Category Archives: Economy and Development

UPDATES ON TRANSFORMATION AGENDA

ROADS
•A total of 651km of roads was paved in bituminous layers in 2012.
•A total of 32 Highway projects were completed in 2012.
•Following the recent effects of floods in some parts of the country, the administration intervened by constructing new bridges and re-instating washed out embankments.
•The Ministry of Works on the order of President Jonathan unveiled Operation Safe Passage, a programme aimed at recovering deplorable sections of major roads in the country to ameliorate the sufferings usually experienced by road users during festive seasons. Under this programme, key roads in the six geo-political zones of the country, were rehabilitated.
•80 projects prioritized in 2012 two have been completed, three are over 90 percent completed, five are over 80 percent completed, eighteen are between 50-79 percent complete while the rest are in different stages of completion.
•The radical intervention by the Subsidy Reinvestment Programme SURE-P in the road sector in 2012 resulted in accelerated work on the rehabilitation of the following projects:
Abuja-Abaji-Lokoja;
Benin-Ore-Sagamu dual carriageway;
Onitsha-Enugu-Port Harcourt dual carriageway;
Kaduna-Maiduguri dual carriageway;
East-West Road
The Second Niger Bridge for which a sum of five billion naira has been set aside.
These roads cover a distance of 1,664 kilometres and are at various stages of completion. Most of these projects are due for completion and commissioning in this year..
Collage

Collage
•As a major turnaround Federal Government also terminated the concessioning agreement with Bi Courtney company on the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. The road rehabilitation work is currently been handled by two construction firms and will be completed this year.
•The Jonathan administration has entered into collaboration with multi-lateral agencies under the Road Sector Development Team (RSDT) scheme.
•Under this framework, the RSDT is currently implementing road rehabilitation, upgrading and maintenance, institutional strengthening and policy reform, and road safety improvements with the credit from the World Bank; and additional funding from the Africa Development Bank (AfDB).
•The RSDT in collaboration with multi-lateral agencies rehabilitated/ maintained a total of 257 kilometres of road length in 2012. Two projects under the scheme, the Mokwa-Bida Road and the Akure-Ilesha Road will have their contracts awarded in June.
•Also, the Ministry of Works is currently working out modalities for the execution of the dualisation of the Keffi-Lafia-Makurdi-Enugu (9th Mile) roads in Nasarawa, Benue and Enugu States with funds from the Export-Import Bank of China.
#Transformationwatch

From Cancun to Nembe via Yenagoa, Bayelsa State and Tourism

Welcome to Bayelsa

Welcome to Bayelsa

There is a city in Southeastern Mexico  located on the Caribbean Sea. In 1970, there were less than a thousand people living on this beautiful Peninsula. There had been disease outbreaks, issues of sea piracy, and a fair share of drug trade in the area in the past and like every other place faced with such negative situations, populations dropped and the place was more or less bare.

However, the Mexican Government saw the future of Tourism quite early and in a bid to attract foreign investors to the naturally beautiful Islands and Peninsula, financed the first nine hotels in the area. That city is Cancun, and today it is arguably one of the top ten destinations for visitors worldwide. Tourism in Cancun is not just a business, it is a lifestyle that sustains over 12,000 hotel rooms and attracts  more visitors than The Bahamas, Jamaica and Puerto Rico.

Cancun 1970

Cancun 1970

Major challenges facing development in Cancun included its distance to Mexico city,  which was over 1,000 miles away, lack of trained manpower to sustain development of Tourism and a dearth of modern transportation including a  functional highway to open up the area. This aside, Cancun rose out of nothing and is something spectacular today. Cancun and Dubai have one thing in common. Nobody believed anything good could come out of both.

Cancun 2013

Cancun 2013

Back home here, on the Islands of Bayelsa State, there are major issues of connecting roads for easy access to tourist sites. as well as security concerns that are thankfully being tackled head-on  by Governor Dickson`s administration with glaring results in over just a year in office. Then again if you have not been to any of the Islands, you may not understand why waterway transportation needs to be seen as a viable option to road transportation.

After visiting three Local Government Areas in Bayelsa State, Brass, Nembe and Ogbia as part of Governor Dickson`s  Thank You Tour,  it is evident that the Dickson Administration has keyed in to a salient fact about Tourism development.  Yes, we all need infrastructure and signposts of modernity, but before all of that, we need education. We need enlightened people to take over managing our long term investments.  In this regard, Bayelsa State has laid down the building block properly. There is no doubting the effort of the Government to boost the education sector.

Yenagoa, Bayelsa 2013

Yenagoa, Bayelsa 2013

This, is a major and futuristic plus with international scholarships, infrastructure development in schools  and partnerships with foreign institutions to train Bayelsan`s,  and expose the few who will benefit from educational exchange schemes and programs  to the possibilities of development  seen around the world.

Also, if this administration takes tourism seriously as it has shown early promise already,  heavy investments in Hotels and Resorts on a couple of Islands will be inevitable. In as much as the State capital is booming with construction works of all sorts, the future of business and commerce in Bayelsa cannot be excluded from the Islands.

Okpoama beach, Brass

@ Okpoama beach, Brass

Beautiful Bayelsa is one part of the Niger Delta that holds so much promise for the future. If only we the people can be brought up to speed with the implications of peace and security. Government cannot do it all alone, we the people have to embrace peace and develop security. We have to manage our communities better.

Governor Dickson is faced with an enormous task of delivering first class facilities as a platform for attracting real investors. It is surmountable. It is do-able. It is very possible. However, it will take some investing in educating the people about a future based on peace and security, and making us understand and appreciate how Local Government Areas can have over a hundred standard hotels operating at good capacity and thus provide employment and commercial boom for the Islands.

Bayelsa State Government seems to be on track with the suggestion by the Governor that a Stadium is proposed for BrasS LGA. That Stadium will require support services of hotels and restaurants in the long run. Another Island will need hotels and restaurants to support Africa`s largest Aqua Tunnel if built for example, or the biggest hotel in the Niger Delta area with accompanying entertainment options. We only have to dream big and put our minds to achieving big feats.

DSC_4703

Beautiful Bayelsa

I dare say a visionary leader can not do without intellectual and experienced support from his team. This thankfully is not lacking presently in Bayelsa State. There is every reason to believe in the future of the state therefore.  It will be enlightening to see the potentials of other  LGA`s  in the state and I look forward to the next phase of the Thank You Tour with eager expectations.

I look forward to beautiful Bayelsa, The Glory of All Lands.

Ejiro Eghagha. Writer, Social commentator

Ejiro Eghagha on Developmental strides in Nigeria-Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu

English: Enugu Airport Terminal (Airside) Deut...

English: Enugu Airport Terminal (Airside) Deutsch: Enugu Airport Terminal (Airside) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nigeria has never witnessed such pace  infrastructural development since 1960. Neither can we now deny the level of strategic development initiatives being embarked on by the Jonathan administration.

After the civil war, the Igbo nation was sidelined in developmental pace of the country. This is now an obvious fact, with positive reactions greeting the opening of an International Airport in Enugu State. All flights are fully booked till October 2013, even with four weekly flights by Ethiopian Airlines.

What are the social implications?

Igbo Nigerian`s will certainly feel the immediate and long-term impact of proximity to an international gateway. More students will be encouraged to seek education abroad, for one and also generally travel and the exposure it brings along with it will be experienced more readily. This is because access to travel will now be a physical reality rather than a vision available only in far away Lagos. Something that will spark that desire to travel has finally become a reality in the East. More parents will see the inherent benefits of exposure and take advantage of it.

Secondly, the ease of travelling to Eastern Nigeria will certainly encourage more Igbo Nigerian`s and those living closer to Enugu than Lagos, to travel home from outside the country, triggering more inflow of foreign exchange especially during festive periods. The fear of bad roads, which in any case is now being eliminated with upgrades in road infrastructure around the country, and the unfounded and  unnecessary fear of local flights not being trust worthy, (even with recent international safety certifications of Nigeria Airspace) will be discountenanced with international flights landing directly in the East and cutting off further need for local travel to get to the region.

Thirdly, what this implies is an international airport bustling with Igbo Nigerian`s. Traders, travelers and users of the airport will by its situation be majorly Igbo. If that does not further  give a sense of belonging to Nigeria in the East, I wonder what else may.

What are the commercial implications?

According to MTN, the Tele communications giant, they knew they had made an error of judgement in Nigeria after reeling off their products and services in Lagos only to get to the East and be swallowed up by the huge market available. They had initially underestimated the strength and depth of the Nigerian market. With this in mind, it is obvious that an international airport in the East is a major blessing to Nigeria.

I have always believed that everyone should develop at their own pace in Nigeria. To “coerce” Easterners to travel to Lagos as an alternative to any other International airport outside the East will only and has only slowed down the economic growth of the region and indeed Nigeria. To ask Igbo Nigerian`s to spend money and time going through other Airport`s has simply denied development in Igbo Land. Think about all the Hotel`s and Car Hire businesses servicing  the Lagos Airport for instance and patronized by Easterners who travel to Lagos en-route Europe America and Asia. Now Lagos will see a likely congestion problem in international air traffic eased up, but certainly being Lagos, a non significant fall in travelers will be the result in the long run. Lagos will still be Lagos, with enough air travelers to handle. However, now, the East will also benefit with a new directed flow of travelers coming with their spending and needs that will allow for employment and commercial developments too in the region.

One cannot deny or turn a blind eye to the innate commerce skills of the Igbo`s as a people. It is safe to say therefore that a “Nigerian Hong Kong” is in the making, with this new airport commissioning. Add the sea port recently opened in Onitsha  and the Railway system that is being programmed and running in some ares already and you will agree that we are experiencing a Government that delivers of visions and promises for a better Nigeria, despite distractions from an abuse of democratic principles of freedom of speech by most opposition elements and nay sayers in general, who rightfully though have been exposed to brutal military dictatorships and failed democratic promises for too long, in the past. These group of people  may now be unknowingly blinded to see a growing Nigeria, and indeed a growing Eastern nation in Nigeria.

Why should Nigerian`s be happy with the Enugu airport?

Freedom has come to the East, and by implication to the Nigerian psyche. Igbo`s do not have to go through a third-party any longer. Now you may buy your ticket drive down to the Airport and fly (If you have a valid travel documents). No more extended plans for stop overs in Lagos or other Airports.

A booming Eastern economy through increased commercial trading activities, projected Investments in Tourism to attract international travelers and an this encouraging platform to build trust of Nigerian`s in The Diaspora  will only add to our national purse and ease off dependence on Oil and Gas.

The caveat here though is on the need to put in adequate security and emergency response units in place to always maintain internationally accepted standards for developments of this nature. Furthermore, an international Airport not properly checked and managed will only end up being a conduit for the importation of banned and dangerous  items into the country and the consequences are not hard to imagine. Going by recent security situations in Nigeria though, one can rest assured that proper planning and management have been considered for the new Airport.

Definitely, credit must be given to President Jonathan`s cabinet that has carried out his predecessor`s dream of an international Airport in Enugu. An uncommon occurrence in Nigerian politics is for a new “oga” to complete his former “oga`s” works. Commendable achievement and much-needed visionary leadership in the Transport and Aviation sectors, I say.

Ejiro Eghagha, Author and social commentator writes from Abuja.

 

 

John George Igoche on Nigeria-Asia partnership for development

 

NigeriaChina Development partnershipJONATHAN’S ECONOMIC FORAY INTO CHINA

Call it an onslaught, if it sounds better, but whatever angle you view the President’s recent full complement visit to the world’s second largest economy and world power, China, from 10th to 12th July, no one can be left in doubt that GEJ is having Nigeria highest on his mind right into the future and well into the magic 2020 vision envisioned by his late partner, late Shehu Yar’Adua and himself since 2007.

Reading the press comments of Aviation Minister, Hon Stella Odua, Head of Media for this historic economic venture into the Asian heartland and her counterpart Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Coordinating Minister of Finance, I was convinced that our President is on a die-hard mission to elevate the Nigerian infrastructural landscape far beyond the expectations of his critics from the opposition.

Indeed from China, well away from Western jingoism, President Jonathan has scored a master stroke and in the next few months the legendary Chinese economic magic will work wonders in Nigeria, creating jobs for the unemployed and jobless youths and propelling massive activity in the industrial and economic hub of this country,Nigeria.Take it or leave it, we are on the verge of huge economic revolution with this Chinese partnership which GEJ has embarked on mid-year into his very first term as leader of this great country.

I am so excited I could do a break dance 300 metres long! Just six months from now and we will see that the Chinese magic will do the trick: Railways will be constructed and so activated, our airports will wear a new look, seaports modernisation too a

nd the on-going agricultural revolution will gather momentum, accelerated food production and engagement of youths in the industrial sector and the rural economy will be boosted.

Speaking with an economist of some think-tank which does development analysis of third world economies, I was avidly informed that the Western economies are no longer ready to stand aloof, watching China overrun the developing economies with their aggressive marketing of their now well-articulated economic prowess; of most concern is the low cost and ease of doing business with Asian countries, versus the strict protectionist tendencies of most of the Western countries,inspite of the much touted AGOA of the USA and other WTO agreements and of course some who are very reluctant to shed their colonial garb which they used in the past to slow down the growth and development of their so-called “vassal” nations, mostly in the African continent.

In fact according to the experts, China may sooner than later unseat the USA from the number one slot as the greatest glob

al economy. With this recent move by a strategic African nation as Nigeria, the die is cast for indeed when President Jonathan returns with a bag of direct foreign financial nuggets and investments from this China trip, the gap for now will be variously filled to generate huge investment potential capable of catapulting the GEJ’s transformation agenda many notches higher than the past two years.

I will not venture into the salient details of all the loan agreements or DFI protocols that will be so signed but I am convinced that this government has put its right foot forward to grow the Nigerian economy beyond what it presently is and it is better to hope that the army of unemployed youths will soon find engagement within the precincts of what President Jonathan and his team bring back to Nigeria at the end of this visit.

John George Igoche (Public Affairs commentator)

Nigeria Among 10 Most Important Countries In The World – Clinton

A former U.S President, Bill Clinton has said that Nigeria is among the 10 most important countries in the world.

Clinton, who was speaking on Tuesday in Abeokuta as part of an awards ceremony put on by ThisDay newspaper and its flamboyant publisher Nduka Obaigbena, who has invited the former president several times to Nigeria, said it would be difficult to imagine how the world be if Nigeria fails.

“I made a list of the 10 important countries in the world for the 21st century and Nigeria is on the list,” the former president said.

He listed three big challenges that Nigeria must overcome for it to actualize its potentials.

Watch video below for more:

 

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