How the COVID-19 Crisis Can Reinvent Roadways

With fewer cars on U.S. streets, now is the time to reinvent roadways and how we use them.

By Kevin Krizek

Sticking closer to home because of COVID-19 has shown many people what cities can be like with less traffic, noise, congestion and pollution. Roads and parking lots devoted to cars take up a lot of land. For example, in Phoenix, Los Angeles and New York City these spaces account for over one-third of each city’s total area.

When stay-at-home orders went into effect in many parts of the U.S. in March, streets and parking lots went dormant seemingly overnight. Within days, municipalities across the U.S. started shifting these spaces to other uses that better suit people.

Tanker accident kills one in Lagos

A female adult has reportedly died, in Mile 2 area of Lagos, Friday, following a lone accident involving a tanker. The incident occurred at about 5.30am, inward the Nigerian Army Signal Barracks. The tanker with number plate KSF 260 XY, was laden with 55,000 litres of premium motor spirit as at the time of the incident. The tanker driver was in the company of his Motor Boy and an unidentified female adult when they were caught up in the incident.

The Director-General, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency LASEMA, Dr Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, has since confirmed the incident. The tanker was said to have slipped into a pothole directly in front of the Signal Barracks and fell sideways, thereby spilling its contents On noticing the incident, both the driver and his Motor Boy were said to have fled the scene. It was gathered that the driver and Motor Boy were lucky to have escaped unhurt but the female adult who was seated beside the driver was trapped to death. Her remains were pinned to dashboard from the impact of the tanker head. LASEMA boss said the Agency’s heavy-duty equipment (Crane) was en-route to the scene in order to recover the tanker together with its contents. As at the time of this report, the contents were on hold pending the time the ownership of the tanker and/or product will be determined. Also, blanketing of the scene has taken place just as emergency responders were on ground to forestall exigencies

culled from: Vanguard

by;

By Bose Adelaja

Read more at: https://www.vanguardngr.com/2020/08/tanker-accident-kills-one-in-lagos/

Nigeria will pay back Chinese debt in 20 years – minister

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, says Nigerian government has the capability to pay back loans collected for the construction of rail projects within the stipulated period of 20 years.

Amaechi, in a statement on Saturday, said China was the only country giving out loans with a low interest rate of 2.8 per cent.

He said no country in the world would give out a loan without a guarantee to pay back such loans.

“The trade agreement between Nigeria and China, the ministry of transportation does not take loan, everything about loan is directed to the Ministry of Finance, so, I couldn’t have signed any loan because I don’t take loan.

“What I signed is what is called commercial contract, which is contract between the Federal Government and CCECC as a contractor, the contract between Nigeria and China is usually signed by the ministry of finance.

“Whether is the ministry of finance that signed it or the ministry of transportation, the issue is that nobody will give you loan free of charge.

“There must be an agreement and such agreement must contain some terms, that doesn’t mean that you are signing away the sovereignty of the country, no country will sign out its sovereignty.

“What clause 8 says is, I expect you to pay according to those terms we have agreed, if you don’t pay, don’t throw your immunity on me when I come to collect back the guarantee that was put forward, that is all.

“We are paying the loans. In the same National Assembly sitting, they were told that of the 500 million dollars loan, we have paid 96 million dollars already, Nigeria is already paying.

“And the 500 million dollars was not taken by us, it was taken by President Goodluck Jonathan in his term and that clause was there.

“Nigeria has the capacity to pay back for the period of 20 years at 2.8 per cent, which country will give you that loan? Secondly, these loans are not given to us, they are paid directly to the contractors.

“Once they sign that the job has been done, they pay the contractors and that has never happened before and this project are in place. Are they trying to rubbish the fact that there is a railway from Abuja-Kaduna?

“There is no loan in Nigeria, either internal or external that is not approved by the National Assembly, none.

“Chinese government will not even give you a loan without an approval by the National Assembly because if they give you a loan without the approval from NASS that is no loan,” Amaechi explained.

The minister further said the government needed the loans to boost infrastructure in the country.

According to him, the sovereign guarantee and sovereign immunity clause raised by the NASS is a term used to ensure that loans collected are paid back.

The minister said in the case of a default, only the assets constructed with such a loan would be taken back.

He said, “What you do is you give a sovereign guarantee and that guarantee is the immunity clause they are talking about.

“When we say, I give you a sovereign guarantee and we get immunity clause, the immunity clause is that, if tomorrow I am not able to pay and you come to collect the items we have agreed upon, that these are the items that am putting down as guarantee, I can waive my immunity and say no you can’t touch it am sovereign country.

“So, they are saying, if you are not able to pay, don’t stop us from taking back those items that will make us recover our funds. So, is China our father that will give us money for free?

“It is a standard clause in every agreement whether is America we signed it with, whether is Britain, any country would want to know that they can recover their money.

“Anybody that is saying he doesn’t know what a sovereign guarantee or immunity is, too bad for the person, because it simply means in trade that I am not giving you this loan free of charge.

“Just like you go to the bank to collect a loan, the moment you don’t pay they go after your assets you put down, that is all about the clause, the Chinese can never come and take over Aso Rock and become President or Minister.

“And if the assets you put down become depreciated then you negotiate which assets they can go after. Chinese will never take over what was not constructed with the loan.”

Amaechi noted that it would be unconstitutional to take a loan not approved by the NASS, but for confidentiality in government he would have published the clauses generating the dusts.

The minister while asking the reason for the investigation by the NASS added that they were aware of all the loans.

He said, “The Chinese is just asking us to show them the evidence that we will pay back, which is the immunity clause. If we don’t pay, they can take back their assets.”

On the Zambia experience, where the country could not meet up with its loan agreement, the minister said that the Chinese government will never take over infrastructure that was not constructed from the money taken.

He also acknowledged that the finance ministry in a payment plan had started paying back some of the loans collected.

He said the payment plan was the responsibility of the ministry of finance, and the Ministry of transportation was supposed to implement the contract.

“They are meeting the requirements, at any point in time that we need to pay, we’ll pay.

“1.6 billion dollars was taken to fix Lagos to Ibadan, we are asking for 5.3 billion dollars to fix from Ibadan to Kano.

“3.2 billion dollars to fix Port Harcourt to Maiduguri, then Lagos to Calabar which is about 11.1 billion dollars.

“If those things were done when we had money, the infrastructure will be here today? The answer is no,” Amaechi added.

The minister called on the National Assembly and Nigerians to appreciate government effort in providing infrastructure in the country.

Amaechi noted that the Itakpe-Warri rail project in the South South, which was abandoned for 34 years by successive governments, was fully rehabilitated by the present administration without seeking for loan.

By Mmokutmfon-Abasi Etokakpan -August 2, 2020

Today.ng

Ex-President Jonathan also got loan from China – Minister tells PDP

By Chidinma Uchechukwumgemezu -August 5, 2020

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, says former President Goodluck Jonathan also took a loan from China.

Katch Ononuju, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), while appearing as a guest on an AIT programme on July 30, had accused Amaechi of perpetrating fraud under the guise of securing funds for railway projects and advised him to resign.

But in an interview with Channels TV on Tuesday, Amaechi said the call for his resignation was unnecessary as the loan being referred to by the PDP chieftain was actually taken during Jonathan’s tenure.

Amaechi also clarified that the immunity referred to in the loan agreement does not relate to the country’s sovereignty as a nation but to Nigeria’s immunity from arbitration.

“There’s a gentleman who went to AIT, and said ‘oh I should resign’ and I wonder which university he graduated from, certainly not University of Port Harcourt,” Amaechi said.

“He said I should resign. Resign from what? Are you saying those projects weren’t executed? Is there no Kaduna-Abuja railway?

“By the way, he said he is PDP; that loan was taken under President Goodluck Jonathan’s government.

“The loan he’s talking about the Kaduna-Abuja railway was signed by the President Goodluck Jonathan government.

“Don’t forget that we told the whole world when commissioning that project, that 80 percent of that project was executed by President Goodluck Jonathan’s government.

“The loan was taken by President Goodluck Jonathan’s government, and for that reason we had to name the train station and infrastructure in Agbor after President Goodluck Jonathan’s government for that laudable achievement.”

Recently, a House of Representatives panel expressed concern about a clause conceding Nigeria’s sovereignty to China in a loan agreement.

The contentious clause is in article 8(1) of the commercial loan agreement between Nigeria and Export-Import Bank of China.

Culled from: Today.ng

MOMAN: Nigeria heading towards full deregulation of petrol

By Chidinma Uchechukwumgemezu -August 5, 2020

The Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) says Nigeria is gradually heading towards full deregulation of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) which will enable pump price to be determined by market forces.

Mr Tunji Oyebanji, Chairman, MOMAN, disclosed this on Wednesday in an interview with newsmen in Lagos.

Newsmen report that unlike in past months, the Petroleum Products Pricing for Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) has yet to release the monthly pricing modulation for petroleum products for August.

The monthly pricing determines the pump price that the products will be sold to motorists.

However, the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has fixed N138.62 as ex-depot price fixed for PMS, also known as petrol, effective Aug. 5.

Oyebanji, who was reacting to the development, said it would give marketers the option to adjust their prices.

He said: “So what the PPMC has done is to look at the average cost of fuel for the last 30 days and arrive at a workable figure that will protect the interest of marketers and end users.

“It takes about 45 days for a cargo to get here and the prices will fluctuate during that period so that is why they use average.

“Ultimately, we are closer to full deregulation now because government has said no more subsidy and that market forces will determine the price.

“Before they didn’t allow marketers to fix the price but with this latest step whereby they only release the ex-depot price and gave them margin on top, it will now be left for the marketers to determine the pump price.”

Oyebanji explained that the margin to be added to the ex-depot price would be determined by the marketers themselves which would increase competition in the sector.

“Some marketers may decide to add N14 or N15 which will put the pump price between N150 and N151 per litre. That is our assumption and understanding because nobody has said so expressly.

“If this is allowed, it means they are listening to what we have been saying all along and so long the ex-depot price is based on realistic commercial parameters, marketers will be able to operate,” he added.

The MOMAN chairman said marketers can now decide where to make their profits from the various allowed margins such as transportation margin, dealers’ margin and marketers’ margin.

Oyebanji said: “So they can look at their businesses holistically and decide to forgo profit from one end in order to attract more customers.

“That is why you find some marketers in Ibadan for instance selling at a low price because instead of making N2 from transportation side, they have decided that they will not make any money there and reflect it on their pump price to make more sales.

“This will increase competition and those who cannot cope will either merge or fold up.”

culled from: Today.ng

Noida Couple Killed In Car Accident Near Mussoorie

SOURCE: NDTV

The incident occurred near Kimadi village, around four km from Mussoorie, when the car slipped off the rain-swept road and fell into a deep gorge, State Disaster Response Force sources said.

A couple from Noida was killed and two others, including their daughter, were injured on Sunday when their car fell into a gorge near Mussoorie, officials said.

The incident occurred near Kimadi village, around four km from Mussoorie, when the car slipped off the rain-swept road and fell into a deep gorge, State Disaster Response Force sources said.

The dead were identified as 55-year-old Neeraj Tyagi, a businessman, and his wife Shagun (52), they said.

Their daughter Arushi (27) and driver Ashok Kumar (35) were injured and have been hospitalised, they said.

The couple, residents of Sector 40 in Noida, were related to BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy as well as JD(U) leader K C Tyagi, family sources said.

China becoming apprehensive about Nigerian loans, says FG

Source: PUNCH

By: Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja

China is becoming apprehensive about releasing loans to Nigeria following probes by the National Assembly on loans earlier released to Nigeria by the Asian nation, the Federal Government said on Tuesday.

Although the government insisted that no nation could recolonise Nigeria as a result of Nigeria’s indebtedness, it cautioned lawmakers not to hamper its ability to access international funds.

The Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, and the Minister of Justice/Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, said this in a live television programme monitored by our correspondent in Abuja.

Both ministers argued that Nigeria’s sovereignty was not at risk in the country’s loan agreements with China, as recently claimed by the National Assembly.

Amaechi said the probe by the National Assembly had made some Chinese to think that Nigeria was probing the loan agreements in order not to repay the about $2bn so far collected from China.

He said, “You know, I specifically urged the National Assembly to please be careful about this probe on the loan agreements. It is because we are trying to make an application for the Port Harcourt Maiduguri rail.

“If nothing else is happening, you know that our brothers are already saying that we don’t want to do any rail project in the South-East.”

He added, “Now that we are planning to say that they should give us some loan for us to construct Port Harcourt to Maiduguri, and we are about to go to cabinet for approval, you are now shouting these terms are bad, Chinese people are wicked.

 “How will they give you the money? I have documents to the effect that we are getting signals that they are becoming a bit apprehensive on whether we are doing this because we don’t want to pay them back.”

The minister said Nigeria must learn to pay back loans collected from other nations or agencies, adding that the about $500m loan for the Abuja-Kaduna railway was currently being serviced.

He said, “Nobody has signed out anything. A sovereign nation is a sovereign nation; nobody can recolonise us. We must learn to pay our debts and we are paying, and once you are paying, nobody will come and take any of your assets.”

On his part, Malami explained that there was a difference between international diplomatic immunity, which had to do with a nation’s sovereignty, and commercial immunity, which had to do with a commitment to ensure repayment of loans.

He said the misconception was that the National Assembly was looking at the diplomatic immunity as against the commercial immunity of a country that had to do with loans.

Copyright PUNCH.

Road accidents biggest killer of young people – WHO

Road injuries are now the biggest killer of children and young adults worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The organisation published figures that also reveal Africa has the worst rate of road traffic deaths in the world.

Its report says many African and South American countries still do not have sufficient speed limit laws.

But it also highlights that global road death rates relative to the size of the world’s population are stabilising.

Car accidents are now the leading global cause of death amongst children and young adults aged five to 29 years old, the report says.

It contends that says more people die from road-related injuries than from HIV/Aids, tuberculosis or diarrhoeal diseases.

“These deaths are an unacceptable price to pay for mobility,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s director-general.

“There is no excuse for inaction. This is a problem with proven solutions.”

Graphic showing road traffic death rates around the world

‘No limits’

The WHO report says that at 26.6 deaths per 100,000 people, Africa’s road fatality rate is nearly three times that of Europe, which has the lowest globally.

It says nearly half of the 54 countries in Africa have no speed laws or speed limits in place.

Botswana, Ivory Coast and Cameroon have all seen death rates increase. Egypt, Angola, Burkina Faso and Burundi are among those that have seen a reduction.

Africa also has the highest rate of pedestrian and cyclist mortality.

Rises – and falls

According to the latest data, about 1.35 million people were killed in car accidents around the world in 2016, up slightly from previous years.

The risk of road deaths is said to be three times higher in low-income countries.

South-East Asia trails Africa as the second-most dangerous region, followed by the eastern Mediterranean.

But despite an increase in the number of deaths, the WHO says the global death rate from road accidents has stabilised in recent years.

The WHO attributes this to increased safety efforts in middle- and high-income countries. These include the development of safer infrastructure like cycling lanes, and “better” legislation on speeding, seat belts and vehicle standards.

Europe, the Americas and the Western Pacific have all seen a drop in road traffic death rates.