- Don’t Downgrade Enugu International Airport, Senate Warns FG
The Senate on Thursday urged the Federal Government not to downgrade the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, as earlier threatened by the immediate past minister of aviation, Hadi Sirika.
The upper chamber also urged the Federal Government to rehabilitate the runway of the airport for the safety of passengers and aircrafts in conformity with international aviation standards.
The Senate passed the resolutions following a motion sponsored by Senator Victor Umeh, titled ‘The threat to downgrade the Akanu Ibiam International Airport.’
The red chamber further asked the Federal Government to take steps to complete the new terminal building of the Enugu International Airport and put it to use by foreign and local airlines.
It also urged the Federal Ministry of Aviation and its agencies to develop a water source from the nearby Ekulu River for the use of the airport.
The Senate expressed appreciation to the Enugu State Government for swiftly demolishing and ordering the relocation of the Orie Emene Market, shutting down the nearby abattoir and ordering the immediate removal of the broadcasting mast and other illegal structures close to the airport.
It urged the Federal Ministry of Aviation to return all the generators allegedly removed from the Akanu Ibiam International Airport and taken to the airport in Port Harcourt, on the orders of the immediate past Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi.
Umeh had observed that Sirika had threatened to downgrade the airport because of what he considered as imminent dangers posed to air travellers by the presence of a nearby market.
He also said that Sirika had expressed concerns over the presence of a state radio mast on the flight path of airlines that threatened the safety of incoming aircraft.
He quoted Sirika as also saying that the presence of an abattoir, which attracted large birds and exposed airplanes to the bird strikes; the locating of a free trade zone and the bad state of the runway, necessitated the threat to downgrade the airport.
He appreciated the concerns of the former minister over the safety of passengers and airplanes using the airport.
He also noted that the airport currently serves travellers from Enugu, Kogi, Anambra, Ebonyi, Benue, cross River and other adjoining states.
In their various contributions, all the senators who spoke, supported the motion, spoke against the proposed downgrading of the airport
Senator Barnabas Gemade noted that the Enugu International Airport was critical to the economic lives of not only the South-East but also neighbouring Benue and other states
He said, “Downgrading the airport is retrogressive to the economic growth of the nation. No part of the country should be relegated to the background.”
The Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary, stressed the need for relevant authorities in the aviation ministry to speed up the upgrading of facilities at the airport.
Food Inflation Hits Record High of 19.56 Percent in December 2020
Food Index, which measures prices of food items, grew by 19.56 percent in the month of December 2020 amid herdsmen attacks and flooding.
In the latest report from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), increases were recorded on Bread and cereals, Potatoes, Yam and other
tubers, Meat, Fruits, Vegetable, Fish and Oils and fats.
On month on monthly basis, the food sub-index rose by 2.05 percent in December 2020, 0.01 percent from 2.04 percent recorded in November 2020.
“The average annual rate of change of the Food sub-index for the twelve-month period ending December 2020 over the previous twelve-month average was 16.17 percent, 0.42 percent points from the average annual rate of change recorded in November 2020 (15.75) percent” the report stated.
Headline inflation number increased by 15.75 percent in the month of December 2020, up from 14.89 percent.
The report noted that increases were recorded in all COICOP divisions that yielded the Headline index.
On a month-on-month basis, “the urban index rose by 1.65 percent in December 2020, same as the rate recorded in November 2020, while the rural index also rose by 1.58 percent in December 2020, up by 0.02 percent above the rate that was recorded in November 2020 (1.56 percent).”
Nigeria’s Inflation Rate Rises to 15.75 Percent in December
Inflation rate in Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, rose at the fastest pace in several months in the last month of 2020, according to the latest report from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation rate, increased by 15.75 percent year-on-year in December 2020, representing a 0.86 percent increment from the 14.89 percent attained in November.
On a monthly basis, headline inflation rose by 1.61 percent in the month of December, representing 0.01 percent increase from the 1,60 percent posted in the month of November.
Food gauge that measures prices of items in Africa’s largest economy increased by 19.56 percent in December from 18.30 percent in November.
NBS attributed the increase to the surge in prices of Bread and cereals, Potatoes, Yam and other tubers, Meat, Fruits, Vegetable, Fish and Oils and fats.
On a monthly basis, the food sub-index grew by 2.05 percent in December 2020, an increase of 0.01 percent points from 2.04 percent recorded in November 2020.
The more stable annual rate showed Food sub-index over the last 12 months increased by 0.42 percent points from 15.75 percent in November to 16.17 percent in December.
Herdsmen attacks, the rising cost of fuel, flooding and the wide exchange rate are some of the key factors impacting the cost of food items in Nigeria, especially in December when demands were the highest.
Still lack of enough fiscal buffer to cushion the effect of COVID-19 and ease forex scarcity also drag on raw materials necessary for the production of some import-dependent items.
Joe Biden on Thursday Unveiled $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Package
President-elect, Joe Biden, on Thursday revealed more details of his $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue package for households and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.
In the proposal called the American Rescue Plan, several stimulus measures were detailed in the hope it would mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on families and businesses.
Below are the highlights of the Rescue Plan
- Direct payments of $1,400 to most Americans, bringing the total relief to $2,000, including December’s $600 payments
- Increasing the federal, per-week unemployment benefit to $400 and extending it through the end of September
- Increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour
- Extending the eviction and foreclosure moratoriums until the end of September
- $350 billion in state and local government aid
- $170 billion for K-12 schools and institutions of higher education
- $50 billion toward Covid-19 testing
- $20 billion toward a national vaccine program in partnership with states, localities and tribes
- Making the Child Tax Credit fully refundable for the year and increasing the credit to $3,000 per child ($3,600 for a child under age 6).
Speaking on Thursday, Joe Biden, said “Tonight, I lay out my first step, the American Rescue Plan that will tackle the pandemic and get direct financial assistance and relief to Americans who need it the most.”
“Next month, in my first appearance before a joint session of Congress I will lay out my ‘build back better’ recovery plan,” Biden said. “It will make historic investments in infrastructure, manufacturing, innovation, and research and development in clean energy.”
“Our ‘rescue and recovery’ plan is a path forward with both serious of purpose and a clear plan, with transparency and accountability, with a call for unity that is equally necessary,” he said.
“It’s not hard to see that we’re in the middle of a once-in-several-generations economic crisis with a once-in-several-generations public health crisis. A crisis of deep human suffering is in plain sight and there’s no time to waste,” Biden said. “We have to act, and we have to act now.”
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