African countries urged to leverage their natural resources for sustained growth
Aliko Dangote, President of Dangote Group and President of the Nigerian Stock Exchange addressing a recent Business Lunch of NEPAD Business Group-Nigeria (NBGN) on the topic “The Growth and Challenge of the Manufacturing Sector” emphasized the need for African countries to leverage their rich resource endowments to drive growth in the productive sectors of the economy.
Mr. Dangote, a Nigerian self-made business magnate stated his belief that no nation can transform itself into a strong, industrial economy without the contribution of the manufacturing and private sectors. For the desired growth to be achieved, the manufacturing sector must contribute much more to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) throughout Africa. The industrialist noted that local value addition has to increase to facilitate wealth creation, generate employment, develop skills and improve the standard of living for all Africans.
VICE President, Namadi Sambo has restated the Federal Government’s commitment to timely completion of the Abuja (Idu)- Kaduna railway transportation project, saying the Goodluck Jonathan administration had made adequate contingency plans to source funds from the Subsidy Re-Investment Programme (SURE-P) to tackle any financing gap in the course of the project.
Contract for the Abuja (Idu) -Kaduna railway project valued at $847 million was originally awarded in 2010 but execution of preliminary stages of the project commenced in 2011.
Sambo, who disclosed this in Idu at the commencement of the track laying of the Abuja (Idu)- Kaduna standard gauge railway modernisation project, also stressed that the scheme was a deliberate initiative of government to facilitate mass transportation in the country.
The vice-president noted that the SURE-P board, headed by Dr. Christopher Kolade, had been directed to provide financial intervention in the case of cash squeeze on the part of government. This, he said, would aid timely completion of the project. The completion period of the project is 31st December 2014.
“In order to ensure the completion of the Abuja (Idu)- Kaduna Railway Modernisation Project on schedule, government has directed the intervention of subsidy Re-Investment Programme (SURE-P) to help complement the envisaged financing gap so as to meet the counterpart funding of the project. From information available to me, I am happy to note that SURE-P intervention is making positive impact,” he said.
Still on the financing plan of the project, the vice-president hinted that President Goodluck Jonathan had planned to hold talks with the Chinese government on how to seek concessionary loans to guarantee adequate funding of the project.
“As part of president’s engagement during the upcoming proposed state visit to China later this month, the president is expected to discuss with the Chinese government on possible sourcing of concessionary loans to guarantee funding the execution of the project,” he further said.
Minister of Transport, Umar Idris, said that the ministry had embarked on the construction of Itakpe-Ajaokuta -Warri standard gauge rail line, adding that the laying of the track had been completed.
He noted that construction of the overhead and underpass bridges to separate rail and vehicular traffic were at various stages of completion.
He also said that the rehabilitation of the eastern corridor (Port-Harcourt-Maiduguri) covering a distance of 1,657km was ongoing.