- FG Puts up N7bn Presidential Jets for Sale
The Presidency on Tuesday confirmed that newspaper advertisements for the sale of two presidential aircraft, a Falcon 7X executive jet and Hawker 4000, were duly authorised by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, confirmed this in a statement made available to journalists.
Shehu said the decision to sell the jets was in line with the directive of the President that aircraft in the Presidential Air Fleet should be reduced to cut down on waste.
He explained that the reduction would not end with the sale of the two jets.
The presidential spokesman said some aircraft in the fleet would also soon be handed over to the Nigeria Air Force for its operations.
Shehu said, “When he campaigned to be President, the then APC candidate Muhammadu Buhari, if you recall, promised to look at the Presidential Air Fleet with a view to cutting down on waste.
“His directive to a government committee on this assignment is that he likes to see a compact and reliable aircraft for the safe airlift of the President, the Vice-President and other government officials that go on special missions.
“This exercise is by no means complete. I am sure the Commander of the Presidential Air Fleet will any time from now call you to a ceremony at which he will hand over some other aircraft to the Air Force for their operations.”
According to the Presidency, PAF currently has 10 aircraft. These are: Boeing Business Jet (Boeing 737-800 or AirForce One), one Gulfstream 550, one Gulfstream V (Gulfstream 500), two Falcons 7X, one Hawker Sidley 4000, two AgustaWestland AW 139 helicopters and two AgustaWestland AW 101 helicopters.
Each of the two Falcon 7X jets were purchased in 2010 by the Federal Government for $51.1m, while the Gulfstream 550 costs $53.3m, a former Minister of Information, the late Prof. Dora Akunyili, had said.
The price of other aircraft in the fleet could not be ascertained. But according to Wikipedia, price.wescrawler.com and airline executives, the factory price of other aircraft in the fleet are: Boeing Business Jet, $59m; HS 4000, $22.9m; AgustaWestland 139, $12m; and AgusatWestland 101, $21m.
This brings a combined estimated value of Nigeria’s PAF to $347.4m (N106.13bn).
Quoting a document from the Presidency had reported recently that despite the biting economic recession in the country, the Federal Government spent N5bn on the 10-aicraft PAF in the last 15 months.
According to the document, the Presidency put the amount so far released for the fleet since the inception of the current administration in May 2015 at N5bn.
The breakdown of the sum showed that N2.3bn was released for PAF by the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation between May and November 2015.
That figure included releases for personnel costs, overheads and capital expenditures; out of the N5.19bn appropriated for PAF in the 2015 budget.
Of the sum, the Presidency said N99.715m was spent on aircraft maintenance, spares and subscription services.
The sum of N98.5m was also spent on operations; N165.373m on training and N85.5m on personnel medicals and overheads.
During the period, the document claimed that PAF spent N1.350bn to settle outstanding liabilities carried over from 2014 while N500m was refunded to the NSA for financial support rendered for the maintenance of the Fleet prior to release of funds.
According to the newspaper advertisement announcing the sale of the two aircraft, the Falcon 7X with registration number 5N-FGU and serial number 090 is currently located in Abuja.
It indicated that the aircraft entered into service in 2011 and had completed 2776:47 hours and 2363 cycles.
The advertisement read in part, “Take off at sea level — 5, 555 ft; landing distance — 2,070ft; certified ceiling — 51, 000ft; cruise speed — 488kts; Easy II Avionics 1A Complainct/Satcom. Interior: Passenger capacity — 16, crew seating capacity — 3; forward and Aft lavatories; four large screen monitors; six small adjustable seat mounted monitors and fully automated media centre.”
The second aircraft, Hawker 4000 with registration number 5N-FGX and serial number RC 066 entered into service in 2012. It has completed 1178:15 hours and 1146 cycles.
Its details were given thus: “Range — 3190NM; take off at sea level — 5,068 ft; landing distance — 2,475ft; certified ceiling — 45, 000ft; cruise speed — 482kts; Honeywell Primus Epic Avionics/Satcom. Interior: Passenger capacity — 9, crew seating capacity – 3 with detachable jump seat; Aft lavatories; two monitors; power outlet in cabin and cockpit and fully automated media centre.”
Meanwhile, aviation stakeholders have supported the Presidency’s move to sell the aircraft.
The General Secretary, Aviation Round Table, an industry pressure group, Group Captain John Ojikutu, who supported the move, said, “It is high time the Presidency reduced the number of aircraft in that fleet. We can’t be spending our scarce forex to maintain a large fleet of 10 aircraft.”
A former Assistant General Secretary, Airline Operators of Nigeria, Mr. Muhammed Tukur, also supported the move, saying the aircraft could be sold to both airline operators and private individuals who could use them for commercial purposes.
He said that this could generate more revenue and create jobs.
A former President of the Airline Operators of Nigeria, Dr. Steve Mahonwu, stated that instead of selling the aircraft, the Federal Government should hold on until it was ready to float a national carrier and should then make the planes serve the airline.
He said, “Are we not ashamed that several years after the demise of our Nigerian Airways, we still don’t have an airline we can call our own? Instead of selling these aircraft, why not hold on till when you are ready for a national carrier?
“The President promised to reduce the Presidential fleet size and that’s okay. He has also assured Nigerians that he will ensure the return of our national carrier. So instead of selling the aircraft in the Presidential fleet, you can convert some of them and use them as jets in the national carrier.”
But Capt. Dele Ore of the Aviation Round Table, a body of industry experts, told our correspondent that it would not be right to sell the aircraft without carrying out adequate studies to ascertain if truly the Presidency would not need them any longer.
According to him, the two aircraft in question would not be fit for full-scale commercial service.
Once Again The National Grid Collapsed
Nigeria’s electricity transmission system, also known as the National grid, has suffered another system collapse, plunging Lagos, the country’s commercial capital, Kano and other major cities into a blackout.
The collapse, which occurred about 11.00 am on Tuesday, was confirmed by two of the country’s electricity distribution companies in separate messages to their customers.
“We regret to inform you that the power outage being experienced across our franchise – Kaduna, Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara states – is as a result of the collapse of the national grid,” Kaduna Electric said on Twitter.
Eko Electricity Distribution Company Plc, in a text message to its customers, said: “Dear customer, there is a partial system collapse on the national grid. Our TCN partners are working to restore supply immediately. Please bear with us.”
The grid, which is being managed by the government-owned Transmission Company of Nigeria, has continued to suffer system collapse over the years amid a lack of spinning reserve that is meant to forestall such occurrences.
Spinning reserve is the generation capacity that is online but unloaded and that can respond within 10 minutes to compensate for generation or transmission outages.
FG Consider Diversification To Generate Revenue
As revenue from oil nosedives following incessant global price fluctuations, the Federal Government is now channeling efforts to the development of minerals in the mines and steel industry to shore up foreign exchange earnings.
Officials of the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development said on Wednesday that while there had been concerted efforts to develop various minerals in the sector, much emphasis had been placed recently on the development of bitumen, barite and gold.
They told our correspondent in Abuja that the government through the mines and steel ministry was striving to diversify the Nigerian economy away from oil as the major foreign exchange earner for Nigeria.
They also confirmed that large quantities of gold had been discovered in various locations in Zamfara and Osun states.
Asked if the government had initiated programmes to explore the minerals and boost revenues now that the country’s income had plunged, the Special Assistant on Media to the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Ayodeji Adeyemi, replied in the affirmative.
He said, “Indeed, the ministry has the mandate to generate revenue and diversify the economy through the mines sector.
“And bitumen is one of the key resources which the nation is abundantly endowed with, that has been identified for strategic development.”
To buttress his position, Adeyemi shared some recent presentations of the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, where the minister said his ministry was gathering data on some bitumen fields across the country to attract investors.
“A lot of people are interested in bitumen, which is coming from both local and foreign investors. However, we are still acquiring data in some of the fields,” the minister stated.
On barite, the minister said the mines and steel ministry was working on raising the quality of barite produced in Nigeria to an internationally acceptable standard, as certified by the American Petroleum Institute.
Adegbite said his ministry had contracted a consultant to help raise the standard in the local production of barite to ensure that oil industry players make use of barite produced in Nigeria as against importing the commodity from other countries.
He said, “Barite is a critical weighting material in drilling fluids used in the oil industry. We have a lot of barites but the issue is that it is not produced to API standards. However, we are putting a system in place which would be ready to launch in about July.
“We have got the millers who can produce barite to API standard. Hence we will be able to compete with foreigners and it would save Nigeria a lot of foreign exchange in import substitution.”
On the development of gold, officials at the ministry further stated that the commodity had been aggregated for the production of bullion bars and that this was the first time that such aggregation was happening in Nigeria.
They stated that the gold was sourced from artisanal miners, while the final refining to bullion was done in Turkey.
The sources stated that the ministry had registered two refineries that would now refine to LBMA standard when they come on stream. LBMA is the de facto standard, trusted around the world.
Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority Generates N160.06 Billion in 2020
The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) generated revenue of N160.06 billion in 2020, according to the latest audited financial reports announced by the Managing Director of NSIA Mr. Uche Orji.
The NSIA income came from devaluation gain of N51 billion, and core income of N109 billion compared to N33.07 billion in 2019.
But Orji lamented: “Covid-19 adversely affected logistics around infrastructure projects, especially the toll road projects and the presidential fertiliser initiative.”
Despite the pandemic, the Authority achieved 33 percent growth in Net Assets to N772.75 billion compared to the previous year’s performance of N579.54 billion.
Orji said the NSIA “received additional contribution of $250 million; and provided first stabilisation support to the Federal Government of $150 million withdrawn from Stabilisation Fund last year.”
The same year, the NSIA received $311 million from funds recovered from the late General Abacha from the United States Department of Justice and Island of Jersey for deployment towards the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) projects of Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Highway, Lagos Ibadan Expressway and Second Niger Bridge.
In response to COVID-19, Orji said: “NSIA partnered the global Citizen, a not-for profit group, to form the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund. Separately NSIA acquired and distributed oxygen concentrators to the 21-teaching hospital as part of corporate social responsibility; in addition to staffing support to the Presidential taskforce on COVID-19.”
In 2020, the NSIA “invested additional capital into NG Clearing, the first derivative clearing house in Nigeria to maintain NSIA’s shareholding at 16.5 per cent following the company’s rights issue of 2020″ Orji said.
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