A comprehensive audit of all funds previously made available for the rehabilitation and maintenance of the Port Harcourt Refinery and other refineries in the country is to be undertaken by the House of Representatives.
The House is also to examine the performance bond, assurance, warrantees and guarantees put in place for operating and maintaining the Port Harcourt Refinery plants after commissioning while asking the Federal Government to grant licence and provide incentives for the building and construction of modular refineries by interested persons.
This followed a motion of urgent public importance sponsored by Hon. Onofiok Luke (PDP, Akwa Ibom) on the need to ensure transparency and accountability on the rehabilitation of the nation’s refineries which have been moribund for several years leading to the importation of refined products into the country.
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Leading the debate on the motion Hon. Luke drew the attention of the lawmakers to the recent approval of $1.5 billion, about N575 billion, for the immediate commencement of rehabilitation of the 32-year-old Port Harcourt Refinery at an estimated completion period of 44 months (approximately – 4 years) with a three- component funding from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), budgetary allocations provisions, and Afreximbank.
According to him, the refinery which has two components of the old plant commissioned in 1965 that can process 60,000 barrels (9,500 m3) per stream day, and the new plant commissioned in 1989, with an installed capacity of 150,000 barrels (24,000 m3) per stream day have been dormant for several years.
The Akwa Ibom lawmaker expressed concern that even though the NNPC has allegedly spent about $25 billion in the turnaround maintenance of refineries in the past 25 years, this latest prevailing development is coming after promises by the current administration that government would no longer spend on the facility.
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Polaris Bank MD Thumbs-up Ogun Infrastructure, Conducive Business Environment
Ogun State has been described as one of the most progressive states in Nigeria with adequate infrastructure and a conducive environment for businesses to thrive.
The Managing Director of Polaris Bank, Mr. Adekunle Sonola made the assertion on Wednesday in an interview with newsmen after a meeting with Governor Dapo Abiodun at the Governor’s Office, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.
According to the bank executive, Governor Abiodun is doing wonderfully well in the area of infrastructural development and creating the right atmosphere for businesses to thrive.
He said: “Governor Abiodun is running one of the most progressive states in the country with a lot of laudable objectives and achievements in the last four years.
“As bankers to the community, we are here to show our support and to also recognize the achievements on the ground as well as offer our services for the progress and development of the state.”
Sonola said the meeting with the governor centered on a wide range of areas, including infrastructure, housing delivery, health care improvement programmes, education, agriculture and other sectors that the bank would be of assistance as well as the complementary relationship to deliver services to the people.
The bank chief noted that having identified opportunities and the areas of collaboration with the government, the people would begin to see, in few months, the delivery of the project agreed on at the meeting.
He emphasized that his organization had been part of the state for long, having one of the vibrant and modern branches in the state capital, assuring the people of personal banking experience.
He called on investors to take advantage of the potential that is available and the conducive business environment provided by the government to open their businesses in the Gateway State.
Abiodun Presents N703bn Budget Estimate For 2024 To Ogun Lawmakers
Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, on Thursday, presented N703.03billion Budget Proposal for the year 2024 to the state House of Assembly.
This is against the N472.250billion budgeted for the 2023 fiscal year.
Giving a breakdown of the budget tagged “The Budget of Sustained Growth and Development,” the governor noted that it was made up of N287.37 billion Recurrent and N415.66 billion Capital expenditures.
He explained that N95.05 billion would be used for Personnel Costs, N27.35 billion as Consolidated Revenue while N59.09 billion would go for Public Debt Charges.
Abiodun noted further that N105.88 billion is for Overhead Cost while Capital Expenditure will gulp N415.66 billion.
On sectoral allocation, he said the sum of N109.219 billion, representing 16% will go for education, N81.185 billion representing 12% will be for health, while N28.886 billion, representing four percent will be for housing and Community Development. Also, the governor disclosed that a sum of N14.218 billion, representing two per cent, will go for agriculture and industry, while N209.122 billion, representing 30%, is allocated to infrastructure.
Others are N22.872 billion, representing three per cent for recreation and culture, N28.692, representing four per cent for social protection, while general public service, executive organ will gulp N31.125 billion, representing four percent.
The state government is to spend N34.954 billion for General Public Service Financial and Fiscal Affairs, representing five percent, N1.939 billion, representing 0.3% for General Public Service- General Personel Service, and N12.187 billion, representing two percent for Public Order and Safety.
The governor also said that Economic Affairs will take N3.083 billion, representing 0.4%, Judiciary N7.029 billion, representing one percent, Legislature, N14.412 billion, representing two percent, while N104.114 billion, representing 15% is for the Statewide.
The expenditure policy of the government in 2024, the governor maintained, is designed to achieve the strategic objectives of the Ogun State Economic Development Plan and Strategy 2021 – 2025, including fiscal sustainability; human capital development; food security; improved business environment; energy sufficiency; improving transport infrastructure; and promoting industrialization, focusing on Small and Medium Scale Enterprises.
While highlighting the key capital projects for year 2024, the governor said: “The physical capital projects in the 2024 budget include; Light up Ogun Project to include procurement and installation of transformers statewide whilst partnering with the private sector to experience uninterrupted power supply in 24 months. The Hosting of the 2024 Ogun National Sports Festival.
“Construction, rehabilitation, and maintenance of roads across the state, including major ones such as Lagos–Ota-Abeokuta Expressway; Ofada-Owode Road, Lagos Garage – Ikangba – Ilese Road, Ota-Lafenwa-Itele-Ayobo Road; Ita Oshin, Ibara-Orile-Ijoga Orile – Ibooro – Imasayi Road, OPIC Estate Internal Roads, Agbara, 250km Statewide construction in all three (3) senatorial districts road infrastructure to support the 2024 Ogun National Sports Festival.”
He said his administration would focus on the construction of infrastructure at the various Economic Development Clusters, while efforts would be made to extend the Lagos Blue Line Metro Rail Project into Agbara, as well as the extension of the Lagos Red Line Metro Rail Project to Ijoko and Ifo/Kajola in line with the execution of the State’s multi-modal transport plan under the Lagos-Ogun Joint Development Commission initiative.
The governor who emphasized the need to further secure the state, said additional security networks would be deployed and communication systems procured for security personnel, stressing the need for the installation of intelligence and on-street transport management and enforcement systems in all the three senatorial districts of the state.
Governor Abiodun added: “Our administration will construct over 2,000 housing units in various locations across the State like Warewa, Sagamu, Iperu, Ibara, Ayetoro Road (Abeokuta), OGTV Village, Ijebu-Ode, etc. Water reticulation projects to connect more households to potable water supply having completed the Urban Water Supply Project.
“Training the youth on Digital Solutions to enhance youth involvement in Agriculture. Refurbishment and renovation of technical colleges and vocational centers.Construction and Rehabilitation of Blocks of Classrooms, Technical Workshop/Science Laboratory at the Primary and Secondary Schools with the provision of furniture and equipment across the Four (4) Divisions in the State”.
He said as at 30th of September 2023, the state had achieved 74.39% of the pro-rated revenue target for this year’s budget, noting that that budget credibility as determined by performance was the best the State ever had in its financial management history, even as he assured that his administration was poised to finish this year at well above 75% performance.
Earlier, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Olakunle Oluomo applauded the cordial relationship between the executive and the legislative arms, saying this had culminated in the socio-economic development of the state.
He promised that the House of Assembly would work towards giving the bill accelerated passage for the government to continue its developmental stride.
Ogun Set To Sign MoU With OPS On Olokola Deep Seaport
The Ogun State Government and the Organised Private Sector (OPS) have concluded plans to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the construction of the Olokola Deep Seaport located in Ogun Waterside Local Government Area of the state.
Governor Dapo Abiodun made this known during a breakfast meeting with Chief Executive Officers of the OPS in Abeokuta, the state capital, on Wednesday.
Governor Abiodun noted that the construction of the Olokola seaport would provide another opportunity for companies in the state to move their goods and equipment in addition to the Gateway Agro-Cargo International Airport, which is almost at the completion stage, and the planned dry port to be located at Kajola, an outskirt of the state capital.
Prince Abiodun said: “I want to share with you the fact that whilst we are talking about our road, rail and air transport, we will be signing very soon a Memorandum of Understanding with the private sector players for the construction of our seaport in Olokola.
“This is another giant step to ensure that we enable businesses to continue to thrive in our state.”
The governor said that his administration was working towards putting an end to the multiplicity of taxes in the state, adding that the reforms already put in place by the Ogun State Inland Revenue Service would definitely put resolve the issue.
He also urged businesses to patronize government whenever they are in need of land, saying that all land belonged to the government.
“On the harmonization of taxes, we have put in a lot of reforms on our Inland Revenue Service.
“Rest assured, be patient with me, slowly and surely, we will remove all these multiplicities of taxes.
“We are also concerned about our physical planning as well. The lands department and physical planning are now working collaboratively to ensure that all the problems we have had in the past are resolved.
“All lands belong to the government. My advice to you is that if you want to buy land, come to the state. We have ensured that any land to be sold to you is properly enumerated and compensated.
“So, please, I want to discourage all of us to desist from buying land from land speculators,” he said.
Abiodun said that his administration would be distributing 5,000 Certificates of Occupancy (CofO) this Friday.
According to him, the state is now at a vantage position to continue to issue out Certificate of Occupancy to subscribers with a newly acquired equipment that can sign 1000 CofOs daily.
Abiodun called on the OPS in the state to give back to their various host communities by either taking advantage of the state government adopt a school or primary health care center project.
The governor spoke on the importance of businesses imbibing the culture of technology transfer, which would further assist the country to move forward technologically.
He reiterated the commitment of his administration to ensure steady and uninterrupted power supply soon through the Ogun Light Up Project.
The governor noted that his administration deliberately laid a lot of emphasis on reconstructing roads that connect the Ogun with other states of the country, especially Lagos, the economic capital of the country.
While commending the OPS for joining hands with his administration at repositioning its security architecture through the rejigging of the Ogun State Security Trust Fund, Governor Abiodun added that his administration would continue to do all it can to make the state the safest place to live, work or play.
Earlier in his address, Commissioner for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Adebola Sofela assured that the state government would continue to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
He said the present administration would continue to partner with industries in the state with a view to propelling the common interest of both the government and industries to greater heights
Also, Ogun State Chairman of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Chief George Onafowokan, acknowledged the position of the state as the best place for industries to thrive.
He, however, called on the state government to continue to work towards ensuring that the enablers for businesses to thrive are readily made available in the state.
On behalf of the Agbara Cluster, the Director of African Industry Group, Chief Sohan Baghla disclosed that they had been able to provide over ten thousand jobs for the people of the state, adding that a greater percentage of their investments are in steel production and processing, aluminium production and processing, glass, chemicals, steel rolling mills, all situated in the Agbara business cluster.
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