Nigeria Announces $5.8bn Deal For Record-Breaking Power Project

The government of Nigeria has announced the award of a $5.8 billion contract to build what will be the largest power plant in the country.

The 3,050-megawatt Mambila hydroelectric power project in the state of Taraba will be delivered by a consortium of Chinese state-owned construction firms.
The megaproject will feature four dams between 50 and 150 meters tall, and take six years to complete, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, told reporters in Abuja.
The Chinese Export-Import Bank will finance 85% of the development, with the Nigerian government contributing 15%.
Minister Fashola claimed the project will deliver far-reaching benefits.
“(Mambila) will have a transformational effect on all of Nigeria’s socio-economic development,” he said through a government spokesman, “It will have considerable positive impact on electricity supply nationwide, productivity, employment, tourism, technology transfer, rural development, irrigation, agriculture and food production.”

False starts

The Mambila hydropower plant has been in development for over 30 years, but previous administrations have made little progress.
In 2007, the Nigerian government awarded a $1.4 billion contract to two Chinese construction firms for a 2,600-megawatt plant, but the agreement broke down soon after.
Attempts were made to revive the deal without success. But the deadlock was broken by conversations between the presidents of China and Nigeria in 2016, according to the spokesman of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The major breakthrough in the execution of this project was achieved when President Muhammadu Buhari initiated discussions at the level of the President of the Peoples Republic of China in the course of his State Visit (in 2016),” wrote government official Garba Shehu.
The meeting resulted in the creation of a consortium of Chinese companies to deliver the project, according to Shehu, and an agreement that the Chinese government would commit finance to it.

Power shortage

Despite being one of the largest economies in Africa, over 40% of Nigerians live without access to electricity, according to World Bank figures.
Hydropower, one of the cleanest and cheapest forms of power, is a key target for development as Nigeria is currently exploiting just a fraction of its potential resources.
The country is also seeking to shift away from oil dependency, after plummeting oil prices triggered a recession.
The clear need for the Mambila project could make it more likely to succeed, some analysts believe.
“The prospects of project implementation starting are perhaps stronger than in previous decades,” says Elizabeth Donnelly, deputy head of the Africa Programme at UK think tank Chatham House. “Nigeria continues, albeit slowly, with its complex power sector reform and badly needs to generate – and more importantly distribute – more power for its 180 million people.”
“Hydroelectricity is an important part of this mix, particularly for rural electrification.”

Risk factors

The location of the development could lead to complications.
“There is strong competition for land in Taraba state, which regularly sees outbreaks of ethno-religious violence,” says Donnelly. “Such a project, with its need to resettle people, could considerably worsen the conflict dynamics and humanitarian situation in the state.”
Environmental groups have also raised concerns about the potential impact.
“If the Mambila dam project does continue, it could mean disastrous environmental and social impacts for those already living in poverty along the banks of the Benue River,” warned NGO International Rivers,
The Nigerian government says that 100,000 people will be displaced by the development, and has pledged to resettle and compensate them.
Taraba state Governor, Darius Dickson Ishaku, has welcomed the project for its potential to boost tourism and agriculture.

Chinese interests

The power plant is one of several major Chinese investments in Nigeria, including multiple railway projects.
In January, Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi announced plans to invest a further $40 billion in Nigeria.
“Nigeria is seen as an important power that China wants good relations with,” says Yun Sun, a scholar of Chinese foreign policy at US think tank, The Stimson Center.
Sun adds that the primary motivation is financial. Investments such as the Mambila power plant make good business sense.
“Nigeria is using Chinese banks to hire Chinese companies for the project, which will create profits and jobs,” she says. “China also wants to identify large projects that make it look good and (Mambila) falls into this category.”
But while China is likely to gain from the deal, Sun sees higher risk on the Nigerian side.
“I am less optimistic about the financial impact on the Nigerian economy as the project is very large and there is a question about how Nigeria will repay the 85% finance from the Export-Import Bank,” she says. “There could be implications for the national debt.”
Source: CNN

North Korea Nuclear Test Rocks Parts Of China

North Korea’s nuclear test Sunday was widely felt in northeast China and rocked some cities for as long as eight seconds, according to reports and accounts on social media.

The tremor was felt as far away as the city of Changchun around 400 km (250 miles) northwest of the North’s test site at Punggye-ri, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

In the small city of Yanji, some 20 km from the border, some people reported the shaking was so intense that they fled their homes.

Jiemiao Cangxin, a commentator on the Chinese microblog Weibo, said his building swayed so much that “I put my underpants on and I just ran, and when I reached the first floor I can say I wasn’t the only one running away with just my underpants on!”

“In Yanji, we felt the shaking for ten seconds,” said Weibo user Buziranshaonv.

“I was lying down and sleeping when the tremor woke me up. At first, I thought it was a dream,” said another.

The test, North Korea’s sixth, was substantially larger than previous ones, measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale according to US monitors.

That would make it between five to six times larger than Pyongyang’s previous effort in September last year, according to South Korea’s weather agency.

The North called it a test of a hydrogen bomb which was a “perfect success”.

Reports of the explosion also provoked widespread concern further away in China, with many commentators speculating about the timing of the event — just hours before Chinese President Xi Jinping is due to open a summit of BRICs nations in southern China.

“An earthquake happened in North Korea, everyone thinks at once it is a nuclear test,” said one user, cheekily adding “is it a form of greetings for the summit in Xiamen?”


‘Untold Story’: Would China’s 72-Year Old Potter Get A Successor?

In China, there is a 72 year old man, Mr. Zu who has a 59 years experience in making beautiful pots from clay.


Since adolescence, Zu has been a Potter breaking new grounds and making waves with his business.


A Potter of distinct attributes, The 75 year old Chinese is capable of making a beautiful pottery from clay within 3 to 4 minutes.


He works in Pinglu, Shanxi province, in China.


With all these attributes Zu has, he is yet to have a successor.


As it is with old age, death might come anytime soon but his agony and biggest challenge however at this time is not death, but a worthy successor.


Indeed, whoever succeeds Zu has all it takes to become If one of the greatest potters in the world.


Watch video of Zu’s handiwork below:


China Lifts 13.9 Million People Out Of Poverty Each Year

China lifted 13.91 million people out of poverty each year from 2012 to 2016 according to a report from the State Council on Tuesday.

Similarly, the annual per capita income in impoverished rural areas has grown to 10.7 per cent every year.

The report on poverty relief work was submitted for review at a five-day bi-monthly session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, which opened on Monday.

“The State Council has always put a lot of effort into poverty relief.

“The government work reports in the past four years all promised to lift at least 10 million out of poverty,’’ said Liu Yongfu, Director of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development.

As of the end of 2016, there were 43.35 million people in China living below the country’s poverty line of 344.30 U.S. dollars of annual income as constant with 2010 prices, accounting for about 3 per cent of China’s population.

About 775,000 officials have been sent to impoverished areas for poverty relief work, said the report.

China has set 2020 as the target year to complete the building of a “moderately prosperous society,’’ which requires the eradication of poverty.

To achieve the target, China needs to bring more than 10 million people out of poverty every year, meaning nearly one million people per month or 20 people per minute.

Mudslide: Two Dead, Twenty-Five People Missing In China

Landslide in Southwest China has left 25 missing and two people dead the state media has reported. Rescuers pulled six people out of the rubble, including two who died, in Bijie, Guizhou province, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing city authorities.Reports say that search efforts are  ongoing.

Video of the landslide posted to the Twitter account of the official People’s Daily showed the side of a hill collapsing, with dirt rushing across the outskirts of the town as onlookers shouted in fright.

Landslides are a frequent danger in rural and mountainous parts of China, particularly after heavy rain.

In June and August, massive landslides in southwestern Sichuan province killed more than 30 and left scores missing.

In July 63 people were killed by landslides and floods in the central province of Hunan. Some 1.6 million people were forced from their homes.

CCCN To Tackle Importation Of Substandard Goods To Nigeria

The China and Nigeria have agreed to put in place measures to tackle importation of substandard products into the country.

President of China and Nigeria Chamber of Commerce (CCCN), Mr Ye Shuijin, made the disclosure Tuesday while speaking with newsmen in Abuja.

He also insisted that most of the imported fake products were not made in China.

He said that the chamber and Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) had some agreements to check influx of substandard products into the country.

“Most of the substandard products that came to Nigeria are not from China because Chinese Government has well structure standards in place for its products.

“China products are of high quality nonetheless Chinese government is already cooperating with the Nigerian government to promote the importation of quality products to Nigeria,” he said.

The quality of imported products like iron rods, bulbs, sockets, cables, and fittings have always a source of worries in the country.

SON raised an alarm in 2016 than 40 per cent of electrical and electronic appliances imported into Nigeria “are substandard and have caused disasters with destruction to lives and property.”

It is also observed that all manner of uncertified food items is dumped in the country.

The National Bureau of Statistics also said Nigeria spent N212.73 billion to import agricultural products in Q4 2016.

The CCCG boss, therefore, stressed the need to guide the importers to do the right things and not to import substandard products to Nigeria.

Shuijin urged the importers and the consumers to be vigilant and reject any noticed sub standard products for the development of the economy.

The president said that the chamber and the Chinese government always encourage investors from China to invest in the manufacturing sector to help in the development of Nigerian economy.

He said that Nigeria because of its population had the market which he said was an added advantage to attract investors into the country.

Shuijin gave the assurance that more Chinese investors would be willing to invest in Nigeria.

Killers Of My Aide Will Never Go Unpunished – Ortom

The Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom has said he will not rest until those who masterminded the assassination of his aide are brought to book.

Ortom who insisted that he will ensure the killers go unpunished, described the ugly incident as not just sad but a deliberate ploy to destabilise his administration.

It would be recalled that Dr. Tavershima Adyorough, who is a Principal Special Assistant to the governor on Knowledge Economy and Investment was shot dead in the early hours of Sunday by unknown gunmen.

However, returning from China during a vacation to inspect industrial equipment, Ortom while fielding questions from newsmen in Abuja said the killing of his aide is a dastardly act, that must be investigated with a view to unraveling the killers.

“My aide was killed, I feel so sad. While I was away, I received the sad news about the brutal assassination of my personal aide, someone who is very close to me, Dr. Tavershima Adyorough. He worked with me while I served as the Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He was my assistant and I found him worthy when I won election.

“He is someone who was knowledgeable and well learned and for him to have been assassinated at this time in the history of state and country where we need people with broad knowledge to support us to succeed in our hard times, I feel very sad and this is something I am not going to take lightly, I have already spoken with security agencies; they should fish out the killers because this cannot be allowed to continue,” Ortom stated.

On his industrialisation trip to China, Ortom explained that the journey was a huge success. “The principal reason I went there was to interact with Chairman Wu; Wu is the core investor to Ngamale Cement factory in Benue State. We inherited the project, it started around 2004 during Senator George Akume’s tenure, it continued during Suswam and when I came in I discovered it was a very viable project and we have done everything needed on the part of government to ensure that this project takes off but unfortunately, there has been delay from the core investor on the shipping of the equipment. “

China Is Hong Kong’s Landlord – Justice Chief

Controversy over a new cross-border rail link which will see mainland laws enforced in a Hong Kong train station escalated Thursday after the justice chief likened China to the city’s “landlord”.

It comes at a time when fears are worsening that Hong Kong’s freedoms are under threat from an increasingly assertive Beijing.

There are already concerns that Chinese operatives are working undercover after the alleged abductions of a city bookseller and a reclusive Chinese businessman.

The West Kowloon terminus is in the heart of semi-autonomous Hong Kong, on its famous Harbourfront, not near the boundary with China that lies further north.

But the Beijing-friendly government wants to create a joint immigration point which would mean parts of the station, the platforms and the train cabins would fall under Chinese jurisdiction.

Critics say the plan is a clear breach of the city’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law, which guarantees freedoms unseen on the mainland and prohibits its law enforcers operating in Hong Kong.

Justice Secretary Rimsky Yuen stoked opponents by likening the arrangement to the relationship between a landlord and tenant.

“The landlord has rented a house to me and then realised he didn’t have enough space and asks me, can you rent a room to me? He has that right,” he said on a radio talk show Wednesday.

Yuen’s comments rang major alarm bells in the pro-democracy camp which has now formed a concerned group.

“If China is our landlord, that means they could ask us to give back land anytime,” opposition lawmaker Tanya Chan told AFP Thursday.

Barrister and former lawmaker Margaret Ng said there was no legal basis for the move to create what the government is calling a “mainland port area” on Hong Kong soil.

The territory’s boundaries are protected by its Constitution, she said.

“If you choose to carve out part of it and call it something else, then we lose our protection altogether,” said Ng.

There are already numerous transport connections between Hong Kong and the mainland, but Chinese immigration checks are done on the other side of the border.

The government insists the plan will save travel time between Hong Kong and the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou and does not breach local laws because Hong Kong’s land and natural resources are “state property”.

Yuen said the arrangement would not diminish the rights of Hong Kong people, who are used to freedom of expression and access social media sites like Facebook, which are banned in China.

But when asked by reporters whether they would need to change their behaviour in mainland parts of the station, Yuen said passengers would be treated as if they had crossed into China at any other Hong Kong border point.

The new high-speed rail line is one of a number of cross-border infrastructure projects which have increased concern that Hong Kong is being swallowed up by the mainland.



Source: Punch

China Set For Showdown At Border With North Korea

There are indications that China could engage North Korea following series of missile tests by Pyongyang and the refusal of its leader Kim Jong-un to stop actions capable of endangering peace in the Korean Peninsula.

Subsequently, the Chinese military has reportedly been building up defences along its border with North Korea that coincide with warnings by President Trump that he is considering military action over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons push.

The Wall Street Journal, citing a review of official military and government websites and interviews with experts, reported that Beijing has built bunkers to protect against nuclear blasts, established a new border brigade and a 24-hour surveillance of the mountainous frontier.

The preparations are intended to respond to worst-case scenarios, like an economic collapse, nuclear contamination or a conflict, the experts told the paper.

The Chinese government has not spoken out about the report of preparations. An official from its defence ministry said in a statement that the forces “maintain a normal state of combat readiness and training.”

“Military means shouldn’t be an option to solve the Korean Peninsula issue,” a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Mark Cozad, who works at the Rand Corp think tank, told the paper these preparations “go well beyond” creating a buffer zone at the border.

“If you’re going to make me place bets on where I think the U.S. and China would first get into a conflict, it’s not Taiwan, the South China Sea or the East China Sea: I think it’s the Korean Peninsula,” he said.

The Trump administration is searching for more effective ways to ramp up pressure on North Korea over its nuclear weapons program.

Pyongyang’s recent successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile — the first by the North — has created even more urgency as the U.S. seeks to stop North Korea before it can master the complex process of putting a nuclear warhead atop a missile capable of hitting the United States.

President Trump has expressed frustration that his initial strategy — enlisting China’s help and influence to squeeze the North economically and diplomatically has not yielded major results.

Trump’s administration is also considering other economic steps including “secondary sanctions” that could target companies and banks — mostly in China — that do even a legitimate business with North Korea, officials said.

Flood: China Feels The Horror

Heavy rain in the central and eastern parts of China’s northeastern city of Jilin, local authorities said Monday, Xinhua reports on Thursday and Friday has left much of the province inundated. At least Eighteen people have died and another 18 remain missing as a result of the flood.

The city of Jilin was severely flooded and more than 110,000 people had to be relocated, according to the city flood control and drought relief office.

A 32,360-strong search and rescue team has been deployed in the city to remove the sludge and debris, repair bridges, and reconnect households to telecommunications and electricity networks.

Modeste Leaves Cologne For China

French striker Anthony Modeste made the first major move of the Chinese transfer window when he joined Tianjin Quanjian from Cologne in a deal that could be worth €35 million.

The forward, third-highest scorer in the German Bundesliga last season with 25 goals, moved on a reported loan with an option to buy, just before the mid-season Chinese transfer window closes on Friday.

There was no immediate comment from Tianjin, who are coached by Italy’s 2006 World Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro and were previously strongly linked with Chelsea’s unsettled Spanish striker Diego Costa.

Cologne did not disclose terms of the deal, but German daily Bild reported that Modeste moved on a two-year loan deal for six million euros with an option to buy him for 29 million euros.

“The 29-year-old will continue his career in the Chinese Super League with Tianjin Quanjian,” said a Cologne statement.

“All relevant parties have reached an agreement. FC Cologne would like to thank Tony for his performances in the FC jersey whilst wishing him all the best for the future.”

Modeste’s 25-goal haul in the Bundesliga last season was bettered only by Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (31) and Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski (30) as Cologne finished fifth in the table.

The move comes just two weeks after the much-rumoured transfer appeared to have fallen through. Reports in Germany said Modeste had been the subject of a 35-million-euro bid but Cologne said: “the parties involved were not able to reach an agreement”.

The terms of the new deal appear designed to get around a Chinese Football Association (CFA) rule intended to curb spending after a slew of big-money deals in the past year, including Oscar’s Asian transfer record move from Chelsea to Shanghai SIPG for €60 million.

The CFA has ruled that loss-making clubs need to pay a 100 percent levy on transfer fees with the proceeds going to a government-run fund promoting Chinese youth football.

Last month, as the summer transfer window opened, the CFA imposed the tax on transfers for foreign players costing more than 45 million yuan (€5.8 million).

Tianjin Quanjian, who already have Brazilian forward Alexandre Pato and Belgian international Axel Witsel, have been chasing a star forward for months and were also linked with Aubameyang.

But they settled on Modeste, who started in French football and had an unhappy spell in England at Blackburn Rovers before moving to Germany.



Source: SuperSport