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Local contractors gets N15b vote in Budget 2021

Nduka Chiejina, Abuja

 

SOME N15 billion has been allocated to settle local contractors’ debts in next year’s Appropriation Bill, the budget details under the Service Wide Votes (SWV), has shown.

In August, contractors under the aegis of Local Contractors of Nigeria picketed the Federal Ministry of Finance over unpaid executed contracts spanning between three to 12 years and running into billions of naira in the various government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

Accommodation has also been made in the budget for N5.750 billion to pay Nigeria Airways ex-workers. The government also plans to inject N15 billion into development finance, it is unclear however whether the allocation would be for a single Development Finance Institution (DFI), or not.

There are ongoing plans to recapitalise the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) with 2021 set as the target year to actualise the proposal.

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The injection of additional capital into the DBN is expected to boost its capacity to fund more Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

Also in the coming year, the government said it would release a grant of N10 billion to the Bank of Industry (BoI) “to support low interest lending to SMEs.”

Aside from the DBN, other DFIs in Nigeria include: Bank of Agriculture (BOA); BoI, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN); Nigeria Export Import Bank (NEXIM) and The Infrastructure Bank.

Also provisioned in the Appropriation Bill under Service Wide Vote, N25 billion has been earmarked for special intervention, while N5 billion has been set aside to settle MDAs electricity bills. In the budget also, N17.899 billion will be refunded to a  Special Account and another N16.703 billion to the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON).  A N20 billion provision has been made to address Special Intervention Programmes (SIPs) and projects

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FG to pay local contractors N15bn

By Nduka Chiejina (Assistant Editor)

The Federal Government has budgeted N15 billion in 2021 to settle local contractors.

This is contained in the 2021 budget details under Service Wide Votes captured as payment of local contractors debt.

In August, contractors under the aegis of Local Contractors of Nigeria picketed the Federal Ministry of Finance demanding to be paid for contracts executed three to 12 years ago and running into billions of Naira in various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government.

Nigeria Airways ex-workers have been scheduled to be paid N5,750,380,668 in 2021.

Also for next year, the government has made provision to inject N15 billion into “Development Finance Institution (DFI).”

The budget did not specify if the N15 billion is for all the DFIs or just one.

Plans have been on to recapitalise the Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) with 2021 as the target year for additional funds to be injected into the bank.

The injection of additional capital into the DBN will boost its capacity to fund more Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

Next year, the government will release a grant of ₦10 billion “to BoI to support low-interest lending to SMEs”.

Aside from DBN, other Development Finance Institutions in Nigeria include the Bank of Agriculture (BOA); Bank of Industry (BoI); Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN); Nigeria Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) and The Infrastructure Bank.

READ ALSO: How FG will finance 2021 budget — Osinbajo

Under Service Wide Vote in 2021, N25 billion has been earmarked for special intervention; ₦5 billion to settle MDAs electricity bills.

N17,899,000,000 will be refunded into the special account, and another ₦16,703,390,000 will be returned to the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) while ₦20 billion will be spent on special intervention programmes and projects next year.

₦15,000,000,000 will spent

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Canning Boulevard improvement project heading toward the home stretch – News – Wicked Local

FALL RIVER – Hang tight, all you drivers heading north on William S. Canning Boulevard en route to SouthCoast Marketplace.

It won’t be long before your final approach to the popular shopping center in the city’s far South End becomes easier and safer.

Preliminary work is now underway to construct a slip ramp, also known in the parlance of road construction as either a slip lane or slip road.

“It will alleviate congestion and improve access to SouthCoast Marketplace,” said Paul Ferland, who oversees Fall River’s sewer and water divisions in his role as the city’s community utilities administrator.

Ferland says the new ramp, or lane, will sit parallel to the shopping center’s main entrance-and-exit road and will run adjacent to the Santander Bank branch.

The new road will be functional before the arrival of Thanksgiving on Nov. 26, he said.

Ferland said northbound and southbound drivers exiting nearby Route 24 will appreciate the road addition, as will people driving in from Tiverton and down the Canning Boulevard/Route 81 hill from the Stafford Road rotary.

The new entrance road will eliminate the need for northbound traffic to swerve into the right-hand lane to enter the shopping center — which in turn should create a more orderly and safer two-lane path for drivers heading past SouthCoast Marketplace.

“I know a lot of people will be happy when this is done,” said John Perry, director of the city’s Department of Community Maintenance.

Ferland said the state’s Department of Transportation has approved plans and designs for two new, large traffic signal lights to be installed at the intersection in front of SouthCoast Marketplace.

He says synchronization of the lights will be fine-tuned to create a more orderly flow of traffic from various turn lanes.

Another road improvement soon to be undertaken will be

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Home remodels are booming in Santa Fe | Local News

The perfect storm of home renovations is upon us.

So many people are spending so much time at home these days that a dwelling’s imperfections become that much more apparent.

Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and a home sales boom in which buyers are willing to invest in long-term changes once they get the keys, Santa Fe remodeling companies are booked solid with orders.

“It’s in hyperdrive right now,” said Steve Pompei, owner of Pompei’s Home Remodeling in Santa Fe. “I am stacking jobs into next summer. My lead time is usually two to three months.”

Remodeling in Santa Fe boomed during the last recession a dozen years ago, an outgrowth of what then was a home-sales bust. Many of those builders-turned-remodelers remain in the game and say they find themselves with plenty of work in the COVID age.

“The only thing that has happened in COVID is the phone is ringing more,” said Douglas Maahs, owner of DMC, a Santa Fe-based remodeler. “More people are looking for remodel than before. People have been at home and decide, ‘We are stuck here, let’s do something.’ ”

Santa Fe resident Miles D. Conway left on a three-day trip with his son, Tilman, to look at colleges, and when they came home, his wife, Mikahla Beutler, had that grin.

“ ‘Look, no carpeting. We are remodeling the upstairs,’ ” Conway recounted, noting he was unaware that the pending remodel would start during his short absence. “It went from just putting in flooring and turned into a full upstairs remodel.”

Boni Armijo, owner of Building Adventures Unlimited in Santa Fe, had a steady diet of remodels and additions from homebuyers from Dallas, Houston and Manhattan, N.Y., until the pandemic started.

“What has changed is the clientele we are getting,” Armijo said.

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Contractors still owed hundreds of millions | Local Business

The Housing Development Corporation (HDC) still owes contractors $588 million for outstanding work prior to 2015, HDC chairman Noel Garcia confirmed yesterday.

Of that sum, only $7 million is owed to small contractors, he said.

He told the Sunday Express the HDC hopes to pay off the small contractors by February 2021, from a fund it set up specially to meet arrears to them.

Garcia said the remaining sum is owed to bigger contractors and the HDC will honour its legal commitments to its contractors and service providers.

In July 2019, the HDC had quantified the debt owed to contractors at $698,516,843 after making 271 payments to contractors for the sum of $139,853,660 in June 2019.

Garcia explained that before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in March, the HDC had projected it would sell houses valued at $1.2 billion this year.

However, the State housing company has only managed to sell $300 million in houses so far in 2020.

“The problem is that HDC has $3.4 billion worth of homes that need to be sold,” he said,

Further, the HDC’s ability to earn revenue in 2020 was stymied by the moratorium on mortgages, which was one of the measures instituted by the Government to manage the fallout of the pandemic on the country’s most vulnerable people.

For now, the company is focused on converting and preparing its existing house stock, with many in various stages of completion.

Conversely, Garcia observed that the other State company he chairs, the Urban Development Company of Trinidad and Tobago (Udecott) owes “nobody” except for variations and funds in contention.

According to the Central Bank’s July 2020 Economic Bulletin, the construction sector slowed in the first quarter of 2020, bought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The construction sector slowed, based on evidence of a

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