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NHITE calls on FG to assent road sector reform bills

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By Matthew Denis

The Nigerian Highway Infrastructure and Transport Engineers (NHITE) has called on the Federal Government to promptly assent to the road sector reform bills to strengthen the laws and procedures on roads construction in the country.

The Chairman of NIHTE, Engr. Saidu Hassan, made the call at the 2023 conference and Annual General Meeting and 3rd fellowship concernment ceremony, held on Friday, in Abuja.

The event was christened ‘Transportation and road sector reform-pathway to economic growth, was aimed at providing feasible solutions to Nigeria’s road infrastructure which has long been plagued with potholes, inadequate maintenance, and outdated design standards, resulting in frequent accidents, increased travel time, and logistical challenges.

Engr. Hassan expressed optimism that the implementation of the road sector reform bills would play a pivotal role in overhauling the existing system and bringing about needed development in the sector.

He said: “In 2012, a Road Sector Reform Committee was constituted by the Federal Ministry of Works and the Committee produced Road Sector Reform Bills that have been passed by the 8th and 9th National Assembly.

“Unfortunately, the Bills were not assented to by the previous Administration. We therefore urge the House of Representative to facilitate the Presidential assent to the Road Sector Reform Bills (that is the Federal Road Authority and National Road Fund Bills), which would provide sound governance structure based on sectorial professionalism, as well as creating sustainable and robust funding for road development and maintenance in the country.

“To this end, we call on the Executive and the National Assembly to work together to ensure the signing of the Bills. The signing of the Bills will provide lasting solutions to the management of our roads and save the nation from the present quagmire occasioned in the funding and management of our roads.”

On the ongoing discussion on the use of Rigid and flexible pavements in Nigeria, Engr. Hassan advised that: “Rigid Pavements (Concrete Road) are not totally strange in Nigeria’s Highway practice. Both flexible pavements (Asphaltic concrete Roads) and rigid pavements (concrete roads) have their advantages and disadvantages. Either of them should be used where it is absolutely necessary. The choice of pavement should be based on engineering judgment.”

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Works, Engr. Patrick Nwabueze, expressed his concern about the country’s dilapidated road infrastructure, while also emphasizing the economic advantages of having reliable roads.

He, however, acknowledged the commendable efforts of NHITE in their mission to ensure that roads in the country adhere to international standards.

His words: “An efficient, strategic and effective Transportation network remains an important factor for assessing the economic development of any nation. As such, the country needs fresh thinking, investments and professional management in the sector.

“It is a known fact that the crucial determinant of multifaceted growth, effective highway and transportation networks, improves the prosperity of a country as it leads to enlarged markets and trade barriers which subsequently imparts on the level of productivity standard of living.

“Therefore, there is a need for the Government to pay critical attention to ensure that they are taken in line with global standards to provide accessible transportation as well as Road Networks. centers on, but not limited vital steps
durable and efficient.

“I am aware of the vision of the Institution to transform the Nations Highway Sectors towards ensuring safety compliance, monitoring and to transcend the National Highway practice to that of global best practices. A task you have already taken very seriously to save the lives of our citizens and pathway to economic growth.”

While Speaking on his keynote address, the Chairman of Crown Crest Global Limited, Chris Okoye, called for the restructuring of the Ministry of Transportation to accommodate all modes of transportation for better efficiency.

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Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves surge by 5% to $33.58bn

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Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves increased by 5 percent to $33.58 billion in the last two months.

This is according to the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN’s latest FX data as of June 19, 2024.

Accordingly, the foreign exchange reserves figure represents a $1.47 billion increase compared to $32.11 billion on April 19, 2024.

The Monetary Policy Committee, MPC during its 295th meeting reiterated its commitment to boosting Nigeria’s external reserves.

“The Committee also noted the marginal increase in the external reserve balance between March and April 2024 and urged the Bank to sustain its focus on accretion to reserves”, reads in part.

Recall that the Nigerian government received $925 million from Afrieximbank barely two weeks ago as the $3.3 billion crude oil-backed prepayment facility organized by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited.

Meanwhile, despite the increase in the country’s foreign reserves, Naira depreciated N1485.36 for the second consecutive time against the dollar on Thursday.

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Ondo Govt breaks silence after court declared 33 LCDAs illegal

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Following the judgment of an Ondo State High Court which declared the creation of the 33 Local Council Development Areas, LCDAs, as unconstitutional, the state government has stated that it is studying the judgement.

The Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in the state, Kayode Ajulo, in a statement on Friday, said the state government would duly analyze the judgement, adding that the rule of law would be followed.

The late former Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu created the LCDAs in 2023.

But in his judgement on Thursday, Justice A.O. Adebusuoye stated that the LCDAs were not lawfully created.

According to Ajulo, the Certified True Copy (CTC) of the judgement has been requested and will be studied accordingly.

“All necessary measures, in accordance with our laws, will be taken to safeguard the interests of our citizens, foster peaceful coexistence, and uphold the rule of law.

“The Honourable Attorney General remains steadfast in his commitment to prioritising the well-being and welfare of our citizens, working tirelessly to ensure that justice and the law are served.”

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Nigeria Customs generates N249b within 5 months in Rivers

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The Nigeria Customs Service, Area 2 Command, Onne in Rivers, said it has generated more than N249 billion as at May, 2024 representing 40.3 per cent of its current annual revenue target.

Comptroller of the command, Muhammed Babandede, made the disclosure while briefing newsmen at Onne.

According to him, the 40.3 per cent revenue record followed a recent review of the command’s annual revenue target from N494 billion to N618 billion.

The comptroller noted that when compared to the same period in 2023, the command had recorded an increase of more than N153 billion.

He also said that six containers laden with codeine, contraband drugs and goods valued at more than N3 billion were also confiscated within the period under review.

He said that the seizures included four containers laden with bales of clothing, lace and fabrics with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of more than N911 million.

Others, the controller said, were two containers laden with 2,625 cartons of codeine syrup among other contraband valued at more than N2 billion.

Babandede commended the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for inter-agency collaboration while also assuring adequate handover of seizures.

He also emphasised that the command would not relent on its core function of trade facilitation which entailed streamlined and simplified technical and legal procedures for clearing import or export goods.

On the operations of bonded terminals, the comptroller explained that the final destination for clearing of consignment was at the importer’s discretion.

“These procedures are guide which all Customs officers must adhere to.

“This negates the erroneous belief that officers of the Onne command connive with operators of Bonded Terminals to transfer containers,” he said.

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