The Federal Government has disclosed that it may increase the number of scheduled trips on the Lagos-Ibadan train service to meet surging demand.
Mu’azu Sambo, minister of transportation, spoke to journalists on Thursday after a courtesy visit to the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) headquarters in Lagos, leading to the inspection of the Lagos-Ibadan rail facility.
Satisfied with the progress made so far, Sambo vowed to sustain the “trajectory” of President Muhammadu Buhari’s railway modernisation programme.
However, the minister did not specifically provide details on the possible increase of daily trips.
In August, the NRC reduced the number of trips on the Lagos-Ibadan corridor due to the hike in the price of automotive gas oil, better known as diesel.
The corporation currently runs two trips on the route – one in the morning and another in the afternoon.
“Yeah, we can have more trips, but you cannot have more than 24 hours in a day. Can you? So, you have to schedule these train services to cover a particular period of the day from morning until evening. That’s it,” Sambo said, responding to a question on increased patronage.
“I am highly impressed with the railway modernisation program of this administration. What we have seen is unprecedented. And we have vowed, my colleague and I, that within the short time that we have to spend as ministers, we will build on what we have found so that the trajectory will not be truncated in any way at all.”
Further speaking on resumption of train services on the Abuja-Kaduna corridor, Sambo reiterated the ministry’s stance on resuming operations in November.
Refraining from stating a specific resumption date, he asked Nigerians to wait patiently.
“We have announced previously that we are going to commence operations on that line this month. We have the target date. It is not necessary for me to share that date publicly. I don’t think that would help in running the service. Nigerians are interested in the service, right? Today [is] November 17. Less than two weeks before the month is over. So, just be patient,” the minister said.
In his welcome address, Fidet Okhiria, managing director, NRC, commended the Minister’s commitment towards ensuring completion of all the projects within the time frame, adhering to quality and international best practices.
Okhiria also appreciated Buhari for keeping the railway alive through critical infrastructure development and sustainability of the NRC operation.
He said that railway was one of the cornerstones of economic growth and development of any country, through mass movement of freights and people, thereby creating direct and indirect job opportunities, urbanisation, business expansion and social integration for peaceful coexistence.
“In the recent time, NRC has been facing some challenges which include security and vandalism,” Okhiria said.
“We thank the minister and his team for their effort towards ensuring that the railway corridors are now properly secure for the safety of our esteemed passengers and other stakeholders.
”I also commend the effort of the honourable minister by ensuring all hostages of AKTS infamous train attack were released before the resumption of the train operations on AKTS.
“This shows the compassion and empathy of our minister.”
Buhari flags off first crude oil drilling in northern Nigeria
President Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday flagged off the Kolmani Integrated Development Project (KIPRO) located in the boundary of Bauchi and Gombe states.
The KIPRO is an oil prospecting lease (OPL) 809 and 810 at the Kolmani field site located in the Gongola Basin of the Upper Benue Trough.
The ceremony which was held on Tuesday was attended by several dignitaries, including Bola Tinubu, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The first phase of the project is expected to entail an in-situ oil refinery with a capacity of up to 120, 000 barrels per day, a gas processing plant of up to 500 million standard cubic feet per day, a power plant of up to 300MW capacity, and a fertiliser plant of 2,500 tons per day.
“This is indeed significant considering that efforts to find commercial oil and gas outside the Niger Delta Basin was attempted for many years without the desired outcomes,” Buhari said.
“However, the successful discovery of the Kolmani oil and gas field by NNPC and her partners has finally broken the jinx by confirmation of a huge commercial deposit of hydrocarbons in Kolmani River Field.”
133m Nigerians are poor: 86m in north, 47m in south, says NBS
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has said that 133 million Nigerians are multidimensionally poor.
Multidimensional poverty encompasses deprivations experienced by poor people — such as poor health, lack of education, inadequate living standards, and living in environmentally hazardous areas, among others, according to Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative.
The NBS said this on Thursday in its latest National Multidimensional Poverty Index Report.
According to the report, 63 percent of Nigerians are poor due to a lack of access to health, education, and living standards, alongside unemployment and shocks.
The report shows that three out of five Nigerians live in poverty.
The statistical office said the Nigeria MPI (2022) survey was conducted across the 109 senatorial districts, establishing a baseline for the local government area (LGA) survey due in 2023, and future two-yearly national surveys. It added that the MPI offers a multivariate form of poverty assessment, identifying deprivations across health, education, living standards, work and shocks.
In 2020, NBS reported that more than 80 million Nigerians live below the poverty line.
The report added that over half of the population who are multidimensionally poor cook with dung, wood or charcoal rather than clean energy.
“High deprivations are also apparent in sanitation, time to healthcare, food insecurity and housing,” the report reads.
“Multidimensional poverty is higher in rural areas, where 72 percent of people are poor, compared to 42 percent of people in urban areas.
“Approximately 70 percent of Nigeria’s population live in rural areas, yet these areas are home to 80 percent of poor people; the intensity of rural poverty is also higher: 42 percent in rural areas compared to 37 percent in urban areas.”
Furthermore, the report said 65 percent of poor people — 86 million – live in the North, while 35 percent — nearly 47 million – live in the south.
Nigeria’s inflation rate rises to 21.09% as food prices soar
The consumer price index (CPI), which measures the rate of change in prices of goods and services, surged to 21.09 percent in October 2022, up from 20.77 percent in the previous month.
The development shows that the general price level for the headline inflation rate increased in October 2022 when compared to the same month in the preceding year (October 2021) by 5.09 percent.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said this on Tuesday in its consumer price index (CPI) report for October 2022.
‘On a month-on-month basis, the headline inflation rate for October 2022 was 1.24 percent, this was 0.11 percent lower than the rate recorded in September 2022 (1.36 percent). This means that in October 2022 the general price level for the headline inflation rate (month–on–month basis) declined by 0.11 percent,” the report reads.
“The percentage change in the average CPI for the twelve months ending October 2022 over the average of the CPI for the previous twelve months period was 17.86 percent, showing a 0.91 percent increase compared to the 16.96 percent recorded in October 2021.”
The report listed disruption in the supply of food products, cost of importation due to the persistent currency depreciation and high energy cost as reasons for the surge in the inflation rate.
“On a year-on-year basis, in October 2022, the urban inflation rate was 21.63 percent, 5.11 percent higher compared to the 16.52 percent recorded in October 2021. On a month-on-month basis, the urban inflation rate was 1.33 percent in October 2022, this was a 0.12 percent decline compared to September 2022 (1.46%).
“The corresponding twelve-month average for the urban inflation rate was 18.38% in October 2022. This was 0.85% higher compared to the 17.53% reported in October 2021.”
FOOD INFLATION HITS 23.72 PERCENT
The food inflation rate in October 2022 rose to 23.72 percent on annual basis. The figure was 5.39 percent higher compared to the rate recorded in October 2021 (18.34 percent).
The report added that the rise in food inflation was caused by increases in prices of bread and cereals, food products, potatoes, yams and other tubers, oil and fat.
“On a month-on-month basis, the food inflation rate in October was 1.23%, this was a 0.21 percent decline compared to the rate recorded in September 2022 (1.43 percent). This decline was attributed to the reduction in prices of some food items like tubers, palm oil, maize, beans, and vegetables.
“The average annual rate of food inflation for the twelve months ending October 2022 was 19.83 percent, which was a 0.92 percent points decline from the average annual rate of change recorded in October 2021 (20.75 percent).”
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