Buhari Plans to Reopen Nigerian Airspace to International Flights
The Federal Government has said it would reopen the nation’s airspace to international flights in few weeks.
Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation, disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja during the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
The Airspace was closed in March to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation. However, with economies gradually reopening despite lack of a viable vaccine for the ravaging coronavirus, President Muhammadu Buhari led administration has decided to join other global nations and reopen the Nigerian airspace to international flight operations.
This was after Nigeria’s largest carrier, Air Peace announced it would be letting go 70 pilots due to the impacts of COVID-19 on the airline financial position.
Also, earlier this week Bristow Helicopter announced it would let go about 100 pilots and engineers as it can no longer support them financially. This series of sacks in the aviation sector likely prompted the Federal Government to reconsider its position on airspace lockdown.
Sirika said, “So we really want to open. But we can’t open alone, for within the space where we operate we’ve got all kinds of people there in the airports.
“We’ve got immigration, police, Customs, civil defense, port health, etc, and so the PTF has set up a technical committee to come up with a date when everybody will be happy to start.”
The minister added, “So we will open as soon as all of us are happy to open. And I want to adopt what the coordinator has said; it will be in weeks rather than in months.”
Sirika, however, urged Nigerians not to blame officials for the current situation in the aviation sector.
He said, “On the question about the reopening of the airports, I will like to use this medium to reiterate and to be consistent with what we’ve been saying. I want people to understand that this is not purely an aviation function.
“It also has to do with our health and is so huge that it made Mr. President in his wisdom to set up the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19. This is in the interest of the nation.”
Why N-power Beneficiaries Should be Retained Permanently
N-power Beneficiaries Must and Should be Retained Permanently
Poorly paid with little to zero job securities and economic provisions, thousands of Nigerian graduates and non-graduates continue to enroll for the social investment program, N-power, established by the Federal Government in 2016 to alleviate poverty and support the vulnerable.
However, two years later the program is experiencing a downturn with the government planning to throw beneficiaries (batches A and B) of the program back into the street despite the nation’s unemployment rate at a record high of 27.1 percent.
Participants, proudly referred to as beneficiaries by the government and its agents, have had to endure delays in inhumane stipends that can barely meet their daily needs to undefined or uncertain exit package plans for the participants of the program.
Despite all the limitations faced by volunteers, supervisors in schools and other places of assignments have said N-power beneficiaries played key roles in addressing a lot of their existing challenges and on numerous occasions and they have occasioned a new growth direction.
According to a Senior Special Adviser to the President on job creation, “What we have found out is that they are filling a lot of gaps in some places like schools, where they do not have enough teachers.In some schools where the N-Power are posted to, you discovered that it is only the principal and some NYSC members that are teaching students, the Npower teachers have helped to compliment their efforts.”
In Ekiti, a 34-year-old veteran teacher explained that “If not all of them, a majority of the N-Power teachers have mastery of the subject matter. They have not been found wanting also in the theoretical aspect of teaching. Especially the way they make use of teaching aid in classes; and that is actually very impressive.
“There is one of them who is a Physics teacher now, we have to keep deploying from one class to the other just because we don’t have adequate teachers to cover those classes.
“The one that is taking Christian Religious Knowledge is a born teacher, who is very efficient and very punctual in her classes.”
Another principal of Government Secondary School in Daurawa, Kano, Haliru Inuwa, said the eight N-power teachers posted to his school since December 2016 have been saving grace for both himself and the students.
He said “We have eight beneficiaries of N-Power posted to my school here.”
“Most of them are handling core science subjects which most of the schools in Kano state are lacking generally. Yes, subjects like Mathematics, English etc. To our surprise, and against the earlier concern raised that they might not perform well in teaching, the N-Power volunteer teachers are not only committed to their teaching, but are also punctual,” he added.
These much were achieved in spite of the poor salary and working conditions. Graduates and non-graduates of the N-power program have exceeded expectations and raised the bar of dedication and service to the people.
The Nigerian government, just like the private sector operators, continues to take advantage of the high unemployment rate it created to exploit supposed high demand services. What does one expect? when they have been undermined from the onset as ‘privileged beneficiaries’ even with the pivotal role they played in the economy.
N-power volunteers, Batch A and B, as promised are to be absorbed into permanent job positions and their salaries and working conditions reviewed to further enhance their commitments and impacts across the board.
Tanker Drivers Suspend Strike as NNPC and DSS Intervene
NARTO Called Off Strike as NNPC and DSS Intervene
The Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) on Tuesday said it has called off its two-day warning strike that began on Tuesday.
On Monday NARTO had directed all its members to halt operations following the new policy of the federal government that restricted truck above 45,000 litres from plying Nigerian road.
The National President of the association, Yusuf Othman, said the directive was sudden with little to no time for affected tanker drivers to make adjustments.
However, on Tuesday in Abuja, Othman said the association had to call off the strike following the intervention of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Department of State Services.
He said “Yesterday (Monday), following an emergency meeting of the National Executive Council of our association, it was resolved that transport owners would park their trucks from 22nd to 23rd September, 2020.
“This was in protest of the Federal Government’s decision to ban all trucks of over 45,000 litres capacity from loading petroleum products from all depots throughout the country.”
He added, “However, following the intervention of the Group Managing Director of NNPC and the Director-General of the DSS, we are hereby directing all our members to resume operation nationwide.
“This is a directive that we revert to status quo until January 2021 to allow for wider consultation.”
NARTO president said the association now await peaceful resolution and hope that the agreed time would be enough for affected members to re-engineer their trucks in accordance with the 45,000 litres directive.
FG to Boost Foreign Revenue Through Methylformate Production
FG to Enhance Methylformate Production
The Federal Government has started unlocking domestic capacity to up foreign revenue generation and deepen domestic productions through various means including enhancing the production of methylformate.
The Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, disclosed this during the inauguration of Systems House of Vitapur Nigeria Limited on Tuesday in Ikeja.
He said the Federal Government was committed to improving the nation’s foreign reserves by unlocking domestic capacity in methylformate productions.
Speaking further he said domestic capacity in methylformate would help in phasing out ozone depleting substances and mitigate climate change, adding that such technological innovation also has potential to enhance Nigeria’s foreign revenue generation, among others.
According to him, such domestic production have advantages, including availability of ozone-friendly and low global potential blowing agents in the production of rigid foam, generation of forex for the country from export of methylformate and forex savings from local production, building of local capacity in the formulation of methylformate-based systems and consequently generation of employment and wealth.
“The methylformate systems will serve as source of raw material to ice making machine manufacturers. The project will lead to increased capacity utilisation in enterprises that will be using the methylformate being produced by Vitapur,” Abubakar said.
He reiterated the commitment of the government towards creating enabling environment that will enhance the global competitiveness of manufacturers, especially through fiscal incentives.
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