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We’ve Made TCN Financially Viable To Provide More Electricity, President Buhari Assures Investors

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… says TCN can now invest in its own infrastructure

President Muhammadu Buhari has assured investors that his government is doing what is necessary to make Nigeria a viable investment destination for them.

Buhari said one of the ways his government has done this, is by making the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) financially viable to provide more electricity for the country and investors.

The president, who was represented by Ibrahim Gambari, his chief of staff, said Nigeria needs N298.3 trillion from private sector players to achieve the objectives set out in the National development plan.

“As you may be aware, Nigeria’s National Development Plan (2021 – 2025) was formulated against the backdrop of several subsisting development challenges in the country and the need to tackle them within the framework of medium and long-term plans,” he said.

“This all-encompassing plan aims to generate 21 million full-time jobs and lift 35 million people out of poverty by 2025, thus setting the stage for achieving the government’s commitment of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.

“To attain the objectives of the National Development Plan (2021 – 2025), we estimate that we would require an investment commitment of about N348 trillion.

“Government capital expenditure during the period will be N49.7 trillion (14.3 percent) while the balance of N298.3 trillion (85.7 percent) is expected from the Private Sector. Of the 14.3 percent government contribution, FGN capital expenditure will be N29.6 trillion (8.5 percent) while the Sub-National Governments’ capital expenditure is estimated to be about N20.1 trillion (5.8 percent).

“The successful implementation of this Plan will, therefore, be heavily dependent on strong partnerships between the private and public sector, both within and with Development Partners outside Nigeria.”

Speaking about the challenge of electricity, Buhari said the Presidential Power Initiative will provide electricity for 40 million people in the country.

“The first phase of the Presidential Power Initiative will provide over 40 million people with more reliable electricity supply, and create 11,000 direct and indirect jobs for Nigerians,” he added.

“This will be from power system engineers to electricians and contractors, and this will in turn improve the standard of living while providing homes and businesses with constant, reliable, and affordable electricity supply.

“You may also wish to note that at the commencement of this Administration, N200 billion was paid for stranded power to service existing liabilities. Contract terms in Power Purchase Agreements were changed from “Take or Pay” to “Take and Pay.”

“Similarly, the Distribution Companies were made to use banks for bill collections, prior to this, Transmission Company of Nigeria was getting only 50% of proceeds. Now, TCN is financially viable and can invest in its own infrastructure.”

Buhari said his administration also provided sovereign guarantees for vital infrastructure projects in the country.

The president added that “the Federal Government of Nigeria has always recognized security as another critical element in the flow of investment and overall economic and infrastructural development anywhere,” committing to solve Nigeria’s security challenges.

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JUST IN: 31-Yr-Old Belgium Star, Eden Hazard Quits International Football

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Belgium star Eden Hazard announced his retirement from international football on Wednesday, days after the team crashed out of the World Cup in the group stage.

The Real Madrid forward, 31, made the announcement on social media, saying “a page turns today”.

“Thank you for your unparalleled support,” he posted on Instagram.

“Thank you for all this happiness shared since 2008. I have decided to put an end to my international career.

“The succession is ready. I will miss you.”

Hazard was the standard-bearer of Belgium’s much-vaunted “golden generation”, which reached the semi-finals at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The ageing team failed to make it past the first round in Qatar, finishing third in Group F behind Morocco and Croatia.

 

Credit: AFP

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Post-COVID Protest: China Loosens Strict Restrictions 2-Yrs After Pandemic

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China announced Wednesday a nationwide loosening of Covid restrictions following protests against the hardline strategy that grew into calls for greater political freedoms.

Anger over China’s zero-Covid policy, which involved mass lockdowns, constant testing and quarantines even for people who are not infected, stoked unrest not seen since the 1989 pro-democracy protests.

Under the new guidelines announced by the National Health Commission, the frequency and scope of PCR testing — long a tedious mainstay of life in zero-Covid China — will be reduced.

Lockdowns will also be scaled down and people with non-severe Covid cases can isolate at home instead of centralised government facilities.

And people will no longer be required to show a green health code on their phone to enter public buildings and spaces, except for “nursing homes, medical institutions, kindergartens, middle and high schools.”

The new rules scrap the forced quarantines for people with no symptoms or with mild cases.

“Asymptomatic infected persons and mild cases who are eligible for home isolation are generally isolated at home, or they can voluntarily choose centralised isolation for treatment,” the new rules read.

“Mass PCR testing only carried out in schools, hospitals, nursing homes and high-risk work units; scope and frequency of PCR testing to be further reduced,” they added.

“People travelling across provinces do not need to provide a 48h test result and do not need to test upon arrival.”

China will also accelerate the vaccination of the elderly, the NHC said, long seen as a major obstacle to the relaxation of Beijing’s no-tolerance approach to Covid.

Rare demonstrations against the ruling Communist Party’s zero-Covid strategy broke out across China late last month.

They expanded into calls for more political freedoms, with some even calling for President Xi Jinping to resign.

Authorities cracked down on subsequent efforts to protest while easing a number of restrictions, with some Chinese cities tentatively rolling back mass testing and curbs on movement.

The capital Beijing, where many businesses have fully reopened, said this week that commuters were no longer required to show a negative virus test taken within 48 hours to use public transport.

Financial hub Shanghai, which underwent a brutal two-month lockdown this year, announced the same rules, with residents able to enter outdoor venues such as parks and tourist attractions without a recent test.

And once dominated by doom and gloom coverage of the dangers of the virus and scenes of pandemic chaos abroad, China’s tightly controlled media dramatically shifted tone to support a tentative moving away from zero-Covid.

The prevalent Omicron strain is “not at all like last year’s Delta variant,” Guangzhou-based medicine professor Chong Yutian said in an article published by the Communist Party-run China Youth Daily.

“After infection with the Omicron variant, the vast majority will have no or light symptoms, and very few will go on to have severe symptoms, this is already widely known,” he assured readers.

But analysts at Japanese firm Nomura on Monday calculated that 53 cities — home to nearly a third of China’s population — still had some restrictions in place.

Wednesday’s announcement came hours after the government released further data showing the crippling economic impacts of zero-Covid.

Imports and exports plunged in November to levels not seen since early 2020.

Imports in November fell 10.6 percent year-on-year, the biggest drop since May 2020, according to the General Administration of Customs. Exports fell 8.7 percent over the same period.

 

Credit: AFP

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19-Yr-Old Endurance Arrested After Defrauding A British Lady Of £450K And Using The Money To Buy Cars, Gold Chains, Others

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A 19-year-old  man, Iredia Endurance has been arrested by the operatives of Benin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for alleged fraud.

According to a statement released by Wilson Uwujaren, spokesperson of the anti-graft agencym says Endurance was recently arrested by the Commission following a petition by one Chrstine Brown, a British citizen, alleging that the suspect defrauded her of £450,000.00.

“Upon arrest, the suspect confessed he received £250,000.00 from the complainant in Bitcoin, FedEx and gift cards. On what he did with the money, the suspect averred that they were expanded on cars, gold chains, and landed properties, among others.

Some of the items recovered from the suspect include mobile  phones, laptops, sim cards and landed property.” He added that the suspect will be charged to court as soon as investigations are concluded.

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