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FCTA to partner Nasarawa Gov’t on rail line, road infrastructure – Wike

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(Photo: From L-R Gov Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State; Minister of FCT, Mr Nyesom Wike and Minister of State for FCT, Dr Mariya Mahmoud, during a visit by the Nasarawa governor on Friday)

The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr Nyesom Wike, says the FCT Administration will partner with the Nasarawa State Government on the development of rail line and road transportation networks.

Wike stated this when the Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa visited him in his office in Abuja on Friday.

Acknowledging the closeness of the Nasarawa State to the FCT, the minister stressed the need for working in synergy for the development of the two entities.

He said that the FCTA would open discussion with the Nasarawa Government on the development of the metro rail line from Apo to Keffi, and the completion of the road network from Abacha Barracks to Masaka.

According to him, the metro line is key but very expensive.

He added that efforts were on top gear to rehabilitate the metro line as directed by President Bola Tinubu, which he said would be completed in the next seven months.

He attributed the key challenge affecting the development efforts of the FCT to shortage of funds, adding that many projects and contracts had been awarded but without execution due to insufficient funds.

Wike said that the FCT Administration was identifying major projects with high impact that can stimulate development to be financed and completed.

He, however, said that Abuja could not grow if it did not do anything that would equally impact positively on Nasarawa state.

On the development of land for a clean city, as proposed by the Nasarawa Government, Wike said that he could not make a commitment for now due to shortage of funds.

He also emphasised the need for stronger partnership with the Nasarawa government to tackle insecurity.

Earlier, Sule said that the visit was to congratulate Wike for the well-deserved appointment as the Minister of the FCT and to also discuss the issue of development for mutual benefits.

The governor pointed out that more than 40 per cent of people working in Abuja were residing in Nasarawa State, stressing the need for partnership for development.

“This is why we have this road from Abacha Barracks down to the border that is so difficult to define in Nyanya.

“We have challenges on transportation. But thanks to the FCT for the road network from Abacha to the border. We understand that the road will continue all the way to Masaka.

“The FCT has a part to play, and the state government will do its parts, ” he said.

He explained that based on the agreement, the Nasarawa Government was to provide the needed security, collapse the 22 motor parks causing traffic on the road and build a terminal in their place.

The governor said that a terminal that could accommodate 900 vehicles had been built on seven hectares of land and already in use.

“So, we have met our part of the bargain in order to see that the project is concluded.

“I am hoping that Mr Project (Wike), without any doubt in my mind, will meet the other side of the bargain so that we will have the clean city we are looking for,” he said.

On the metro train rail line, Sule said that his government wanted to tap from the FCT additional metro line development.

“We discussed with the previous minister that whatever it is, we don’t want free meal, Nasarawa state will bring its own part of the bargain for the rail line development from Apo going all the way to Keffi.

“We have even initiated a discussion with CCECC Nig. Ltd and a Russian company that are willing to construct. With this, we can say we are more than happy to work jointly with the FCT to develop that.

Sule said that the development of the rail transport linking Abuja city with Nasarawa would open another area of development for housing, not only for Nasarawa residents but also for the FCT.

The governor added that at the border, just about five km from Maitama 2, the government had about 13,000 hectares of land at Garku-Kubusu for housing development.

He explained that it was the initiative of the previous governor of the state that was sold to the FCT for joint development.

“That is an area we sold to the FCT, that we can jointly build another Kigali and build another Dubai. We cannot do it alone, but with the help of the FCT, we can build a clean city,” the governor said.

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Job Losses, Factory Closures Loom As Unsold Goods Pile Up — MAN

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AGAINST the backdrop of sustained pressure in the foreign exchange market and high cost of production, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN has indicated that inventory of unsold goods is escalating to levels now threatening the existence of companies operating in the production sector of the economy with attendant job losses.

Findings show that as of the weekend the foreign exchange market had recorded over 254 per cent plunge in the value of the naira since flotation of the currency by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in June 2023.

Recall that the naira traded for N471 per dollar in the official I&E market on June 13, 2023 before the floatation of the currency, but exchanged for N1,665.50 to a dollar as at February 23, 2024 on the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM), indicating a depreciation of more than 253.6 per cent over the eight-month period. The forex crisis is also stoking inflation, and coupled with high energy costs, purchasing power has continued plummet, stifling demand for goods.

Speaking on the impact of this development on the manufacturing sector, Director General, MAN, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, said: “There are reports that across the board, many warehouses and plants of many manufacturing firms are stockpiled with unsold goods manufactured last year. “The development is as a result of the devastating effects of the exchange rate crisis, inflation, fake and sub-standard goods, smuggling and other macro-economics challenges.”

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CBN Lifts Ban On BDCs, Introduces New Operational Mechanism

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In a major development aimed at financial stability and strengthening the naira, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) plans to resume its weekly intervention in the country’s foreign exchange (FX) market through the Bureau de Change (BDC) operators.

In 2021, the central bank, in a bid to achieve its mandate of safeguarding the value of the local currency, ensuring financial system stability, and shoring up external reserves, announced the immediate discontinuance of foreign currency sales to Bureau de Change (BDC) operators in the country.

However, the resumed intervention, which would reportedly commence today for funding as well as Tuesday for collection, will see the apex bank inject FX into the subsector in a bid to rescue the naira from further depreciation against major currencies, particularly the US Dollar. The collection will be at designated CBN branches in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, and Awka, while details of the naira accounts to be credited for funding bidding will also be made available today.

CBN is also expected to publish the list of eligible BDCs to benefit from its funding using certain compliance criteria.National Executive Council of Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) hinted on the latest developments through a memo to its members over the weekend.

The association also warned members that it will no longer be business as usual under the new supervisory regime of the central bank, as any infringement or infraction would result in outright revocation of license and prosecution.

ABCON said through the association’s various engagements with the central bank, in conjunction with ABCON’s strategic partners, CBN had agreed to its request, under the bank’s supervision, to inject liquidity into the market through a weekly intervention beginning today.

CBN assured ABCON that the new circular on the Revised Regulatory and Supervisory Guidelines to BDCs, which was introduced over the weekend, was only a draft exposure that required the association’s inputs before the release of the final guidelines by the apex bank.

To that effect, the letters of the guidelines were not cast in stone, the association’s leadership told its members, who had been worried over the sweeping reforms in the document, which, among other things, prescribed N2 billion and N500 million minimum capital for national and state BDCs, respectively.

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