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NDDC urges IOCs to defray over 700m dollars outstanding debt

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Last Updated on May 30, 2024 by Fellow Press

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has appealed to International Oil Companies (IOCs) to defray the whopping 700 million U.S. dollars debts they owe the commission.

The Managing Director of the commission, Dr Samuel Ogbuku, made the appeal during a virtual media tour of the commission’s projects in the Niger Delta region and sensitisation engagement with media executives across the country.

Ogbuku, represented by the commission’s Executive Director of Projects, Mr Victor Antai, said the debt spanned more than 24 years.

He said that paying the debt would help the commission in no small measure to tackle the enormous developmental challenges confronting the region.

He said that the present NDDC’s board and management were genuinely committed to changing the old narrative and perception of the commission in the region.

“We are presenting a new NDDC that is dedicated to implementing several interventions aimed at enhancing and transforming the lives of the Niger Delta people.

“The completion and inauguration of previously abandoned legacy projects are a demonstration of our determination to build on the successes of past NDDC boards and correct their mistakes.

“However, for us to realise our objective of transforming the Niger Delta, we require the support of all stakeholders, including the IOCs,” Ogbuku said.

He also said that the NDDC board had adopted a triple ‘T’ (Transiting from Transaction to Transformation) strategy to actualise its regional mandate.

“We are very committed to ensuring that this time, NDDC truly makes a difference for the betterment of our people.

“The recent inauguration of five mega projects in Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Edo and Ondo States is a testimony of the new passion with which the commission is delivering on its mandate,” he further said.

Leading the media executives through a virtual tour of NDDC projects, Antai, said that the commission had constructed and rehabilitated 5,141.3 kilometres of roads across the region.

According to him, the commission has also built 42 bridges, 87 jetties and numerous hydraulic structures across the nine NDDC states.

“NDDC has also installed 3,806.15 kilometres of distribution lines and 527 transformers; deployed 56,786 solar streetlights and constructed and rehabilitated 678 water schemes in communities in the region.

“The commission has reclaimed 427.16 hectares of land for development; awarded 2,323 foreign postgraduate scholarships and constructed and rehabilitated 924 schools and 1,571 hostel rooms.

“On healthcare, NDDC has built 142 health centres and hospitals, equipped six with modern facilities; while in Agriculture we built a rice mill in Elele, Rivers, among others,” Antai said.

Hea expressed the commission’s intention to undertake big-ticket projects in the region.

He said that funding constraints had hindered the commission from embarking on bigger projects.

“Some of the roads include the Borokiri-Okirika Road and three bridge projects that would connect Port Harcourt and Okirika Local Government Area in Rivers State,” Antai said.

He listed other projects to include the Ka-Ataba Bridge in Rivers, Akwa Ibom-Aba link road, Bayelsa Airport Road, linking East West Road, as well as shoreline protection in Sangana, Brass area of Bayelsa, among others.

He said that the commission was currently in talks with Julius Berger Plc to take over some of the road projects from another contractor.

He said that the commission embarked on a light up Niger Delta region and mangrove recovery programmes as part of the initiatives to mitigate the debilitating impact of climate change on the area.

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Dangote to venture into steel production

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Last Updated on June 14, 2024 by Fellow Press

Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote has mooted plans to delve into steel production in the near future stating that he wants to ensure that every steel used in West Africa comes from Nigeria.

The industrial mogul stated this during an interview at the ongoing Afreximbank Afro-Caribbean Trade & Investment Forum in Nassau, The Bahamas.

When asked if he is taking a break after the refinery, he noted that the next venture after the refinery project would be in Steel manufacturing and ensure that all Steel products used in West Africa comes from Nigeria.

He also encouraged African leaders to take agriculture and solid mineral development seriously lamenting the fact that food imports cost the continent dearly by increasing unemployment and poverty.

He said, “What we need to do that is missing is actually to concentrate and pay more attention to agriculture and solid minerals.
I don’t like people coming to take our solid minerals to process and bring the finished product.
We should try and industrialise our continent and take it to the next level.”

“I told somebody we are not going to take any break. What we are trying to do is to make sure at least in West Africa, we want to make sure that every single steel that we use will come from Nigeria”

Nigeria has tried unsuccessfully to become a leader in the steel manufacturing industry with a handful of failed projects like the Ajaokuta steel plant, Delta Steel Company, Osogbo and Jos rolling mills even under government and private ownership.

Like the oil refineries, the federal government under different administrations has spent billions trying to put the local steel plants to work but has been unsuccessful.
The administration of President Bola Tinubu had promised during the campaigns to ensure steel production starts in the multi-billion-dollar Ajaokuta steel complex.

The federal government in the 2024 appropriation act budgeted around N4.45 billion for the plant but hopes to raise around N35 billion from private investors to bring the plant to life for the first time in its history.

However, the Minister of Steel Development, Shuaibu Audu has also stated that reviving the plant could cost around $2 billion to $5 billion.

According to the National Steel Raw Materials Exploration Agency (NSRMEA), total steel consumption in the country averages around 10 million metric tonnes of which 70% is imported.
The current Minister of Steel Development had earlier stated that Nigeria spends around $4 billion on steel imports annually despite having around 74 steel plants and fabricators across the country.

Nigeria is home to significant iron-ore deposit- a critical raw material in steel production found in Kogi state.

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CBN speaks on plan to revoke licences of more banks

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Last Updated on June 4, 2024 by Fellow Press

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it has no plans to revoke the licences of Unity, Polaris, and Keystone banks.

Online reports had claimed the apex bank would terminate the licences of the three banks, following the revocation of Heritage Bank’s licence.

However, in a post on its social media pages on Tuesday, the bank said the content was not authentic.

“The content is fake and not from the CBN,” the post reads

On June 4, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) revoked the banking licence of Heritage Bank.

According to the CBN, the decision was made due to the bank’s inability to improve its financial performance.

“The Board and Management of the bank have not been able to improve the bank’s financial performance, a situation which constitutes a threat to financial stability,” the bank said.

However, the apex said Heritage Bank had not improved and “has no reasonable prospects of recovery”, thereby making revoking the licence the next necessary step.

The bank said the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) is as a result of this appointed as the liquidator of the bank per Section 12 (3) of the Banks and Other Financial Act (BOFIA) 2020.

The revocation, according to the apex bank, reflects its continued dedication to take all necessary steps to ensure the safety and soundness of Nigeria’s financial system.

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