model in 2025, caranddriver.com reports.

According to a report from Autocar, the first variant to arrive will be the 130, an extended-wheelbase version with eight seats and it is due in 2022.

An opulent range-topper is also expected by 2025, and will ride on the MLA platform that will also underpin the next generation Range Rover.

Land Rover already sells multiple versions of the Defender—the stubby but charming two-door 90, the standard four-door 110, and the burly supercharged V8 model.

The 130 should be at least 10 inches longer than the 110, with most of that length added to the rear overhang.

The Defender 130 is expected to only come in higher trim levels and should feature both the six and eight-cylinder engine options.

The US and China will be the stretched Defender’s primary markets, says the report.

The fancier model coming in 2025 will be based on the MLA platform that will underpin the next Range Rover. The MLA platform will support combustion engines, plug-in-hybrid setups, and electric powertrains, and will also form the basis for the next Range Rover Sport, Velar, and Discovery.

This would make a Defender EV possible, but the Range Rover and Velar are expected to have priority for all-electric versions.

The high-end Defender’s interior will be the major distinction, and Autocar says it will feature more vibrant colours and upscale materials.

Although the powertrain landscape will have shifted even further towards EVs by 2025, the luxe-Defender will likely still be powered by the six-cylinder engine.

A plug-in hybrid is also currently sold in Europe, and an evolution of this setup could come to the US as well.

An entry-level Defender 80 had also been rumoured to debut by 2025. It would have been based on the EMA (Electric Modular Architecture) platform, but Autocar reports that this model has been cancelled. That platform will be found in the next Evoque and Discovery Sport, but Land Rover has apparently decided to not move the Defender name down market, as a baby Defender likely wouldn’t have the higher profit margins that should make the 130 and luxury Defender worth the investment.

 

 

 

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