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Stakeholders Okay Kaduna Investment Drive

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The Nigerian Sovereign
Investment Authority (NSIA) and International Finance Corporation (IFC) have said that they would partner with Kaduna State Government in agriculture and power for sustainable development.
They made the commitment in separate remarks at the just concluded Kaduna Economic and Investment Summit, in Kaduna.
According to them, the state with an estimated population of about 10 million people, has huge investment potentials in agriculture and power.
“In agriculture, we will partner in agricultural financing, infrastructure and land rehabilitation, while in power we will be looking at waste management for electricity generation,” NSIA Chief Executive Officer, Uche Orji, said.
He said that the state could access the NSIA’s 40 per cent funding for investment in local infrastructure.
Similarly,  IFC Country Manager, Eme Essien, said that the corporation would also partner with the state in the two sectors.
“We are particularly interested in sola energy as a critical infrastructure for businesses.
“We want to also see where Kaduna state has competitiveness in agriculture and mining and then invest, “ Essien said.
Also, the Senior Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari, on Social Investment, Maryam Uwais said the Federal Government would equally partner with the state to improve the well being of the people.
Uwais disclosed that federal government would shoulder part of the responsibility of offering free meal to primary pupils.
She announced that the government would soon role out the Cash Transfer Scheme for the most vulnerable persons in the country.
Meanwhile, key stakeholders in economic development have also pledged their support towards making the state an investment destination.
In their separate remarks, the stakeholders commended El-Rufai for organizing the summit that brought investors from all over the globe to appraise the various investment opportunities in the state.
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Paul Arkwright said a clear implementation of the state’s five-year development plan would deliver inclusive growth and serve as development model for other states.
He said the British government currently has 21 programmes in the state, and pledged to support the state’s socio-economic development initiative.
The United States Deputy Economic Counsellor, Joel Kopp, said the USAID has spent 600 million dollars on various programmes in Nigeria.
He described Kaduna state as one of the state’s in the country that make concerted effort to address its economic challenges through a vision to move the state to greater heights by attracting investors.
“We will continue to partner and support Kaduna state in its goal of making the state an investment destination in the country,” Kopp said.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), Alhaji Bukar Kyari, said good governance was fundamental in transforming the well-being of the people.
He commended the state government for having a clear vision and itemising priorities to achieve positive change and better the lots of people.
Kyari pledged NESG’s support in achieving the set goals.
Similarly, World Bank Country Representative, Rachid Benmassaoud, described the summit as inspiring, adding that the bank would partner with state to make its vision attainable.
Head of European Union’s Trade and Economic, Fillippo Amato said that to attract investment, the state must invest hugely in the development of infrastructure and security.

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Traders Protest FG’s Move To Restore Festac Town

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The move by the Federal Government to restore Festac Town in Lagos to its original status has sparked up protest among traders occupying Agboju Amuwo Planks and Building Materials Market.
The traders on Wednesday, protested at the FHA office in Festac Town against the demolition of their market, following the demolition of illegal structures by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) ahead of the restoration. 
The Tide recalls that there was a petition to the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, in 2020 about illegal structures that had taken over Festac Town.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting on the restoration of Festac town organised by FHA, last year, its South-West Zonal Manager, Mr Akintola Olagbemiro, said, “This year, we commenced the restoration of Festac town, following the consent judgement from the court against illegal occupants of Festac land.
“Our action is to save the residents from the insecurity that has taken over the entire Festac town as a result of illegal structures everywhere”.
The chairman of allottees of First Gate to Third Gate, Mr Kole Olatunji, in his remarks at the meeting said the land from First Gate to Third Gate was allocated between 1985 and 1999, noting that with the consent judgment, original owners of the land as allocated should take over their plots.
But the chairman of plank market, Muhammed Bello, protested the seven-day notice given to traders to vacate the place without alternative arrangements.  
Bello said: “How do they expect us to remove our wares in seven days?
“What we want is that they should allow us to remain there and we will pay whatever amount they ask us to pay”.
Speaking in the same vein, the chairman of Cane Chair and Furniture Association, Emmanuel Okoye said: “We need freedom. Let them tell us where they want us to stay. That place was swampy. We filled the place with several millions of Naira which we got as loans.
“We also rely on loans to do our business. Whatever the government wants us to pay; we are ready to pay to remain there. We have been there for 27 years. What we lost to the demolition is over N300 million”.

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Fuel Tanker Explosion Kills Five, Injures Two In Ogun

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No fewer than five persons were on Wednesday burnt to death, while two others sustained first degree of injury in a fuel tanker explosion at Ajilete, along Owode-Idiroko road, in Yewa South local government area of Ogun State.
Eyewitness accounts revealed that a truck bearing 33,000 litres of petroleum product was descending the steep portion of the road when its tank suddenly detached from truck’s body and tumbled to the ground with a bang.
The explosion, the witnesses said, killed five persons on the spot, while two other persons were injured.
The Tide learnt that the seven victims were all residents of the area where the accident occurred.
Confirming the incident, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Commander, Idiroko Unit, Akinwunmi Olaluwoye, said five deaths were recorded in the accident which occurred at about 8.15 am on Wednesday. 
According to him, the remains of the dead had been claimed by their families.
He disclosed that a bus and a motorcycle were also caught in a web of the explosion and razed.
He said, “no vehicle rammed into the tanker. The tank dropped off from the back of the tanker and exploded. The number of persons involved are seven; five dead, two injured.
“The driver had taken away the head of the truck as at the time we got there. But we have allowed the police to take charge and handle that aspect”.

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Travellers To Access $4,000  As CBN Boosts Forex Supplies

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Nigerians travelling abroad can now access a maximum amount of $4,000 foreign exchange from banks following the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) announcement to increase forex supplies.
The CBN had said in a recent statement that it had concluded plans to increase the amount of foreign exchange allocated to banks to meet legitimate needs.
This followed the warning by the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, to Deposit Money Banks to desist from denying customers the opportunity to purchase foreign exchange.
The purposes to access forex included Personal Travel Allowance, Basic Travel Allowance, tuition fees, and medical payments as well as Small and Medium Enterprises transactions or for the repatriation of Foreign Direct Investment proceeds, the CBN had stated.
Sources from some of the banks said those travelling on business trips could also access a maximum amount of $5,000 for each trip.
At a virtual Bankers’ Committee meeting last week, the bankers discussed how the CBN intended to assist with forex to ensure availability for the upcoming summer period and the return of students to school in September.
The CBN also said the BDCs would continue to have their weekly allocations.
The committee observed that the rates were going up.
It stated, “The CBN has said that all the banks must make availability at all times and anyone who wants to buy BTA, PTA, medical fees, student school fees and all the eligible invisible purchases to ensure that Nigerians are not forced to go and queue in the parallel market.
“So what the Central Bank is doing is to encourage all banks to make sure that there is available forex at all times, and that his information should be communicated on all our platforms.
“We are asking our customers to come to the branches and for BTA, for example, present the required documents, which are basically your international passport, your visa, your valid ticket and fill up the form in the bank.
“And what we have been instructed to do is ensure that we don’t turn anybody back and that we should request from the Central Bank once we exhaust the forex that we have.
“The idea is to have a hitch-free summer period and the resumption for children to go back to school. The idea is to ensure there is less pressure on the forex and then the rates will come down”.
Speaking during the virtual meeting, the Group Managing Director, Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, said, “I think again as part of the Central Bank’s role in terms of price stability and the need to support small and medium enterprises, there was highlight of the need for banks to go and support SMEs who import small raw materials for them to set up their businesses”.
The Managing Director, Ecobank, Patrick Akinwuntan, said, “All banks are available to ensure forex need is met.”
Managing Director, Sterling Bank, Abubakar Suleiman, said the CBN had provided sufficient foreign exchange to meet the needs of all legitimate Nigerian travellers and therefore, the idea of going to any other market should not arise at all.

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