- Osinbajo Inspects Abuja Airport, Says Runway 80% Complete
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Friday embarked on a thorough inspection of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, which lasted for over one hour.
Osinbajo inspected the runway and taxiways of the airport, its arrival and departure terminal buildings, as well as the fire station.
He was taken round the facility by the Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Mr. Saleh Dunoma, and other officials of the Federal Ministry of Transportation.
Osinbajo told journalists that the runway was 80 per cent complete, adding that the airport would be reopened on the scheduled date.
The Abuja airport was shut down to flight operations on March 8 this year and is scheduled to be reopened on April 19.
According to the Federal Government, the closure of the airport for six weeks is to allow Julius Berger Plc to carry out a total rehabilitation of its runway and taxiways.
Workers of the construction firm were seen on site during the inspection of the facility by the Vice President.
However, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; and the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, were not present during the inspection by Osinbajo on Friday
While addressing reporters after touring the facilities, Osinbajo said, “I have looked round and from what I have seen and also from the information from the contractors and consultants, it looks as if things are going very well. We are told that we are now nearing 80 per cent completion and that we are clearly on schedule.
“So, we expect to see that this will be completed well on schedule and I don’t think we should expect any delay whatsoever, because we have assurances from the consultants and contractors that we are clearly on schedule. So, by the 19th of April, this runway should be set.
“I have no reservations and looking at all of this myself and inspecting it and listening to the contractors, consultants and personnel of FAAN and the Ministry of Transportation, I think a lot of work has gone in here for the contractors do 24 hours shift, working round the clock and they have taken the job very seriously.”
Dunoma told journalists that other facilities at the airport were at various stages of completion, adding that the terminal buildings at the NAIA were also being rehabilitated.
The FAAN boss stated, “The total overall completion of the work is 80 per cent as of today. The other critical elements of the work that we have include asphalt laying, which is about 73 per cent, and air field lighting re-installation is about 40 per cent.
“The next critical item is marking, which will start on Monday, but it is not a critical element per say and, of course, general cleaning because at the end of the day, our regulator will have to come and certify what we have done and then we will be ready for opening on the 19th.
“We are seizing this opportunity of empty building to make sure that we rehabilitate the entire terminal buildings and that include all the facilities that are there, mechanical, electrical and civil.”
When asked if the terminals would be ready by April 19 when the airport would be reopened for flight services, he replied, “That’s the plan. All the works that are going on there will be completed by the 19th.”
Econet Group and Mastercard To Collaborate on Fintech Solutions For Covid-19 Response in Africa
The Econet Group through its subsidiary Cassava Fintech International (Cassava Fintech) and Mastercard have entered into a strategic partnership to advance digital inclusion across Africa and collaborate on a range of initiatives including expansion of the Africa CDC TravelPass.
TravelPass is a digital health pass developed by Cassava Fintech and offered in conjunction with the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC). It is accessible to users of Cassava Fintech’s Sasai SuperApp and is recognised as one of the leading initiatives in the fight against the cross-border spread of Covid-19 in Africa. Mastercard is partnering with Cassava Fintech to enhance the security of TravelPass through Mastercard’s Community Pass platform. Mastercard Community Pass is an interoperable digital platform facilitating service delivery for marginalised individuals and communities, including access to critical health services like patient care plan tracking for Covid-19.
The joint initiative between Mastercard and Cassava Fintech seeks to offer a unified solution with greater convenience and enhanced security, that is expected to promote safe cross border travel in Africa in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The partnership will also allow the two organizations to explore collaboration such as the further integration of the Community Pass with Cassava Fintech’s mobile and financial services, acquiring and processing of card payments across the continent, along with the introduction of a virtual or physical card on the Sasai SuperApp.
Cassava Fintech’s CEO, Darlington Mandivenga said the partnership with Mastercard would pave the way for both companies to jointly tackle the challenges facing African economies as they re-open post the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are excited to work with Mastercard to explore solutions that will, among other things, mitigate the risk of falsified presentation of a third party’s Travel Pass at access and transit points,” Mandivenga said, adding that the same technology could also be used in payment solutions.
Cassava Fintech uses an integrated model to provide financial and digital services to ensure a “financially inclusive future that leaves no African behind”.
“We look forward to joining hands with Cassava Fintech in exploring new solutions that will make a difference and benefit the continent. In addition to digital innovation for future travel, Cassava will also leverage our secure payments network to advance access to financial services,” said Mark Elliott, Divisional President, Southern Africa, Mastercard.
Mastercard is a leading global technology company focused on building an inclusive, sustainable digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere, by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible.
Nestlé Health Science to Acquire Nuun
Nestlé Health Science and Nuun, a leader in functional hydration, have entered into an agreement in which Nestlé Health Science will acquire Nuun.
The acquisition complements Nestlé Health Science’s existing broad portfolio of active lifestyle nutrition brands with Nuun’s range of clean, low-sugar, effervescent tablets and powders.
“Every day, health-conscious consumers are becoming more aware of how functional hydration products can add to their overall well-being as well as support them during exercise by replacing the minerals that the body loses. That growing awareness is reflected in the steady growth of the category,” said Greg Behar, CEO of Nestlé Health Science. “Nuun is a leader in the fast-growing functional hydration category with its high-quality, clean, plant-based products. We look forward to combining our companies’ expertise to bring Nuun to more people around the world.”
Nuun was founded in Seattle, Washington in 2004, pioneering the separation of electrolyte replacement from carbohydrates. Its low-sugar electrolyte tablet revolutionized the sports beverage market. It now has a broad range of effervescent tablets and powders containing additional minerals and vitamins for energy, relaxation and overall well-being.
“Nestlé Health Science and Nuun share the same philosophy: nothing is more important than health and well-being,” said Kevin Rutherford, CEO of Nuun. “In joining Nestlé Health Science, Nuun will further its mission of ‘hydration that empowers the world to move more.’ The Nuun team has built an incredible business and now with the reach, expertise and capabilities of Nestlé, I’m confident that together we will grow, even more, making people and the planet healthier.”
The transaction is expected to close in Q3 2021. Financial details are not being disclosed.
itel Partners Amatem and Drug-Aid Distributes Relief Materials In Fight Against Malaria
To commemorate this year’s World Malaria Day, itel recently partnered with Amatem Softgel, an anti-malaria drug in Nigeria, and Drug-Aid Africa, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that provides medical drug supplies and support to low-income patients in Nigeria and across Africa.
A statement by itel explained that in tandem with the theme of this year’s World Malaria Day, ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me’, the three brands joined the global fight against malaria by donating treated mosquito nets, free medical tests, mosquito repellent cream and free anti-malaria drugs to over 1,500 households in Isale-Akoka Community, Bariga, Lagos state.
It explained that malaria is a prevalent disease in sub-Saharan Africa, and was responsible for thousands of deaths yearly, adding that as socially responsible organisations, itel, Amatem Softgel, and Drug-Aid Africa, “believe that they have a quota to contribute in ensuring a relatively healthier society.”
The Marketing Manager for West Africa and Nigeria, itel, Oke Umurhohwo, expressed commitment in bridging the gap in low-income communities through its ‘Love Always On CSR initiative.’
He added that the brand was partnering with Amatem Softgel and Drug Aid Africa to provide these communities, “with an even greater fighting chance against malaria is a part of our commitment to them.”
The General Manager, Elbe Pharma, Shivakumar, said: “Malaria is a life-threatening disease, but it is preventable and curable. We at Elbe continue to find a better way to combat this disease, support the vulnerable ones especially the young children. Hence, the introduction of this innovative anti-malaria brand AMATEM SOFTGEL and this CSR partnership.”
The Programme Officer, Drug-Aid Africa, Oluseyi Sanyaolu, said malaria has been ravaging the vulnerable in the society for years, saying, “it is the reasons why Drug-Aid Africa is dedicated to supporting those in indigent communities with medicines and medical supplies. Together, we can end this menace.”
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