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FG finalises $2.5b loan for gas pipeline project

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The Federal Government has confirmed finalisation of a $2.5 billion loan for the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) pipeline. It added that the fund is to be disbursed soon.

While 85 per cent of the facility came from China, the rest 15 per cent was provided by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, NNPC Group Managing Director, Mele Kyari and Chairman, Oilserv, Emeka Okwousa, during a tour of the project yesterday in Ajaokuta, Kogi State, expressed satisfaction with work done. Ninety per cent of job is still to be completed.

Ahmed, who said government had met its funding obligation, stressed the need to rapidly develop infrastructure for gas in the country.

“We have to give a sovereign guarantee to the lender so that the loan is concluded. I am glad to say the loan has been concluded. And very soon, the disbursement to the contractor will start. For now it is $2.5 billion,” she explained.

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As at June this year, Nigeria’s gas reserves were 203.16 trillion cubic feet, according to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), but the resource’s utilisation for economic development was nothing to write home about due to parlous infrastructure and unstable policies.

The minister noted that the current drive was to unlock the nation’s struggling economy through power generation, job creation and industrialisation in the face of dwindling oil revenues.

“We are glad that gas is being piped across the country,” Ahmed said, adding that the development would aid revival of moribund industries nationwide.

Although only 38 per cent of the over 5,120-kilometre of the facility owned by the state oil company currently functions, Kyari said a surveillance system is being constructed along with the AKK project to check vandalism.

“We will deliver this project on schedule. So, we really have no issues around it,” he reassured.

Also speaking, Okwuosa stated that over 10 per cent of the project had been completed in the first phase that spanned over 13 kilometers, with payment fully made.

He observed that the personnel and tools for the job were almost 100 per cent locally sourced.

The chairman asserted that the deployment exceeded extant local content threshold.

While most Chinese-funded schemes had in the past been executed by expatriates, Okwuosa clarified that the most sophisticated technology had been mobilised in deference to local content.

“The things we have to buy overseas of course are things we cannot manufacture here. We are abiding by that. The materials and vehicles are from here. Most of our vehicles are from Innoson. So, local content is exemplified,” he said.

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