The Federal Government’s National Gas Expansion Programme will lift over 100 million Nigerians out of poverty. This was disclosed on Monday by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva.
“This is a practical demonstration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by using gas value chain as a catalyst for social and economic development in Nigeria”, Sylva Said.
Sylva, while speaking in Ado Ekiti during the inauguration of the NGEP in Southwest Nigeria said, this is geared towards making gas an alternative source of energy for industrial, transportation, and domestic use.
The minister said, “The programme has its main objective to reinforce and expand gas supply as well as stimulate demand in Nigeria through effective and efficient mobilisation and utilisation of all available assets, resources and infrastructure in the country.
“The programme is driven towards the implementation of Mr. President June 12, 2019 promise to take hundred million Nigerians out of poverty within the current decade by ensuring that locally produced, available, accessible and affordable fuel is sufficiently supplied throughout the country”.
Sylva said Nigeria was richly endowed with mineral resources, specifically, hydrocarbons, crude oil, and natural gas with proven gas reserves of over 200 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, which he said had presented the country with an opportunity to use gas as a catalyst for a social economy renaissance.
Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, lauded Buhari’s dedication to implementing programmes directed at improving the lives of the people through job creation, social security schemes, stimulating the economy, and attending to security challenges in the nation.
Fayemi said that his administration would continue to key into life lifting programmes of the Buhari-led administration to improve the standard of living of the people of the State.
He said, “While we are in full support of the Federal Government in the implementation of NGEP in the state, our ultimate goal is to connect the state directly with gas supply via either Ajaokuta in Kogi State or Ore in Ondo State; the two points that offer our state the best opportunity for connection. We, therefore, plead with private sector players and the ministry to assist us in this venture.”
He said his administration recognized the various benefits embedded in the NGEP initiative ranging from reduction of importation of fuel to creation of employment opportunity for the youths and improvement of access to gas for transportation and domestics use at an affordable price in the State.
Airtel signs $500m loan with Bank of America, others
Airtel Africa has announced the signing of a new $500m loan facility with a group of relationship banks to partially refinance the group’s €750m Euro-denominated bond (c.$880m) due May 20, 2021.
In a statement signed on Wednesday, by its Group Company Secretary, Simon O’Hara, the banks that participated in the facility include, Bank of America, BNP Paribas, Citibank, HSBC, J.P. Morgan, Standard Chartered Bank, and two Indian relationship banks, Axis Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank.
O’Hara said the new committed facility consisted of a combination of a revolving credit facility and term loans with tenor of up to four years.
He stated that the balance of the Euro-denominated bond would be repaid with existing group cash to reduce gross debt and associated interest costs.
“The new loan facility further strengthens the core liquidity of the group,” the group said in the statement.
The telecommunication company also said it had prepayment flexibilities that would allow the group to optimize the efficiency of its capital structure with the free cash flows and cash receipts anticipated over the next 12 months, following the recent announcements related to tower sales and mobile money minority investments.
Uber, Bolt drivers lament poor pay, threaten strike Monday
Some Uber and Bolt drivers in Lagos on Saturday asked the e-hailing companies to immediately increase fares being charged by the operators.
The e-cab operators, under the aegis of Professional E-hailing Drivers and Private Owners Association, threatened to commence a strike on Monday if their demands were not met.
The National President of PEDPA, Mr Idris Shonuga, at a press conference in Lagos, called for the immediate upward review of e-cab fares to reflect the current economic situation in the country.
According to Shonuga, over 95 per cent of e-hailing transactions are consummated through Uber and Bolt platforms, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
He said that the companies had refused to review its pricing despite unprecedented increases in the prices of fuel, vehicle spare parts, food items and other essential commodities in the country.
Shonuga said, “In a quest to work harmoniously at resolving some issues, the association wrote several letters to the companies but they were not attended to, showing a nonchalant attitude towards our plight. Your companies have failed, refused and neglected to honour our request for a meeting to discuss issues beneficial to all e-hailing drivers in Nigeria.
“And to fashion a harmonious relationship that will benefit, dignify and improve the standard of living of e-hailing drivers, private car owners and the general standard of e-hailing business in the country.
“Instead of fixing a new and reasonable fare in line with inflation, the companies have recklessly continued to maintain the low fare, thereby, impoverishing hard working young Nigerians who are diligently and lawfully trying to make a decent living.
The e-cab operators also demanded adequate welfare packages for drivers and compensation to the families of those that lost their lives or permanently disabled in the line of duty. The association said that more than 15 drivers had lost their lives, while some had been permanently disabled in accidents while working.
“More than 20 others have also lost their lives to kidnapping or killed by ritualists without any compensation from the operators, ‘’the association said.
Shonuga said that the association was considering taking legal action to seek remedies against the e-hailing companies if their demands were not met.
BoI Records N35.5bn Profit As Assets reaches N1.86trn
The Bank of Industry – BoI has said it recorded a profit after tax of N35.54 billion for the financial year ended Dec. 31, 2020, as its total assets hit N1.86 trillion.
The Managing director, BoI, Mr Olukayode Pitan, in a statement, yesterday, said that the performance demonstrates resilience and strength and also indicates synergy with the various interventions developed by both the federal government, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as well as other strategic partners, despite the significant challenges in the operating environment on account of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The group’s total assets grew from 1.04 trillion to 1.86 trillion between 2019 and 2020, driven by the successful debt syndication of €1 billion and $1 billion that were concluded in March and December 2020 respectively.
The group’s total equity increased by 14.8% from 293.08 in the previous year to 336.48 billion in 2020. Loans and advances grew marginally in 2020 by 1.3% to 749.84 bn from the 2019 position, a reflection of the adverse impact of the challenging operating environment on growth of new loans.
Profit before tax fell by 9.6% from 39.34 billion in 2019 to 35.54 billion, attributable to the economic slowdown in the year as well as the various interventions and support initiated by the bank for its customers were responsible for this result.
Pitan explained that the bank, in line with CBN directive, also reviewed and restructured all its managed projects under the CBN intervention programme with interest rate reduction from 9% to 5% per annum for a period of one year and moratorium extension of 3 months (with a possible extension up to 12 months).
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