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Nigeria, AFD sign €25m grant to boost electricity in Northwest

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Nigeria and French Development Agency(AFD) on Wednesday signed a grant of 25 million Euro for the Northern Corridor Project to boost power supply in the country.

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The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Northern Corridor Project is jointly funded by the European Union and AFD, while it is being implemented by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).

The project is meant to strengthen a low-carbon economic growth in West African by improving the quality of electricity network in Nigeria and support the development of a regional electricity market under the West African Power Pool.

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Speaking at the signing of the agreement in Abuja, Mr Clement Agba, Minister of State for Budget and National Planning said that the project was is in line with the objectives of the National Development Plan 2021 to 2025.

Agba said that the signing of the agreement showed that Nigeria was on track in the implementation of the development plan.

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“I want to thank the EU and AFD and the French Government for this intervention in the Nigeria’s power sector especially as it has to do with transmission lines and sub-stations.

“ Power is very essential and what we are signing today demonstrates this. ‘’he said.

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On his part, the Managing Director of TCN, Mr Sule Abdulaziz, thanked the Government of France and EU for their support to Nigeria.

According to him, the Northern Corridor Project iwas critical to TCN as it will greatly improve grid stability and the company’s expansion plan.

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Abdulaziz assured all parties of a successful project implementation.

“Our appreciation also goes to the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Power for facilitating this grant from the government of France and EU, ‘’he said.

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The France Ambassador to Nigeria, Emmanuelle Blatmann said that France was happy to support the project as this highlighted the strong partnership between Nigeria, France and the EU.

Blatmann said that she was proud of what AFD had been doing in Nigeria as over the last nine years, France had invested close to 3 billion dollars with 40 projects ongoing in different sectors.

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“These projects are important to us and it shows how important Nigeria is and France is happy to support this particular project we are signing.

“ This illustrates our commitment to help Nigeria achieve the sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Goal 7 which aims at ensuring access to avoidable, reliable sustainable and modern energy for all.

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“This project is also very important because it contributes to the regional integration of Nigeria within the West Africa and we are key partners to ECOWAS so we will support the strengthen of the West African Power Pool, ‘’she said.

The ambassador said with this project, which was interconnected grid from Kebbi State to Republic of Niger adding that this will help in the development of a regional electricity market.

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She said that the project would further integrate economic development throughout the region.

According to her, France was also committed to helping Nigeria achieve its commitment on climate change in line with the Paris agreement.

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Mr Xavier Muron, AFD Country Director in Nigeria said that the project was a technical enabler for the integration into the grid of expected solar farms in the North-Western part of Nigeria.

Muron said that poor transmission network had been a significant bottleneck in many countries for the achievement of mixed diversification.

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Speaking on behalf of EU, Head of Cooperation, Cecile Tassin-Pelzer said that EU appreciated the Team Europe collaboration with the Government of Nigeria.

“ EU also appreciates its co-funder the AFD, we have been working together in the power sector since 2017.

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”We are happy about this collaboration particular in the energy and agricultural sector under the Green Economy Team Europe Initiative.

“ The collaboration is a concrete example of how the EU Global Gateway can contribute to major investments in infrastructure development.

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“We are now looking at the implementation of the project which is very important to us, ‘’she said.

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Nigeria Air begins recruitment ahead of launch

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The Nigeria Air Limited has commenced the recruitment of qualified crew members for its operation that is expected to be launched shortly.

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The aviation ministry disclosed this in a memo posted on its official Twitter handle on Friday.

“Nigeria Air is now recruiting qualified crew for the following positions: Experienced, and current B737 Captains; Experienced, and Current B737 First Officers; Experienced, and Current B737 Senior Cabin Crew and Cabin Crew Experienced, and Current B737 Engineers (B1/B2 preferred),” the memo noted.

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It said the positions are based in Abuja or Lagos and that competitive salaries are offered.

The ministry said an application portal for other open positions will be available shortly on the website; www.nigeriaair.world.

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Qualified candidates are required to forward their Curriculum Vitae (CVs) to recruitment@nigeriaair.world

“However, due to the immediate recruitment requirements for the above operational positions only, we ask that CVs be sent to the following email address: recruitment@nigeriaair.world,” the memo read.

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It said, “Your application will be carefully assessed, and suitable candidates will be invited for an interview,”

“We will not reply to applications that do not meet the above criteria,” the memo noted.

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Nigeria Air is the nation’s proposed national carrier which was unveiled at the Farnborough Air Show in England on July 18, 2018.

The project was suspended two months after it was announced after critics raised concerns over its relevance and sustainability. The proposed airline was expected to gulp $8.8 million preliminary cost and $300 million as takeoff cost.

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Nigeria’s defunct carrier, Nigeria Airways, collapsed due to corruption and poor management.

But the Nigerian government dismissed all concerns raised, saying the airline would begin operation before the end of 2018, following President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise to establish a national airline during his 2015 electioneering campaign.

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The new airline will be owned by a private Nigerian consortium, Ethiopian Airlines and the federal government.

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Naira falls to N707/$1 at black market, as forex scarcity persists

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The Nigerian naira, on Wednesday, weakened to N707 a dollar at the parallel section of the foreign exchange market.

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The figure represents N42 or 7.45 per cent depreciation compared to the N658 it traded last week — further losing value against the dollar.

Street traders said the free fall resulted from the lingering foreign exchange (FX) supply constraints.

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With a profit margin of N17, the traders put the buying price at N690 and the selling price at N707.

This is even as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has often maintained that the parallel market is not the true reflection of the naira.

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The difficulties getting dollars from the official market, make the option of the black market an important source to access forex.

Meanwhile, at the official market, FMDQ securities reports that Naira closed Wednesday trading at N436.50 to a dollar reversing the 0.10 per cent gain recorded on Tuesday.

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The depreciation of the local currency comes as forex supply to the investors and importers window dropped to $65.95 million from $83.71million recorded on Monday.

The latest exchange rates imply that the disparity between the black and official markets now stands at N270.5.

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FG’s total debts, other liabilities to hit N60.9 trillion in 2023

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By Francesca Iwambe
As the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government scrambles for available funds to survive the current financial squeeze before its expiration in May, next year, a new report has revealed that the government’s total debts and contingent liabilities have hit N60.9 trillion.
The report preempt that the figure is likely to rise to N65 trillion before the end of the year,
According to the report, the figure does not include undocumented contingent liabilities to university lecturers, public school teachers and other public employees to whom the government is indebted. It also excludes other pending financial liabilities to non-lending bilateral and multilateral institutions.
The Federal Government’s debt obligation stood at N35.7 trillion as of June. The amount does not include the Central Bank’s lingering overdrafts estimated at N20.6 trillion at the last count. Besides, the government’s “contingent liabilities” to different institutions and projects stood at N4.6 trillion at the close of last year. The figure is projected to reach N4.98 trillion at the end of the year and jump by as much as 50 per cent to N7.52 trillion next year when the current administration will leave office.
Items and organisations on the contingent liability list are Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company Plc, Nigeria Ports Authority – Lekki Deep Seaport, pension arrears, NNPC – AKK Gas Pipeline Project among others.

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