Mining Licenses in Wrong Hands


THE federal government has commenced the process that will lead to the revocation of licences of non-performing miners across the country. Namadi Sambo, vice-president, said on Tuesday, May 13, that upon the revocation of the licences, the mining leases would be advertised to attract more serious investors.

Sambo dropped the hint while receiving a delegation of Dangote Group led by Aliko Dangote, its chairman, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The vice president also assured stakeholders of government’s incentive to the private sector in the development of the mining sector, particularly in coal mining, adding that arrangements were being made to cancel the licences of underperforming miners and to advertise same to the public so as to attract more serious investors.

Sambo promised that the federal government would give incentives to the private sector for the development of the economy. He commended the Dangote Group for what he called its huge investment in sugar plantation in the country, saying that would go a long way in creating employment opportunities for millions of Nigerians.

The vice president also lauded the firm for its plan to undertake the construction of concrete-based road projects saying it would eliminate the problems associated with routine maintenance of asphalted roads. Sambo assured the group of government’s readiness to partner with the private sector through Public-Private Partnership arrangement for the development of capital projects, especially in the areas of infrastructure.

On its part, Dangote pointed out that high profile mines had been given to those who did not possess the requisite capacity to develop them. That, he said, explained why they could not meet the time frame given them to develop the mines. He added that his firm had entered into a partnership agreement with Andre de Coulters, one of the leading companies responsible for the generation of about 44,000 megawatts, or a third of Brazil’s power generation capacity.

Dangote also said his firm had acquired about 260,000 hectares of land to develop sugar plantations in Adamawa and Taraba states and that plans were underway to acquire more in Bauchi and Yobe states on the completion of the Kafin Zaki Dam. He added that the firm was ready to partner with the government on a PPP basis to ensure the realisation of the projects.

He noted that 50,000 hectares of land were also acquired in Kogi and Kwara states for sugarcane plantations. Dangote said the sugar plantation was planned to produce about 1.5 million metric tonnes of sugar, ethanol, bio-compost and animal feeds, and would generate about 360MW of electricity, which is above the firm’s requirements. He said the firm would require about 240MW, while the remaining 120MW would be transferred to the national grid for distribution to the host communities.

Strong Warning to Errant Boards


THE federal government has strong words for errant boards of the River Basin Development Authorities, RBDA. Henceforth, any board that fails to abide by stipulated operational mandates will be sanctioned. The boards of the various RBDAs were inaugurated in May 2013 shortly after their reconstitution by President Goodluck Jonathan in April.

Sarah Ochekpe, minister of water resources, said the boards had failed to pursue the mandate of their organisations as contained in the Act setting up the RBDAs, the transformation agenda of the federal government and other extant policies and procedures. She spoke during a retreat for the boards and management of the RBDAs organised by the federal ministry of water resources in Abuja.

“Some of the reports I have been receiving indicate that the modalities, rules and procedures in the exercise of the mandate of the boards are being interpreted differently from one RBDA to the other. This is especially as they affect powers of the board and powers of the management in procurement, appointment, promotion, discipline, fund disbursement, welfare packages and several other issues.

“In some instances, the interpretations of these mandates have been completely against the spirit of setting up the boards, which are meant to assist us in the repositioning of the RBDAs to play increased role in the efforts of the ministry in water resources development to enhance rural water supply, and the management of irrigated agriculture to boost food production and food security in the country. What seems to be emerging some RBDAs is the contest for superiority between the boards and managements, and sometimes with the ministry in the area of contract awards, project management, appointments, bloated welfare packages and other administrative issues,” she said.

For the Sake of Tyre Marketers


THE Association of Nigerian Tyre Marketers has called on the federal government to revive the local tyre manufacturing companies to aid the implementation of the new automotive policy. Issa Akanbi, president of the association, said there was need to assist the industry in financing or in developing large rubber plantations

Akanbi said the new automotive policy was a welcome development that required all supportive sectors to be vibrant. He said that if the policy entailed the establishment of local vehicle manufacturing plants, the government’s support in the area of improved tyre production technology was imperative. He noted that as a measure to revive manufacturing firms, importation of key components for tyre production should be duty-free and zero Value Added Tax, VAT. “There should be zero VAT and duty on imported key components should be waived. This is especially for machines and other equipment as globally adopted for the growth of an industry. Government should introduce energy-efficient measures and ensure the equipment to be used is based on modern technology,” he said.

The association had opposed the government’s five percent import duty concession on imported tyres by local manufacturers. Akanbi said the protest was to notify the government that there was no tyre manufacturing company in Nigeria at present. He said that the concession would only encourage monopoly by those who have the privilege to import and a disadvantage to others who could not.

“At present, there is no company producing tyres in the country as all of them have since relocated to neighbouring countries. The privilege status of importation at a concessionary duty rate of five per cent will only encourage extreme monopoly to the disadvantage of other stakeholders in the tyre value-chain. This will also encourage massive importation by the privileged few who are close to government under the pretence that they operate tyre manufacturing plants that do not exist,” Akanbi said.

Compiled by Anayo Ezugwu

— May 26, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT

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