By Kingsley Adegboye and Joseph Undu
Lagos–Residents and motorists that use the gateway to the nations major ports, the Oshodi-Apapa expressway, are back to the days of horrifying gridlock that makes their lives miserable.
Traffic robbers are back, dispossessing trapped motorists of their belongings.
It is pitiable that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and his predecessor, who happens to be the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, despite assuring Lagosians of readiness to solve the perennial problem by completing the rehabilitation of the dual carriageway in good time have jettisoned the rehabilitation work.
It seems the scenario stopping the rehabilitation of Oshodi-Murtala Airport road is also playing out on this all-important expressway.
Governor Ambode had accused the Federal Ministry of Works of frustrating some of his plans in Lagos State, saying the federal ministry of two things: failure to allow the state government rebuild the Oshodi road that leads to the Lagos Airport and failure to ensure the proper handover of the Presidential Lodge in Lagos to the state government as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Responding to the accusation, the Minister, said his “response is to ensure that members of the public are not misled by deliberate or inadvertent mis-statements” of the Lagos governor.
The minister explained that the request of the Lagos government to take over the Oshodi-airport road, as well as three other federal roads in the state, was still being discussed at the Federal Executive Council.
“Federal Executive Council Memorandum are debated and commented upon by all members and in cases of roads, surveys, maps and other material have to be provided to assist members understand the location and connectivity of the roads, (in this case Four roads), in order to assist how they vote on the Memorandum,” Fashola said.
A visit to Tin Can Island through Oshodi yesterday revealed the pitiable state of the highway between Coconut Bus-stop and Tin Can Port second gate.
The entire stretch of the road is in a terrible state of degradation due to several years of neglect, with gullies and deep potholes on the road.
The menacing presence of the petroleum products tankers and trailers on the road is the reason Apapa-bound motorists and commuters spend several hours to get to their destinations on daily basis.
Those who have targets to meet now use the services of commercial motorcycle operators popularly called Okada riders despite the obvious risk. In fact, most commercial drivers and motorists now navigate through Olodi-Apapa through Boundary, Ajegunle, to access Apapa.
The indiscriminate parking of these trucks worsen the already chaotic traffic situation in the area.
This traffic gridlock has led to hoodlums vandalising peoples’ cars and robbing them of their belongings.
According to eyewitnesses accounts, so many commuters have been so far dispossessed of their belongings by miscreants since the reappearance of the terrible traffic situation.
One of the victims, a port operator who pleaded anonymity told Vanguard that: “It is not clear what led to the resurgence of the gridlock on this expressway after it had disappeared for sometime.
“I strongly believe the indiscriminate parking on the road by these tanker drivers, and bad road networks in and around Apapa may be the cause.
“Lagos State government really needs to do something to put an end to this traffic problem. A lot of productive hours are being wasted in this gridlock every day and this is one of the roads that connect the sea ports, the economic nerve centre of Nigeria. A good percentage of Lagos Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, is from this part of the state, yet the road networks here are terrible.
Another commuter noted that: “Lagos State Transport Management Authority, LASTMA and Lagos Task Force are not doing enough to effectively control traffic on this road.”
Apr 28 2017 | Posted in Transportation
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The World Bank and some multilateral agencies in Washington have applauded the power sector recovery plan of Minister of Works, Power, Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, and offered to render financial support.
Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who disclosed this as head of Nigeria’s delegation to the World Bank-IMF meetings in Washington, USA, also reassured Nigerians that the cash recoveries being made by agencies of government in President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption drive would not be re-looted
She quoted the World Bank and IMF as saying that the power sector recovery plan of Fashola was realistic.
In a meeting with the agencies, Fashola was said to have presented the power plan, which was approved by the Federal Executive Council, FEC, only about a month ago, and secured the support of the financial institutions.
According to Adeosun, at a press briefing in Washington, “what the power sector recovery plan has done is to look at all the problems really honestly. The multilateral agencies have looked at the plan we have put together and they like it because, as they said it is realistic.
“We have really dimensioned all the issues from GenCos to DisCos to end users to metering, and one thing that everybody is very clear of is that it is a big problem.
“So, it is a large problem that will take some time to solve, but the most important thing is that there are milestones of what we are expecting to see.
“The multilateral agencies have pledged their support financially, because those investments are tied to certain results. For example, if you look at the issues around the transmission, power is generated, but can’t be evacuated because the transmission capacity is not there. So, just investing in the transmission capacity in certain areas will change the power outlook.
“From the impression I got, yesterday, from the meeting,they were optimistic that if we actually implement what we’ve planned, and the Minister of Power, Works and Housing was very emphatic that he is going to drive the implementation.
“I feel quite optimistic that it is realistic. We are not saying throw away your generator by December, it is a realistic plan, but it is going to take time.
“If we have power, a lot of factories that have closed down can re-open. So, it ties with our Economic and Recovery Growth Plan.’
Recovered funds will not be re-looted
On recovered funds, she assured that the money would not be re-looted, stressing that the country now has a single account for reconciling recovered funds, to avoid re-looting.
She said: “We have a recovery account. All the recovered monies go into the recovery account which we reconcile.
“Now, in the budget, there was the provision that some recovered monies would go into it and that goes into specific projects in the budget. Any excess recoveries, we have to wait and take some decisions. So far, we have recovered up to the amount we are expecting in the budget.
“But what we are trying to do is to make sure that there are controls, that was why we created a central recovery account. What we also discovered is that so many agencies are recovering and we must keep and eyes on those recoveries, otherwise there is the risk of re-looting.”
“So, all the agencies that recover send us their returns monthly and then we sweep it into a central account, which is kept by the Accountant General so that we can reconcile.
“Even some of the cash that is recovered, we have to make sure it goes into the bank. You’d be surprised, some agencies will recover cash, and they think it is evidence, and we are saying no, it’s money, put it in the bank.
“This is something that is new and I think it is a good thing. As we recover more, we get better at it. It is a new thing in Nigeria.”
According to SBM Intelligence, a consulting firm, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has recorded 38 recoveries, which amount to N146.4 billion, $217.3 million and £2.074 million, as at April 19, 2017.
Apr 25 2017 | Posted in Banking
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By James Eze
The Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, has ordered the arrest of a contractor for failing to execute a road project according to specifications after collecting N200 million mobilisation fee.
Mr. Umahi gave the order on Thursday at Okposi-Umuoghara while inspecting the Okposi-Umuoghara- Ebiaji road project in Ezza North Local Government Area of the state.
The governor also directed that an engineer with the state Ministry of Works, Solomon Eze, be suspended for two months for failing to carry out proper supervision of the project.
An angry Mr. Umahi told his ADC, Jonathan Bawada, to ensure that the two officials of the company who were on the ground be handed over to the police for prosecution.
He described the contracting firm,Tonando Nigeria Ltd., as deceitful and fraudulent, warning that he would not allow any contractor to play on the intelligence of the state government.
The state Commissioner for Works and Transport, Fidelis Nweze, said the company did less than two kilometres of earthwork with poor drainage.
He said the contractor was supposed to have achieved a minimum 40 per cent of the job, whereas “what we saw on ground was less than 10 per cent of the job.”
“We are not happy about it. And on that note, we have suspended the engineer supervising the job from the ministry for two months for not briefing the ministry and government accordingly.
“We will be approaching the court for justice,” Mr. Nweze said.
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Apr 20 2017 | Posted in Construction
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By Abdallah Msuya
Dodoma — Negligence is one of the drawbacks in enforcing safety standards as well as malpractice by some relevant authorities and as a result lead in increase in marine accidents, a report by the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) has claimed.
The report, released last week, shows that a total of 31 marine accidents occurred in Mainland Tanzania between 2015 and 2016, causing 53 deaths, with 884 people surviving with ‘distress.’ The report also included unsafe maritime transportation in Mainland Tanzania.
“Most of these accidents are a result of lack of inspections supposed to be carried out by SUMATRA,” the report made in the public by CAG Prof Mussa Assad last week, says.
It further indicates that both, the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication and the Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (SUMATRA), bear ‘failure’ to discharge their responsibilities efficiently in the area.
It says the two authorities have not effectively managed surveys and inspections of vessels which were operating in Tanzania Mainland, and such, more than 50 percent of small ships do not comply with safety standards.
According to the report, from 2011/2012 to 2015/2016, the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication did not conduct ‘monitors’ on safety issues in the maritime transportation particularly on surveys and inspections as implemented by SUMATRA.
The ministry did not evaluate performance of SUMATRA regarding implementation of the strategic objective on how to reduce accidents to zero on ships, and by 50 percent each year for small ships.
The CAG report faults SUMATRA for not giving stop orders and penalties to most of the defaulters of safety standards, noting that in 2015/2016 only 1.85 percent of defaulters were penalized. The report makes staggering revelation that four ships of MV Vero, MV Juliana, MV Norris and MV St Mathew were given safety certificates, while they had not rectified deficiencies observed during surveys and inspections.
“However the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication did not take any action when SUMATRA issued safety certificates to those ships,” reads the report. He said, ultimately SUMATRA target of reducing accidents were not met and what came instead were recurring marine accidents.
“This contributed to risk of making maritime transportation in Tanzania Mainland unsafe,” reveals CAG Prof Mussa Assad’s report. The CAG called for thorough monitoring and evaluation on the performance of SUMATRA specifically on surveys and inspections of both ships and boats.
“The Ministry of Work, Transport and Communication must access its capacity in terms of human resources with respect to overseeing SUMATRA’s execution of its responsibility,” the CAG urged.
He added that the ministry should establish proper reporting mechanisms, which will ensure delivery of information from SUMATRA regarding safety management in maritime transportation. “Both survey and inspection of vessels if properly conducted can help to reduce non-compliance of safety standards.
Ultimately it can reduce the number of accidents and incidences in maritime transportation,” CAG says in his report. In urging Sumatra to be more responsible, GAG said the authority should ensure that all small ships are licensed and registered timely and the database are established and maintained.
He said the authority, also need to establish computerised system for documentation of maritime activities such as registration of ships, register of small ships, records of surveys and inspections for ships and boats as well as non-compliance of safety standards.
A report on Trends, Causal Analysis, and Recommendations from 14 Years of Ferry Accidents (2016) by Worldwide Ferry Safety Association showed listed Tanzania among top five countries, alongside Indonesia, Bangladesh, Senegal, and the Philippines, that were responsible for almost two-thirds of 21,574 reported fatalities in the 14-year period.
According to the report, Tanzania had 15 percent of proportion of ferry fatalities in the 14-year period.
Sumatra’s own report on ‘why marine accidents will always increase,’ mentions main cause factors as vessels being overloaded with passengers and cargo; while most of the vessels do not have the required standards and are operated with unqualified and inexperienced staff.
Apr 18 2017 | Posted in Transportation
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By Janeth Mesomapya
Dar es Salaam — President John Magufuli has laid a foundation stone for the new 300km Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro.
During the event held Wednesday in Pugu, a few kilometres west of Dar es Salaam City, the President said the project will create 600,000 employment opportunities, stimulate trade relations within Tanzania and with its neighbours, improve tourism sector and other economic sectors.
“This is an opportunity to grow and excel in our industrial revolution drive which is the current national focus as we set our eyes to become a middle income country,” he added.
He further ordered the Minister of Works, Transport and Communication, Prof Makame Mbarawa to ensure that Pugu residents were the major beneficiaries of the employment chances which will be created by the project whose construction time has been pegged at 30 months.
The modern railway will be able to transport 10,000 tonnes of cargo at once. Its passenger train will travel at the speed of 160km per hour.
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Apr 12 2017 | Posted in Transportation
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By Jimmey C. Fahngon
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Tuesday inspected ongoing works on the Freeport-Red Light and Bardnersville-Caldwell road projects, outside of Monrovia.
The President expressed excitement over the level of works being done on the two road projects.
She thanks contractors for progress made thus far, and urged them to continue to do better job on the two major roads.
Earlier, the Project Support Officer on Somalia Drive road project, Madam Deena Cooper said work on the road is progress as planned.
She said six kilometers of the targeted eight kilometers for this dry season has been completed.
Madam Cooper said considering the progress made thus far, they might complete the pavement of more than eight kilometers this dry season.
She said when they complete the pavement of the first two lanes, they will immediately begin work on the second two lanes that are currently been used by vehicles.
Already, she said the two lanes bridge over the Stockton Creek has been completed, while work on the second two lanes bridge has begun and will be completed by this October.
In brief chat with journalists, Public Works Minister Gyude Moore said work on the Freeport-Red Light road will be completed and dedicated before the tenure of this administration is expired.
Minister Moore said though the tenure of the Unity Party-led government is waning down, but the Ministry of Public Works is not waning down considering the need for good roads in Liberia.
On the Bardnersville-Caldwell Road, the contractors said work on the road is also progressing and will be completed as planned.
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Apr 5 2017 | Posted in Transportation
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By S. Kannay Ziamo, Lina Nimba County Correspondent
Nimba County administration and the Ministry of Public Works through its FRAM project Tuesday launched a 4.5 kilometer street pavement project in Ganta, the county’s commercial city.
The project targets the asphalt pavement of two major streets, including the one running from the LPMC junction passing through the LPMC bye-pass and connecting the Monrovia highway and another starting from the Ganta main street passing through one of the largest communities, Deakehmein, and ending at the LPMC back road.
The project started immediately following the formal launch with Nimba County earth moving equipment grading the two streets targeted under the project.
The estimated cost and duration is not yet known as Nimba County Superintendent D. Dorr Cooper has promised to provide further details on the project in the shortest possible time.
Speaking during the launch, Superintendent Cooper said the project will be jointly carried out by the Nimba County administration and the Liberian government through the FRAM program of the Public Works Ministry.
He said, the two streets were selected based on their importance to the “fastly growing city.”
According to Cooper, when completed, the streets will help reduce traffic congestion and promote economic activities in that part of the city.
He argued that Ganta as a rapidly growing city, deserves better and the paving of some major streets in the city is just one of the several good things the people of Nimba have benefited from the Unity Party-led government.
Superintendent Cooper also disclosed that some funding are being sourced through the government to enable the county repair all of its earth moving equipment to enable the completion of streets that were started in major cities across the county.
He told journalists that for several months, all road projects in the county were at a standstill due to lack of money to have the county’s equipment that were already broken down repaired.
For his part, Ganta City Mayor Benjamin Dokpah expressed delight at the project and promised to work with implementing partners to ensure its timely and satisfactory completion.
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Mar 31 2017 | Posted in Construction
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By Hamida Assan
Blantyre — The Roads Authority (RA) with funding from Roads Administration has budgeted public funds for the procurement of various works in the 2017/2018 financial year aimed at maintaining and rehabilitating roads and bridges across the country.
According to a statement by RA inviting bids from suitable contractors released on March 27, RA has funds meant to cover eligible payments under the Road and Bridge Maintenance Programme for the procurement of various Civil Works contracts in the 2017 to 2018 Annual National Roads Programme.
Recently, a lot of people have been complaining of the condition of different roads including the Mangochi-Liwonde Road which is in a very bad state considering the fact that the road leads to the country’s tourist destinations.
In the Northern Region, there is a total of 17 projects which includes Retainer Pothole Patching, accidents spots improvement interventions measures, Edge lines making and Roads Signs Replacement just to mention a few.
In the Central Region, 18 projects have been targeted which include; section releasing of Kaphiri- Bunda Turn Off Section; Replacement of Diamphwe Bailey Bridge with concrete Deck on Diamphwe-Mikondo and Retainer and pothole patching, slurry sealing and other routine maintenance works on Lilongwe City Roads.
The main target is the Urgent and Emergency Works and Sectional Shoulder Reconditioning in different districts such as Salima, Dedza and Ntcheu.
Lastly, a total of 27 projects are earmarked to take place in the Southern Region in the districts of Neno, Mangochi, Thyolo and Mulanje just to mention a few.
Some of the projects include; pothole patching works and other routine maintenance works on Blantyre-Chingeni Road, Mangochi-Naminga, Miseu 4-Migowi-Chiringa Road and Thyolo-Muloza Road among numerous other roads.
The Roads Authority is inviting sealed bids from eligible bidders for the execution of various Civil Works Contracts for the 2017 to 2018 financial year and the projects which are costing within the range of over 200 million and 1 billion Kwacha.
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Mar 29 2017 | Posted in Construction
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By Mandla Mnyakama
The deadly taxi violence which erupted in Delft and Nyanga recently has come to an end. On Sunday, rival Cape Town taxi organisations reached a peace agreement, ending weeks of violence.
Negotiations between the Delft Taxi Associations (DTA) and Cape Amalgamated Taxi Association (CATA) were led by an independent government-appointed mediation group. Representatives from South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO), the Department of Transport and Public Works and the City of Cape Town also attended the meeting.
They have agreed to continue operations peacefully since services resumed on Friday morning.
“In the preamble to the agreement, taxi operators acknowledged the detrimental effects that the conflict had on the communities,” said Donald Grant, Western Cape Transport and Public Works Department MEC.
“All groups committed themselves to resolving any future conflicts through peaceful dialogue. The taxi operators agreed to continue with further discussions to resolve a list of issues that were identified through the mediation process,” said Grant.
Grant commended the police for “the role they played in addressing the criminal actions” allegedly perpetrated by warring taxi drivers. He said police and law enforcement officers would continue monitoring the area.
Victor Wiwi, CATA chairperson, said, “Everything is getting back to normal. We are very pleased that we have reached an agreement, even though we have still got some issues to sort out.”
“We are happy and hope that it [the taxi violence] will never happen again,” said Nazeem Daniels, a spokesperson for the DTA.
Frederick Van Wyk, Western Cape SAPS spokesperson confirmed that there was still a heavy presence of police in the area. He said no incidents were reported over the weekend.
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Mar 28 2017 | Posted in Transportation
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By Werner Menges
CHIEF Justice Peter Shivute and appeal judges Sylvester Mainga and Dave Smuts reserved their judgement on Friday after about three hours of oral arguments in the appeal hearing of the controversial multi-billion dollar airport upgrade tender involving a Chinese company. No indication was given when judgement would be delivered.
President Hage Geingob and the ministers of finance and works are appealing a September 2016 High Court judgement which set aside as invalid, instructions directing the parastatal to stop tender processes for the upgrading of Hosea Kutako International Airport, by the minister of works and transport to the Namibia Airports Company (NAC) in December 2015.
When the minister gave the instructions to the NAC, he was in turn acting on an instruction from President Geingob, who decided in December 2015 that the award of the airport upgrading contract, at a cost of US$477 (about N$6,2 billion at the current exchange rate), to Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Group, should be cancelled and a new tender be issued because proper tender procedures had not been followed.
Geingob’s decision followed critical media coverage and a public outcry over allegations of bribery and corruption during the bid evaluation stage of the tender process, as well as claims that some of the most cost-effective bids had been sidelined and ignored.
Anhui, which eventually won the tender, challenged the cancellation of the tender in the Windhoek High Court, and succeeded when judge Shafimana Ueitele found in September last year that the minister of works had not acted in accordance with the Airports Company Act, and also did not exercise his own discretion as required by the law, when carrying out the presidential instruction to cancel the multibillion-dollar tender.
One of the lawyers representing the President and two ministers, Sisa Namandje, conceded on Friday that the minister of works had not strictly complied with the Airports Company Act when he instructed the NAC to cancel the tender.
However, that would still not benefit Anhui in its quest to secure the airport construction contract, Namandje argued. Referring to the State Finance Act and the Tender Board Act, Namandje argued that because there was no prior treasury authorisation for the planned project and the spending it would require, the award of the contract to Anhui was also not lawful.
The Tender Board Act was also not adhered to, because the contract was not awarded to Anhui by Namibia’s Tender Board, which should make such an award, but by the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Works and Transport, who did not have the power to award the contract to Anhui, Namandje argued further.
South African senior counsel Nazeer Cassim, representing Anhui, also made a concession to the court. He said the fact that Anhui had been informed by the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Works and Transport that the contract was awarded to it did not mean that the company had the contract, since an agreement on the project had not been signed between the NAC and Anhui.
Expenditure – and the requirement in terms of the State Finance Act that there has to be prior treasury approval for spending – would be involved only once an agreement between the NAC and Anhui had been finalised, Cassim said.
This did not leave Anhui in a secure position, though, he acknowledged. On a remark from Chief Justice Shivute, who said it seemed to him that Anhui’s position was precarious, Cassim responded that it was indeed commercially very precarious. He added that the NAC, which would have to rely on government funding if the project were to go ahead, was similarly in an uncertain and insecure position with regard to the project.
While Cassim argued that the case was about a wrongful intrusion by the minister of works into the NAC’s functions, Namandje focused his argument on the alleged invalidity of the contract awarded to Anhui.
That award should have been declared unlawful and set aside by the High Court, Namandje argued. He asked the Supreme Court judges to reverse judge Ueitele’s decision not to set aside the award to Anhui.
Namandje, along with government lawyer Marius Boonzaier, represented the President and two ministers. Cassim, Johannesburg-based legal counsel Sandra Freese, and Werner Boesak represented Anhui on instructions from Petrus Elago.
Mar 6 2017 | Posted in Construction
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