Restructuring: Financially Weaker States Should Be Helped, Says Amaechi

 

The Minister for Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, says any restructuring plan for Nigeria must include provisions to help financially weaker states to survive and perform basic responsibilities.

According to him, that way, possible fears about the survival abilities of states will be eliminated.

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“For me, I prefer to copy the kind of restructuring we saw in Germany, which provides the basic line,” the minister who was a guest on Channels Television’s Newsnight said.

“If no state can raise up to N5million per month to pay their salaries, then all of us including the Federal Government will contribute money for that state.

“Which means, you can devolve power and revenue but if no state can raise that kind of money to sustain itself then both the Federal Government and all other states must come together to put money to enable that state to survive.

How ‘Intermodern’ Transportation Could Improve Nigeria’s Economy – Amaechi

 

The Minister for Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, says that the best form of transportation is the inter-modern transportation where the sea, rail and road are effectively maximized.

Ameachi who was a guest on Channels TV’s Newsnight on Monday, explained that when all the forms of transportation begin to operate effectively, it could lead to accelerated economic growth and stability.

Speaking about the current projects, the minister noted that the “Abuja-Kano road is under construction and clearly coming to an end. The Port Harcourt – Enugu road is also under construction”.

“There are four major railway lines that we are building. There’s the Lagos-Kano which is about 8.7 billion dollars and its about 1,300 kilometers.

“There is Lagos-Calabar, which is about 1,400 kms and there is the PortHarcourt – Maiduguri which is about 2,000 kilometers. Then there are the central lines which come from Abuja, through Baru to Itakpe and then a seaport in Warri,” he added.

The minister, however, explained that the nation currently has no functioning seaports.

“The one from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri has a seaport in Bonny but the truth is, in Nigeria we don’t have seaports, we have riverports,” he stated.

But according to him, “the first seaport would be the Lekki one where construction has commenced, the second seaport would be the Warri one that we just awarded, and then the last seaport would be the Bonny one which we hope to award before we leave government”.

Speaking further, he explained how the railways, when completed, could help in moving the economy forward.

“Railways are not built for passengers, they are built for cargos. They grow the economy.

“Imagine the total number of goods that are stored up.. we‘ve yanked off the narrow gauge between Lagos and Iju to enable us conclude the standard guage and lay a new narrow guage. Before, we used to move some goods.. between 200-300 tonnes through the narrow guage. But now, that has been stalled because we want to conclude the standard guage.

“What that would do, is to enable us clear the Apapa gridlock because we are taking the rail into the seaport. So, as soon as you come, you drop your cargo unto the rail. If nothing else, it takes you up to Ibadan.

“We are working towards commencing the Ibadan – Kano rail line. By the time we finish that, you’d be moving about 30 million tonnes of cargo.
“So you’ll move the economy and it’s no longer stagnant in Lagos”.

When asked if Nigeria would be able to pay back its loans used for the funding of rail projects, the minister said “it depends on if the government is a very reckless government.

“But Nigeria is known to pay its debts,” he added.

“What we’ve done in the railway industry is to open an exco account because that’s what the Chinese want.

“So, any surplus you get from the Lagos-Ibadan project, we put into the exco account. So, with that, we can generate resources to start paying back.

“But generally, railways don’t fund themselves. The second thing is, generally, seaports can pay itself.

“When we got to the MPA, we were generating over N100 billion, now they are generating between N295 to N300 billion.

“So, I have no fear that we can’t pay back. Infact, the seaport is not even a loan. All our seaports are investments”.

5,000 Megawatts Not Enough For 170million People – Fashola

Power generationWorks, Power and Housing Minister, Babatunde Fashola has acknowledged difficulty in handling the power situation in Nigeria and hinged the challenges on low power generation.

The Minister spoke during the first in the series of the Federal Government town hall meetings held on Monday in Lagos State, Nigeria’s commercial city.

During his presentation, Mr Fashola told the gathering that the 5,000 megawatts of electricity currently being generated was inadequate to address the nation’s power problems.

“I acknowledge that we are in a result-driven business and perhaps today results are measured by ‘in my ministry, how many roads have been finished? How much power do you have, how much housing can you get?’

“Those results are not yet delivered but I assure you they will be delivered.

“Some results are becoming evident to us in government and they may seem intangible to those outside government and I understand that. They are results of clearly understanding why we are where we are.

“Should we continue to do what was done in the past if it hasn’t solved the problem?

“ECN, the precursor to NEPA and PHCN was inaugurated by ordinance in 1950; that’s 66 years. So why hasn’t the problem been solved in 66 years? Why did we inherit it?

“So I am looking at some of the things that have been done well and some that could have been done better but I will summarise the power issue simply in one word.

“There is not enough power. 5,000 megawatts for 170million people is just not enough. The solution is delivering more power on an incremental and sustained basis,” Mr Fashola said.

The town hall meeting is expected to hold in six geo-political zones and two other cities, Abuja and Kano.

It is an interaction between the government and persons from different sectors of the economy.

The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah and Minister for Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi were also in attendance.

First Edition Of FGs’ Town Hall Meetings Holds In Lagos

FG Town Hall MeetingThe first in the series of the Federal Government town hall meetings held On Monday in Lagos State, Nigeria’s commercial city.

The meeting is expected to hold in six geo-political zones and two other cities, Abuja and Kano.

It is an interaction between the government and persons from different sectors of the economy.

At the Lagos meeting, President Muhammadu Buhari’s ministers talked to artisans, traditional rulers, students and a cross section of the public

Those in attendance are the Information Minister, Mr Lai Mohammed, that of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah and Minister for Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi.

During his presentation, Mr Fashola told the gathering that the 5,000 megawatts of electricity currently being generated was inadequate to address the nation’s power problems.

The Power Minister, however, believes that the problems could be surmounted.

On his part, the Minister of industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Enelamah, said that the follow up on the China trip embarked on by the President would be very intense and that the President had given his cabinet the mandate to deliver.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Kachikwu, said the Buhari-led government had reduced a lot of excesses within the oil and gas sector and close to ending the era of subsidy payments while making sure the refineries would commence production shortly.

The Minister, however, appealed to Nigerians to be patient and hopeful, as he believes a lot is being done.