…As FAAN plans to shut domestic Runway of Murtala Muhammed Airport tomorrow
By Matthew Denis Abuja
The Minister of Aviation, Capt. Hadi Abubakar Sirika has disclosed that the ongoing concession of the various airports in the country will be concluded before the end of this year,
He equally stressed that Nigeria Airways will be ready for operation before the end of 2022 year.
The Minister made the disclosure during the ongoing Africa Public Private Partnership Network (AP3N) Investment Summit 2022 organised by Infrastructures Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) held in Abuja yesterday.
This is just as the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) may close the 2.7 kilometre 18L/ 36R domestic runway of the Murtala Muhammed Airport ( MMA) to enable it effect installation of the Runway Airfield lighting, which has been absent since the airport’s runway was rehabilitated in 2008.
Furthering his disclosure on concessioning, the Minister who was represented by the Commissioner/ Chief Executive Officer of Accident Investigative Bureau (AIB), Dr. Akin Olateru said, “When we talk about aviation we start with documentation which entails registering a company and we have our team in place and Capt. Dapo Olumide has been appointed as the Acting Managing Director of Nigeria Air with his own team working together.
“The Air Transport License has been issued by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and we are now processing the Air Operation Certificate to start the operation.”
Dr. Olateru stressed that the concession of the airports in the country is almost done and all hands are on deck for it.
He said , “ It’s the process of evaluation of the bill and once they do the evaluation they announce the evaluation then the process is completed.”
He called on the participants of the Summit to always engage and dailogue with policy makers to close communication gaps and fine-tune ways of improving the aviation sector.
“What we are trying to do is to make sure that we get the best for Nigerians which is bringing all stakeholders to share ideas and enhancing better service delivery,” he said.
Earlier, the Director General of ICRC, Barr. J A Ohiani said, “This Investment Summit is coming at a time when the continent is gradually coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, which dealt series of blows to investment portfolios and decisions; as well implementation of on-going infrastructure service delivery projects.
“The Pandemic also affected the ability of governments to finance the much-needed public projects, with its attendant record of dwindling revenue.
“Our country was not spared from these challenges; however, there is the growing need to salvage our projects which are under implementation on one hand while developing bankable and viable PPP projects for investment on the other hand.
“The innovative structuring of PPP transactions through globally accepted competitive and transparent processes cannot be over-emphasised; especially as the initiative is in support of our 2021 to 2025 Mid-Term National Development Plan, which projects the use of private sector financing to achieve about 85% of our NGN 348.1 Trillion (about USD 830 Billion) Plan.
“The key in the 21st century is for governments to enhance the investment environment for national level investment for local and foreign investors, and look to innovative financing mechanisms that promote local capital markets, private sector risk, and rely on regulatory systems to balance investor and consumer requirements.”
The Director General noted that with fiscal and budgetary funding constraints plaguing governments across the continent, the cold reality is that private participation in infrastructure is an economic necessity, rather than an optional financing solution, as hitherto considered. Partnership between the public and private sectors for the financing, design, build, maintenance of infrastructure and delivery of associated services is absolutely necessary for Africa governments to meet the need for modern and efficient infrastructure, and for reliable cost-effective delivery of public services.
He stressed that governments all over the world, including the Africa continent, have come to recognise that the collaboration between public and private sectors is crucial to securing dependable and sustainable funding for infrastructure and reducing the pressure on fiscal budgets.
“PPP arrangements have engendered acceleration of infrastructure provision, faster implementation of projects, and reduced whole life costs of projects. Incidentally, appropriate frameworks for PPPs are already in place and activated in most African countries including Nigeria, and these are expected to contribute to addressing the infrastructure deficit and operational constraints.”
According to him, “No doubt, this Summit on financing Africa’s infrastructure through PPP offers all of us the unique opportunity to have the details, the direction, the options, and focus on infrastructure financing , and to share our thoughts, knowledge, and experiences on its key areas with a view to having a better understanding of infrastructure financing and administration to boost the African economy.”
FAAN plans to shut domestic Runway of Murtala Muhammed Airport tomorrow
Similarly, in a related development, sources disclosed that the Murtala Mohammed Runway may be closed totally from Thursday, July 7, 2022 and work will commence without disruptions as normal operations will continue on Runway 18R/36L, the International runway.
The airport managers in a letter signed by Ag. Regional General Manager (S/W) Airport Manager, Arewa Olatokunbo obtained by journalists invited airline operators to an emergency meeting yesterday July 5th, 2022 to determine the pros and cons the closure would have.
The letter titled ‘Proposed Plan for the Closure of Runway 18L/36R’ read in part, “You are invited to an emergency meeting to discuss the closure of Runway 18L/36R for the job completion of the Runway Airfield lighting installation.
“Major works in installation of approach lights, Runway Lights (Threshold and Centre, edge light and others will be installed so that runway 18L/36R returns to full 24/7 operations after 10 years of abandonment.”
Recall, Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, in March 2022 succeeded in getting another N3,523,592,079billion approval for safety-critical projects of the Ministry of Aviation as the Federal Executive Council, FEC, approved the sum of N3,523,592,079billion for two different major projects on facilitation and airfield lighting.
It was reported that of the total amount approved, the sum, N2,329,961,099.60billion was for the supply and installation of airfield ground lighting for the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and also the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano.
Managing Director of FAAN, Captain Rabiu Hamisu Yadudu had recently hinted that a solution was in sight as agreements have been reached in principle but the delay was due to the fact that there is an existing contract that has been protracted for years now and government cannot approve a new project when there is an existing one on the same facility.
He said, “18Left has been delayed because of a current contract that has been for many years and finally, the Honourable Minister has graciously accepted to resolve that issue that has been protracted and he has agreed to grant us permission or approval to quickly procure a new lighting system.
“You know FAAN is a government agency; we cannot work and procure a new project when there is an existing one on the same facility. So many things you see that are delayed, are not delayed because of negligence or lack of attention, it’s because you have to follow due process.”
NewsDirect at 13: Our commitment to press freedom, accurate news relentless — ED
The Executive Director and Manager for Business Development and Strategic Partnerships for Nigerian NewsDirect, Mr Mathew Ibiyemi has reiterated the commitment of the media house to advocating for increased press freedom and promotion of accurate news.
In a press statement issued on behalf of the company on the occasion of its 13th Anniversary, Mr Mathew acknowledged that the newspaper industry in Nigeria and globally is going through very challenging times.
He noted that the challenges may be enormous but they are not insurmountable.
The NewsDirect ED explained that the challenges will not make the company compromise on the truth but will instead further its resolve to continuously provide accurate and insightful news from source.
Mr Mathew also seized the occasion to thank readers and partners of the brand who have ceaselessly contributed to the newspaper’s continuous publication on news-stand.
Nigerian NewsDirect is slated to host an anniversary dinner in Lagos today to celebrate the milestone age and also interact with its partners.
Tinubu seeks N’Assembly approval for fresh $8.7bn, 100m loans
…To defend 2024 budget, borrowing plan at joint plenary session
Nigeria’s President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has again sought the approval of the National Assembly for fresh loans to the tune of $8.7billion and €100 million.
In a letter to the House of Representatives, the President said the loans were intended to fund projects which cut across sectors, particularly infrastructure, agriculture, health, education, water supply, roads, security, and employment generation as well as financial management. among others.
The letter read, “I write with reference to above subject matter and to submit the attached Federal Government 2022-2024 external borrowing rolling plan for consideration and approval of the National Assembly to ensure optimum implementation of the budget.
“The Honourable members may wish to know that the past administration approved the 2022-2024 borrowing plan at the Federal Executive Council held on 15 May, 2023.
“Following the removal of the fuel subsidy and its attendant impact on our economy, African Development Bank and the World bank group have indicated interest in assisting the country to mitigate the impact with the sum of one billion USD and 1.5 billion USD respectively; in addition to the FEC approved 2022-2024 external abridged borrowing plan.
“Consequently, the required approval is in the sum of 8,699,168,559 USD, and 100 million Euros.
“I would like to underscore the fact that the projects and programmes in the borrowing plan were selected based on positive technical economic evaluation as well as the expected contribution to the socio-economic development of the country including employment generation, skills acquisition, support towards the emergence of young entrepreneurs, poverty reduction and food security to improve the livelihood in all 36 states and the FCT.
“Considering the huge infrastructure deficit in the country and the enormous financial resources required to bridge the gap in funding infrastructure in the face of dwindling financial resources, it has become imperative that we resort to prudent external borrowing to bridge the financial gap which will be largely be applied to key infrastructure projects including power, railway, health among others.
“Given the nature of these facilities and the need to return the country to normalcy, it has become necessary to request the House of Representatives to consider and approve the 2022-2024 external abridged borrowing plan to enable the government deliver its responsibilities to Nigerians through expedient disbursement and efficient project implementation.
“I hereby forward the proposed 2022-2024 external borrowing plan and trust that it would receive judicious consideration and passage of the House of Representatives,” the letter read.
The President also wrote to the Senate. The letter by the President was read by the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, at the plenary on Tuesday.
The letter read, “I write in respect of the above subject and to submit the attached Federal Government 2022-2024 external borrowing plan for consideration and early approval of the National Assembly to ensure prompt implementation of the projects.
“The Senate may wish to note that the past administration approved a 2022-2024 borrowing plan by the Federal Executive Council held on May 15, 2023.
“The project cuts across all sectors, with specific emphasis on infrastructure, agriculture, health, water supply, roads, security, and employment generation as well as financial management reforms.”
It added, “Consequently, the required approval is in the sum of $8,699,168,559 and €100 million.I would like to underscore the fact that the projects and programmes in the borrowing plan were selected based on economic evaluations as well as the expected contribution to the social economic development of the country, including employment generation, and skills acquisition.
“Given the nature of these facilities, and the need to return the country to normalcy it has become necessary for the senate to consider and approve the 2022-2024 external abridged borrowing plan to enable the government deliver its responsibility to Nigerians.”
The President is expected to defend the borrowing plan and the 2024 budget in a joint plenary session today which the National Assembly granted.
Rivers Guber poll: Fubara emerges victorious at Appeal court
Governor of Rivers State, Siminalayi Fubara has emerged victorious in an appeal challenging his electoral victory in the 2023 General elections.
Fubara’s victory was further ascertained by a judgement of the Appeal court sitting in Lagos yesterday.
The Court, in a unanimous decision, affirmed the judgment of the election tribunal, dismissing four separate appeals filed by Tonye Cole of All Progressives Congress (APC), Beatrice Itubo of the Labour Party (LP), Innocent Ekwu of the Allied People’s Movement (APM), and Lulu Briggs Dumo of the Accord Party.
The court held that all the appellants failed to prove the allegation of non-compliance with the Electoral Act.
Recall that the Rivers State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal had in October dismissed the petition of the APC Candidate challenging the election of Fubara as the governor of the state.
The APC candidate, who was present in the courtroom on Tuesday urged the court to direct the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to declare him the winner of the March governorship election in Rivers.
The election tribunal in Rivers state had dismissed the petition saying that the APC that sponsored Cole had withdrawn the petition against Fubara’s victory.
Not satisfied with the Tribunal’s victory, the APC candidate approached the appellate court. However, the court on Tuesday affirmed the Tribunal ruling which earlier upheld Fubara’s electoral victory in October.
Justice Ridwan Maiwada Abdullahi (absent), Justice Olabode Adegbehingbe and Justice Bature Isa Gafa, held that the fact that APC ceased to be a party to the case did not make Cole’s petition invalid. The judges concluded that the Tribunal was in error to have struck out that item of the petition.
“A political party cannot compel a candidate to withdraw a petition neither can a candidate compel the party to withdraw,” Justice Adegbehingbe ruled.
However, on the other grounds, the court held that the appellants’ evidence were inadequate in proving the allegations of over-voting, disenfranchisement and other alleged irregularities.
The grounds bordering on fraud and whether Fubara was qualified to have contested the election were struck out based on unconvincing evidence. Cole cited allegations of irregularities and Fubara’s continued signing of documents as the State’s Accountant-General after his PDP nomination.
In his immediate reaction, Cole said the appellate court’s judgment has given him and his legal team a greenlight, and that will determine their next line of action.
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