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US Embassy buys 50,000 sqm from Eko Atlantic city at $1.5m

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Eko Atlantic City is not a common place for plots but a haven for the super-rich and corporate bigwigs.

The Nation checks revealed that current land prices in this exclusive enclave are now U$1,800 per square meter for inner city plots while plots located along the road and waterfront are significantly higher at US$2,500 per square meter and US$3,000 per square meter respectively.

The latest entry into the exclusive enclave is the United States of America Embassy in Lagos that acquired 50,000 square meters from the Developer, Messrs South Energyx Nigeria Limited.

At the signing ceremony on Tuesday, the U.S Consul General F. John Bray said Eko Atlantic City was selected for its world-class infrastructure and other important features.

He said the purchase is a 200 year lease which demonstrates their belief in Nigeria and her people and a signal of a long time commitment.

Though he declined to give the asking price but a rough calculation of 50,000 square meters at $3,000.00 comes to about $1.5 million.

He said their commitment demonstrates that they believe in the economic development of the nation and Lagos in particular. Asked the type of structure the embassy is planning to erect, Bray responded that it will depend on what their architects will come up with.

He said: “We will write to our home government which will be followed with the architects coming in to look at our processes and what we do.

“After that initial process they will come up with what will suit our operations. Our current building in Walter Carrington is no longer suitable for our operation that is the major reason we are making this bold move.

“We want to serve anybody with reason to come to us in a conducive atmosphere that suit the moment”.

Chairman, Eko Atlantic City, Mr. Ronald Chagoury who was elated at the turn up of events, said the city has been hosting big clients.

Asked if the U.S Embassy is their biggest client he said no, stating they have bigger clients.

He however, maintained that part of the reason the embassy bought into the dream is as a result of the confidence they have in the totality of the project.

On when the city will be completed, he responded that currently they are reclaiming and building infrastructure which will take up to 5 years.

He cited an example with Victoria Island which started developing in 1967 and is still developing.

It will be recalled that Eko Atlantic City is under Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) initiative between the Lagos State Government and a private concern Messrs South Energyx Nigeria Limited, developers and city planners.

The concept of the city is that it will spread across 7 districts, comprising commercial, residential, financial and tourism developments.

Modeled after the skyscraper District of Manhattan Island in New York City, it is expected that the new city will be home to no fewer than 250,000 residents, with commuter volume expected to exceed 150,000 people daily.

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BUSINESS

‘No plans to relocate NGC headquarters from Niger Delta’

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The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has assured stakeholders that it has no plans to relocate headquarters of its subsidiary, Nigerian Gas Company (NGC) from Delta State.

A statement by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ughamadu, described as unfortunate, statement credited to Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, where he reportedly condemned alleged moves by the corporation to relocate the NGC headquarters from the Niger Delta.

Ughamadu called on the NGC host communities and other stakeholders to disregard the relocation tale, which he described as “totally false”. He maintained that Omo-Agege may have been misinformed or was quoted out of context as the subject of relocation of NGC was never on the table for deliberation.

NNPC promised to ensure harmonious relationship with stakeholders and host communities to entrench a win-win scenario for all.

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Buhari signs AfCFTA agreement at AU Summit

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President Muhammadu Buhari in Niamey, Niger Republic, signed the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, making Nigeria the 53rd state on the continent to append its signature to the document.

Reports reaching Area News, indicated that the president signed the agreement at exactly 10.47 am local time

Buhari had delayed in signing the agreement, which entered into force May 30, 2019.

The delay was to give room for extensive consultations with stakeholders, culminating in the submission of the report by the Presidential Committee to Assess Impact and Readiness of Nigeria to join the free trade area.

The committee had recommended that Nigeria should sign the agreement which aims to boost intra-African trade.

In accepting the report as submitted, the President made it clear that Nigerian government would be seeking to include terms that engender the development of policies that promote African production, among other benefits.

President Buhari said: “Africa, therefore, needs not only a trade policy but also a continental manufacturing agenda.

“Our vision for intra-African trade is for the free movement of `made in Africa goods’. That is, goods and services made locally with dominant African content in terms of raw materials and value addition.

“If we allow unbridled imports to continue, it will dominate our trade. The implication of this is that coastal importing nations will prosper while landlocked nations will continue to suffer and depend on aid.’’

The AfCFTA is expected to be the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization, with a potential market of 1.2 billion people.

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CIFI N20bn loans: Access Bank begins disbursement to creative sector

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Access Bank has commenced disbursement of loans to beneficiaries in the entertainment industry, under the Creative Industry Financing Initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The bank disclosed this during a forum with some stakeholders in the entertainment industry in Lagos on Tuesday.

It said the first tranche of the CIFI loans worth N20bn, would be made easily accessible to the borrowers in the sector.

Bidemi Adeboye of Access Bank said stakeholders in the creative industries such as fashion, Information Technology, movie production, movie distribution, music and software engineering student  could access the loans.

When all documentations were completed and the loans approved, the bank would ensure the beneficiaries got the funds within two weeks, he said.

He added, “The CBN wants to create jobs, develop local capacity, preserve foreign exchange and ensure empowerment in the entertainment industry.

“It is more interested in providing infrastructure funding such as film house, equipment, studio, auditorium, which will make it easier for the entertainers to operate at lower cost and be able to make profit.”

He explained that the loan had maximum interest rate of nine per cent per annum and a repayment period of up to 10 years.

According to him, those who would access the loans should come up with business plan or statement; they must be registered and should be doing what had economic benefits.

Chizoma Okoli of Access Bank said that the CIFI loan was introduced by the CBN to support the creative sector.

She said the bank decided to organise the forum with the stakeholders in the entertainment industry, to get more ideas from them on how best they could disburse the funds to them, and the documents they would need.

Music star, Oladapo Oyebanjo, popular known as D’banj, urged the bank to make the loans easily accessible as promised.

He said, “Most times when we apply for loans, it usually takes up to six months for us to get such. This will be a good development if we can access the loans within two weeks.”

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