- FG Builds Lounge for Elderly, Physically-challenged
The Federal Government on Thursday announced that it would open up a lounge for the elderly and physically-challenged persons at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on the exact day that the NAIA would be reopened for flight services.
It also stated that it was carrying out a complete rehabilitation of the departure terminal at the airport, adding that work on the runway was about 57.5 per cent complete.
These were disclosed at during an inspection of the airport by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; and the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika.
The ongoing repair at the Abuja airport has entered its fourth week as the facility was closed on March 8 and flights to the NAIA diverted to the Kaduna International Airport. The Federal Government has promised that it will unfailingly reopen the Abuja airport on April 19.
Speaking to journalists after inspecting the airport, Sirika stated that the NAIA would be reopened with a fully rehabilitated departure terminal and a lounge for the disabled and elderly people.
He said, “Work is going on smoothly on the runway and everything is in order, and we have done about 57.5 per cent of the total work. This shows that we are on course, on time and doing what we are supposed to do to ensure that the runway opens to flight operations come April 19.
“I’m glad to say that this airport will be opened come the 19th of April, and it will not only be opened at the time, but the terminal building will wear a new look, for we are doing a complete rehabilitation of the Terminal D. We will put escalators or lifts at the departure hall of that terminal.”
He added, “Also, we are opening up a lounge for the disabled or physically-challenged and the elderly, and this is a response from our folks and from the feedback we get. This has been part of what we planned earlier on. In Terminal D, we are building and will install a new lift, as well as provide other ancillary services.
“So I guess that the benefits of this airport closure means that we will have improved terminals. Terminals that will be more robust and can take more passengers and create some seamless flow of international and local passengers not mixing, for they will be in different sites of the airport according to global standards.”
Mohammed stated that it was important for the government to update Nigerians on how far it had gone with the work at the Abuja airport.
He said, “We were in Kaduna last week and had a wholesome experience of the efforts put in place to ensure minimal inconvenience and maximum security and safety occasioned by the temporary closure of the Abuja airport.
“We believe it is befitting to inspect this airport again since three weeks out of the six weeks we promised have gone. This is to see the extent of work that has been done and for us to reiterate that the six weeks we promised the world is still valid and we don’t intend to give any excuse.”
On flight statistics at the Kaduna airport since the closure of the NAIA, Sirika stated that about 77,000 international and local passengers were transported through the KIA.
“So far we’ve had about 50 international flights from Kaduna, we moved about 4,000 international passengers and also moved about 73,000 domestic passengers. Also, about 1,119 domestic aircraft movement was recorded during this period,” the minister stated.
He also stated that the plan to use local airlines to fly passengers to London from Kaduna was still in place and that the government would commence flights on that route soon.
“We had a couple of issues with the local carrier we want to partner; the aircraft is available, but we need to sort out the issues. I think we were of the belief that everything would be okay and that was why we projected to start by last Monday. However, as soon as we sort out that issue, we will commence the flight,” Sirika added.
Prepaid Meter is Free, Buhari Warns DisCos, Agents
President Muhammadu Buhari once again warned Power Distributing Companies (DisCos) and their agents selling prepaid meters to electricity customers against the Federal Government directive that meter is free.
Ahmed Rufai Zakar, the Special Adviser to the President on Infrastructure, who represented Buhari at the FGN/NLC-TUC ad-hoc committee on electricity tariff stakeholders held in Ibadan, Oyo State on Wednesday, said President Buhari understood people’s concerns on issues surrounding electricity and was determined to curb and deal with unscrupulous individuals in the power sector.
He said, “We have made it very clear through the regulators direct order as well as intervention from the Ministry of Power that the meters are to be provided to Nigerians at no cost.
“Even for meters that were paid for, there is the directive from the regulator to the discos that they would need to find a way to reimburse those citizens over time.
“In cases where we find any disco or disco representative selling the meters or exploiting Nigerians to be able to get meters by paying, we would take the full measures of the law.
“The President has mandated that these meters must be free. We have also said that they must come from local manufacturers.
“This would create jobs and revive our industry.”
Nigeria’s Real Estate Sector Shrinks by 8.06% in the Third Quarter -NBS
Economic uncertainty plunged Nigeria’s real estate sector by 8.06 percent in the third quarter of the year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Nigeria’s statistics office said “In nominal terms, real estate services recorded a growth rate of –8.06 per cent in the third quarter of 2020, indicating a decline of –11.78 per cent points compared to the growth rate at the same period in 2019, and by 9.12 per cent points when compared to the preceding quarter.
“Quarter-on-quarter, the sector growth rate was 18.92 per cent.
“Real GDP growth recorded in the sector in Q3 2020 stood at -13.40 per cent, lower than the growth recorded in third quarter of 2019 by –11.09 per cent points, but higher relative to Q2 2020 by 8.59 per cent points.
“Quarter-on-quarter, the sector grew by 17.15 per cent in the third quarter of 2020.
“It contributed 5.58 per cent to real GDP in Q3, 2020, lower than the 6.21 per cent it recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2019.”
Nigeria’s economy contracted by 2.48 percent in the first nine months following a 6.10 percent and 3.62 percent contraction in the second and third quarters respectively.
Nigeria Requires N400 Billion Annually to Maintain Federal Roads -Senator Bassey
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on road maintenance, Senator Gersome Bassey, on Friday said Nigeria requires about N400 billion annually to maintain federal roads across the country.
The Senator, therefore, described the N38 billion budgeted for road repairs in the 2021 proposed Budget as grossly inadequate. According to him, nothing meaningful could be achieved by the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) with such an amount.
He said, “For the 35 kilometres federal roads in the country to be motorable at all times, the sum of N400bn is required on yearly basis for maintenance.”
Bassey “What the committee submitted to the Appropriation Committee in the 2021 fiscal year is the N38bn proposed for it by the executive which cannot cover up to one quarter of the entire length of deplorable roads in the country.
“Unfortunately, despite having the power of appropriation, we cannot as a committee jerk up the sum since we are not in a position to carry out the estimation of work to be done on each of the specific portion of the road.
“Doing that without proposals to that effect from the executive, may lead to project insertion or padding as often alleged in the media.”
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