- 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.
Bloomberg Says Nigeria, Congo Are Hotspots for Hunger
Bloomberg Experts Have Said Nigeria and Congo Are Emerging as Hotspots for Hunger
The Democratic Republic of Congo is emerging as the country with the world’s largest food crisis in terms of absolute numbers.
About 21.8 million people in the nation are acutely food insecure, new figures from the United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization show. The staggering figure underscores how the fallout from the pandemic is driving up hunger in countries that were already gripped by crisis.
In addition to the Congo, the worst deteriorations in acute hunger in recent months have taken place in Burkina Faso — which has witnessed a nearly 300% uptick in the overall number of people experiencing acute hunger since the start of 2020 — as well as Nigeria, Somalia and the Sudan, the FAO said.
In Nigeria, working the land can be a dangerous occupation because of longstanding religious and ethnic tensions and, more recently, organized crime. That’s as farmers already were having to contend with flooding or drought. It’s all now hitting agriculture just when the country needs it most. The pandemic has triggered a surge in food prices in a nation that imports more than a tenth of its food supply.
With 200 million people, Nigeria is the most populous country in the world’s most food-insecure continent. Producing food at home matters more as importers struggle to access dollars to pay for shipments from overseas after an oil price crash sapped foreign-currency reserves. “We are heading toward famine and starvation,” Niger state Governor Abubakar Sani Bello warned in April.
The challenges come as the world is forecast for a sharp rise in food insecurity because of Covid-19’s impact. As many as 132 million more people globally may fall into the grip of hunger this year, including in many places that used to have relative stability.
NNPC Posts N20.365 Billion Trading Surplus in July
NNPC Declares N20.365 Billion Trading Surplus for July
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) posted an increase in trading surplus to N20.36 billion in the month of July, up from the N2.12 billion surplus achieved in June 2020.
Dr. Kennie Obateru, the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, disclosed this while explaining the details of the figures captured in the July 2020 NNPC Monthly Financial and Operations Report (MFOR).
He said the 858 percent overall upswell in performance was largely due to the 178 percent rise in the surplus posted by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), NNPC’s flagship upstream entity.
Obateru further stated that the impressive performance was as a result of the continuous improvement in global crude oil demand for the third consecutive month.
This, he said boosted the corporation’s performance through the 739 percent increase in profit posted by the Integrated Data Services Limited (IDSL) and a 51 percent growth recorded by Duke Oil Incorporated, both NNPC companies.
Nigerians to Pay N417.09bn in 4 Months for Electricity Consumption
Electricity Consumers to Pay N419.09bn in 4 Months
Following the recent increase in electricity tariffs, the 11 distribution companies in the country are allowed to collect a total of N417.09bn from their customers from September to December.
The Discos had early this month announced what they called ‘new service reflective tariff’, which took effect from September 1, with the tariffs being charged residential consumers receiving a minimum of 12 hours of power supply rising by over 70 per cent.
The amounts recoverable by the Discos through the allowed end-user tariffs range from 61 per cent to 90 per cent of the total revenue required, according to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission.
The tariff shortfall, which is the difference between the Discos’ revenue requirement and the amounts they are allowed to recover from their customers by the regulator, will be funded by the Federal Government.
The media had reported that the Federal Government would fund a tariff shortfall of N104.5bn that will be recorded by the Discos in the four-month period, according to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission.
Ikeja Disco is allowed to recover N66.52bn (90 per cent of its total revenue requirement) from September to December, a NERC document showed.
Eko Disco is allowed to recover N48.46bn (86 per cent); Kano Disco, N34.13bn (84 per cent); Abuja Disco, N49.16bn (83 per cent); and Enugu Disco, N38.81bn (82 per cent).
The amounts recoverable by Kaduna Disco is N35.22bn (82 per cent: Ibadan Disco, N54.61bn (78 per cent); Benin Disco, N34.94bn (74 per cent); and Yola Disco, N13.34bn (71 per cent).
Port Harcourt and Jos Discos are allowed to recover N23.63bn (68 per cent) and N18.27bn (61 per cent) respectively.
NERC said the Power Sector Recovery Plan provided for a gradual transition to cost-reflective tariffs with safeguards for the less privileged in the society, adding that full cost-reflective tariffs would be charged by July 2021.
“The Federal Government, under the PSRP Financing Plan, has committed to fund the revenue gap arising from the difference between cost-reflective tariffs determined by the commission and the actual end-user tariffs during the transition to cost-reflective tariffs,” it added.
According to the commission, all the Discos are obligated to settle their market invoices in full as adjusted and netted off by applicable tariff shortfall approved by the commission.
It said the Discos would be liable to relevant penalties/sanctions for failure to meet the minimum remittance requirement in any payment cycle in accordance with the terms of its respective contracts with the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading and the Market Operator, an arm of the Transmission Company of Nigeria.
The Discos only collect an estimated 24 per cent of the tariff revenue, while the balance goes to the TCN, generation companies and other industry stakeholders, according to the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors.
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