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RSG Releases N78bn For Completion Of Projects, Award Of New Ones

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The Rivers State Executive Council (SEC) has considered and approved the release of N78billion for the completion of various ongoing projects across sectors and flag-off of new ones.
The approval was given at its meeting presided over by Governor Nyesom Wike at Government House in Port Harcourt, last Wednesday.
Briefing journalists after the meeting, Commissioner for Finance, Budget and Economic planning, Dr Isaac Kamalu, said the approval was made to ensure that ongoing projects were not left uncompleted by the contractors for lack of funds.
“The Rivers State Government has released the sum of N78billion for payment of ongoing projects and flag off of new projects across all the local government areas in the state.
“Again, the government has specifically released the sum of N1.8billion, representing 80percent of the capital provisions for the Judiciary in the 2022 budget for the services of the Rivers State Judiciary.”
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Princewill Chike, said the ministry was not left out among ministries to benefit from the release of the funds.
According to him,the contractor handling the Dr. Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease Diagnostics and Treatment Centre, has been fully paid.
“You remember in June last year, (2021) N26billion was earmarked for that contract. It’s been completed, well furnished with the most modern medical equipment for the attack of different types of cancers.
“And the other thing that the health sector benefitted is the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital where we have Basic Clinical Faculty and the Clinical Faculty as well as the Renal and Dialysis Centre and the House Officers Quarters, which have also been completed and will be commissioned.”
Chike also said there were other ongoing projects being funded by the state government, including the Kelsey Harrison Hospital, which was at an advance stage as well as the Dental and Maxillofacial Hospital in Port Harcourt, all of which were also at advance stages of completion.
On his part, the Commissioner for Special Projects, Deinma Iyalla, said the ministry had its memo presented to the council approved, and also ratified the sale of the remodelled Riv-Bank Insurance building.
“Currently, the building is known as Senator John Azuta-Mbata House. Access Bank offered to buy the building for the sun of N3.8billion. It cost us N2.8billion to remodel it.
“The essence of the sale of this building, Access Bank promised that they are going to use it as their regional office, which means they will create employment and impact positively on economic activities within Port Harcourt.”
Iyalla also listed other projects to benefit from the released fund to include, the sand-filling and reclamation of 20hectres of land in Ogu town.
According to him, the fund would also serve for the completion of the University of Port Harcourt Convocation Arena, Ataba Secondary School reconstruction and furnishing, Rivers State University Staff Quarters buildings at Ahoada, Etche, Emohua and the main campus.
Other projects for completion are the 13.8km Rumuodogo 1 and 2 Roads, Woji-Aleto-Alesa-Refinery Road, Hostel A and B, and the auditorium at YanagoaCampus of the Nigerian Law School, Justice Mary Odili Judicial Institute, Federal Judicial Service Commission liaison office building, South-South in Port Harcourt.
The Commissioner of Education, Prof. ChineduMmom, also addressed journalists, saying that projects under his ministry wouldfurther benefit the people.
The projects, he said, included the Government Secondary School, Eneka; Government Secondary School, Emohua; and the Government Secondary School, Imago in Abua/Odual Local Government.
Other projects include the reconstruction and remodelling of the Kalabari High School, Buguma;Kalabari National College (KNC),Buguma; the external works and furnishing of Western Ahoada High School; Government Secondary School, Ogu that is 90percent complete; and the Community Secondary School, Okoronudo that was 60percent complete.
On his part, the Commissioner for Works, Dr.DakorinamaAlaboGeorge-Kelly, said the council awarded new contracts and approved payment for on-going projects.
“The projects spread across local government areas and senatorial districts of the state. Some of which were approved today by council and some were ratified.”
He said the council approved the contract for the construction of 8.168km Abua-Emoh-Iyak-Ighom; Emoh/Egbolom access road and the 9.2m km Ekagho-Ogboloma-Adada link road in Abua/Odual Local Government Area.
George-Kelly explained that some other new road projects include the Alode-Onne road and Agbonchia-Ogale-Ebebu-East/West road, Alode internal roads in Eleme council; Eneka roundabout-Igbo-Etche link road in Obio-Akpor/Etche councils; Akpabu-Egbeda-Elele-Omoku link road; Akpabu-Odidi link road; Nkpor-Mgbuodohia link road; Elele internal roads; Elekahia internal roads, among others.
The commissioners of works, who reinstated the resolve of the Wike’s administration not to abandon any project it started, further disclosed that the council has approved payment for the on-going Ahoada-Omokudualization project; Omoku-Aligwu-Kirigeni road, Omoku-Egbema road, Okochiri internal roads, Ogoni-Andoni Unity road, Chokocho-Igbodo road, flyover 11 and 12, dualisation of Bori-Kono road and several others.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Chris Finebone, said Wike had approved the appointment of 7,000 Justices of Peace to help ensure the prevalence of peace, law and order within their jurisdiction.
“I am pleased to inform you that the state governor has just approved the appointment of 7,000 Justices of Peace. It has been an all-round approach to development for which our people will be eternally grateful to our hard working governor.”

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Tinubu Lauds Dangote’s Diesel Price Cut, Foresees Economic Relief

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President Bola Tinubu, yesterday, applauded Dangote Oil and Gas Limited for reducing the price of Automotive Gas Oil, also known as diesel, from N1,650 to N1,000 per litre.
The Dangote Group recently reviewed downwards the gantry price of AGO from N1,650 to N1,000 per litre for a minimum of one million litres of the product, as well as providing a discount of N30 per litre for an offtake of five million litres and above
Tinubu described the move as an “enterprising feat” and said, “The price review represents a 60 per cent drop, which will, in no small measure, impact the prices of sundry goods and services.”
In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, Tinubu affirmed that Nigerians and domestic businesses are the nation’s surest transport and security to economic prosperity.
The statement is titled ‘President Tinubu commends Dangote Group over new gantry price of diesel.’
Tinubu also noted the Federal Government’s 20 per cent stake in Dangote Refinery, saying such partnerships between public and private entities are essential to advancing the country’s overall well-being.
Therefore, he called on Nigerians and businesses to, at this time, put the nation in priority gear while assuring them of a conducive, safe, and secure environment to thrive.
This statement comes precisely a week after Dangote met President Tinubu in Lagos, where he said Nigerians should expect a drop in inflation given the cut in diesel pump prices.
“In our refinery, we have started selling diesel at about ¦ 1,200 for ¦ 1,650 and I’m sure as we go along…this can help to bring inflation down immediately,” Dangote told journalists after he paid homage to President Bola Tinubu at the latter’s residence to mark Eid-el-Fitr.
The businessman said his petroleum refinery had been selling diesel at N1,200 per litre, compared to the previous price of N1,650–N1,700.
He expressed hopes that Nigeria’s economy will improve, as the naira has made some gains in the foreign exchange market, dropping from N1,900/$ to the current level of N1,250 – N1,300.
Dangote said this rise in value has sparked a gradual drop in the price of locally-produced goods, such as flour, as businesses are paying less for diesel. Therefore, he asserted that the reduced fuel costs would drive down inflation in the coming months.
“I believe that we are on the right track. I believe Nigerians have been patient and I also believe that a lot of goodies will now come through.
“There’s quite a lot of improvement because, if you look at it, one of the major issues that we’ve had was the naira devaluation that has gone very aggressively up to about ¦ 1,900.
“But right now, we’re back to almost ¦ 1,250, ¦ 1,300, which is a good reprieve. Quite a lot of commodities went up.
“When you go to the market, for example, something that we produce locally, like flour, people will charge you more. Why? Because they’re paying very high prices on diesel,” he explained.
He argued that the reduced diesel price would have “a lot of impact” on local businesses.
“Going forward, even though the crude prices are going up, I believe people will not get it much higher than what it is today, N1,200.
“It might be even a little bit lower, but that can help quite a lot because if you are transporting locally-produced goods and you were paying N1,650, now you are spending two-thirds of that amount, N1,200. It’s a lot of difference. People don’t know.
“This can help bring inflation down immediately. And I’m sure when the inflation figures are out for the next month, you’ll see that there’s quite a lot of improvement in the inflation rate, one step at a time. And I’m sure the government is working around the clock to ensure things get much better,” Dangote added.
He also urged captains of industry to partner with the government to improve the lives of citizens.
“You can’t clap with one hand,” said the businessman, adding, “So, both the entrepreneurs and the government need to clap together and make sure that it is in the best interest of everybody.”

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Court Halts Amaewhule-Led Assembly From Extending LG Officials’ Tenure

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The Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has issued an interim injunction directing the maintenance of status quo ante belum following the move by the Martin Amaewhule-led Assembly in Rivers State to extend the tenure of the elected local government councils’ officials.
The Amaewhule-led Assembly, which is loyal to the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, had amended the Local Government Law Number 5 of 2018 and other related matters.
Amaewhule, explained that the amendments of Section 9(2), (3) and (4)of the Principal Law was to empower the House of Assembly via a resolution to extend the tenure of elected chairmen and councilors, where it is considered impracticable to hold local government elections before the expiration of their three years in office.
But the court asked all the parties to maintain the status quo ante belum pending the hearing and determination of motion on notice for the interlocutory injunction.
The court presided over by G.N. Okonkwo also ordered that the claimant/applicant would enter into an undertaking to indemnify the defendants in the sum of N5million should the substantive case turned out to be frivolous.
The court fixed April 22, 2024 to hear the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.
Okonkwo also issued an order of substituted service of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction, originating summons and other subsequent processes on the defendants.
The orders were made following a suit filed by Executive Chairman, Opobo-Nkoro, Enyiada Cooky-Gam; Bonny, Anengi Claude-Wilcox; and five other elected council officials challenging the decision of the Amaewhule-led House of Assembly to extend the tenure of local government areas.
Also named as defendants in the suit are the Governor of Rivers State, the Government of Rivers State and the Attorney-General of Rivers State.
The claimants/applicants are praying the court for a declaration that under section 9(1) of the Rivers State Local Government Amendment Law number 5 of 2018 the tenure of office of the chairmen and members of the 23 local government councils of Rivers State is three years
A declaration that the tenure of office of the elected chairmen and members of the local government areas would expire on the 17th of June 2024 having commenced on the 18th of June 2021 when they were sworn in.
A declaration that the defendants cannot in any manner or form extend the tenure of office of the chairmen and members of the local government areas after the expiration of their tenure.
An order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants from extending the tenure of office of the chairmen and members of the local government areas.
An order of perpetual injunction restraining the 28th, 29th and 30th defendants (the Governor, the Government House and the Attorney-General) from giving effects to any purported extension of the tenure of the chairmen and members of the local government areas.
They also prayed for an order of interlocutory injunction directing all the defendants to maintain the status quo by not elongating the three-year tenure of the chairmen and councilors.
The claimants further sought an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the defendants from extending the tenures of the chairmen and the councilors.

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Nigeria’s Inflation Rate’ll Drop To 23% By 2025 -IMF

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In a recent release of its Global Economic Outlook at the International Monetary Fund/World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington D.C., on Tuesday, the IMF provided projections for Nigeria’s economy, indicating a significant shift in inflation rates.
Division Chief of the IMF Research Department, Daniel Leigh, highlighted the impact of Nigeria’s economic reforms, including exchange rate adjustments, which have led to a surge in inflation rate to 33.2 percent in March.
Nigeria’s inflation rate rose to 33.2 percent according to recent data released by the National Bureau of Statistics.
Also, the food inflation rate increased to over 40 per cent in the first quarter of 2024.
Leigh stated, “We see inflation declining to 23 per cent next year and then 18 percent in 2026.”
This is however different from the fund’s prediction of a new single-digit (15.5 per cent ) inflation rate for 2025 which it predicted last year.
He further elaborated on Nigeria’s economic growth, which is expected to rise from 2.9 percent last year to 3.3 percent this year, attributing this expansion to the recovery in the oil sector, improved security, and advancements in agriculture due to better weather conditions and the introduction of dry season farming.
The IMF official also noted a broad-based increase in Nigeria’s financial and IT sectors.
“Inflation has increased, reflecting the reforms, the exchange rate, and its pass-through into other goods from imports to other goods,” Leigh explained.
He added that the IMF revised its inflation projection for the current year to 26 percent but emphasised that tight monetary policies and significant interest rate increases during February and March are expected to curb inflation.
An official of the IMF Research Department, Pierre Olivier Gourinchas commented on the global economic landscape, mentioning that oil prices have risen partly due to geopolitical tensions, and services inflation remains high in many countries.
Despite Nigeria’s inflation target of six to nine percent being missed for over a decade, Gourinchas stressed that bringing inflation back to target should be the priority.
He warned of the risks posed by geo-economic fragmentation to global growth prospects and the need for careful calibration of monetary policy.
“Trade linkages are changing, and while some economies could benefit from the reconfiguration of global supply chains, the overall impact may be a loss of efficiency, reducing global economic resilience,” Gourinchas said.
He also emphasised the importance of preserving the improvements in monetary, fiscal, and financial policy frameworks, particularly for emerging market economies, to maintain a resilient global financial system and prevent a permanent resurgence in inflation.

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