Connect with us


Buhari inaugurates Port Harcourt Airport’s $600m new terminal



…As World Bank approves $240m for Bangladesh marine fisheries project***

President Muhammadu Buhari has inaugurated the $600 million new international terminal at the Port Harcourt International Airport, constructed by China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC) and funded by the Export-Import Bank of China  and the Nigerian Government.

The company is also constructing new terminals in Abuja, Kano and Lagos International Airports..

Buhari said the new international terminal would address the increasing international air travel needs of the country, adding that the increase in population had also added impetus.

He said that since the existing terminals in all the major airports in the country were opened in late 1970s and early 1980s, not much had been done to increase their handling capacities by successive administrations

The president said that the completion of the project was in line with his administration’s commitment to completing all ongoing projects initiated by his predecessors in the transport sector.

“I am very pleased to formally commission the new international terminal of the Port Harcourt Airport, Omagwa today.

“This ceremony represents a significant land mark for international air travelers, especially from the South-South region and the entire country.

“You will recall that after the opening of the major airport terminals in the country in the late 70s and early 1980s, not too much was added to increase the passenger handling capacity by successive administrations.

“Following the large increase in the number of passengers and air passenger travel, the terminal became grossly inadequate to cater for the increasing passenger travel.

“Although, palliative measures were periodically carried out on facilities to repair the wear and tear.

“The Federal Government is responding to global trend of which aviation has become a catalyst for economic growth and facilitates the movement of persons,” he said.

Buhari said the construction of four international terminals in Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt and Kano were embarked upon by the Federal Government with a view to modernising the aging airport infrastructure, maintaining the global aviation standard and improved service delivery in tandem with international best practices.

He expressed confidence that the new terminal would help to enhance the economic activities in the state and commended the people of the state for their patience during the construction period.

In his remarks, Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers, said the people of the state and the entire Niger Delta region were happy that the project was completed and inaugurated.

According to Wike, what has happened today shows that the state is safe for people to come and invest.

He said the state government was ready to partner with the Federal Government to develop transport infrastructure in the state.

Wike commended the Federal Government for the completion of the new terminal building.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, said the project was executed in partnership with the Chinese Government involving 500 million dollars loan from Chen Exim Bank and 100 million dollars counterpart funding from the Nigerian government.

Sirika said the airport had the capacity to process seven million passengers annually, bigger than what Ghana could process annually.

He said the project was expected to be delivered within a period of two years, adding that as at the time the present administration came on board, the level of work was below 30 per cent.

He added that the project was also bedeviled with various technical challenges which included foundation design change, inaccessibility to apron, inadequate apron, master plan distortion, water and sewage provision, litigation and inadequate power supply.

In the meantime, the Bangladeshi government on Thursday signed a 240 million dollars financing agreement with the World Bank to help improve management and production in marine and coastal fisheries and aquaculture.

The Sustainable Coastal and Marine Fisheries Project will help improve fisheries management systems, infrastructure and value chain investments.

This will also encourage private sector investment to increase the availability and quality of sea fish, said the Washington-based lender.

Kazi Azam, Senior Secretary of Economic Relations Division of Bangladesh, and Qimiao Fan, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal, signed the agreement on behalf of their respective sides in Dhaka.

According to the bank, it will also support reforms in fisheries policies and regulations.

“In the last decade, the fisheries sector accounted for around four per cent of Bangladesh’s economy and is the country’s second largest export earning sector after garments,” said Fan.

“World Bank financing will aim to expand coastal and marine fisheries with the goal of further increasing the fisheries sector’s contribution to the economy,” he said.

In 16 coastal districts, World Bank said the project will set up community co-management associations with fishing communities, enabling them to adopt supplementary and alternative livelihoods.

While empowering fishing communities, especially women through skills development and nutrition awareness, the project will also establish 100 model fishing villages, it said.

“For Bangladesh, the fisheries sector is a major driver for growth. The marine and coastal fisheries have significant potential for sustainable and higher production,” said Azam.

“The project will directly contribute to Bangladesh’s Blue Economy initiatives.”



MAN Warns: Cash-strapping may lead to 25% Drop in Sale of locally-made goods



MAN Warns: Cash-strapping may lead to 25% Drop in Sale of locally-made goods

 The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) on Friday in Lagos, warned that Cash-strapping may unwittingly lead, to a 25 percent drop, in the sale of locally-made goods.

The Director General, MAN, Mr. Segun Ajayi-Kadir, stated this, emphasizing the need for the CBN to intensify efforts at ensuring a seamless transition from old naira to new naira notes, as anything to the contrary would be inimical to manufacturing.

He said if the current hardships being experienced in accessing money persisted for the next three weeks, there would be a possible drop of 25 percent in monthly sales of made-in-Nigeria goods.

He noted that as purchases from the retail end, mostly transacted in cash dry up; there would be a sharp drop in wholesale purchases leading to a glut of unsold inventories in factories.

He added that the situation which was no good for manufacturing, for the government and for the ordinary citizen would lead to compounded crippling lack of patronage for the domestic manufacturer.

Ajayi-Kadir also stressed that the development would also deny government the revenue that would have accrued from consumption taxes and result in the disruption of the daily life and need of the average Nigerian.

“To be clear, there is no doubt that the currency redesign is desirable; there are socioeconomic and political imperatives for the change.

“It is a critical element of the CBN cashless economy policy that should have far-reaching positive results for the economy.

“However, the continued scarcity of the newly redesigned naira notes is quite worrisome.

“With our growth prospects heading further south, we can ill afford a downturn in our Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“The negative impact it portends for local producers, the agricultural and distributive segments of our economy is huge.

“It may worsen the bashing our economy has received from both external and internal shocks in recent times,’’ he stressed.

Ajayi-Kadir cautioned that adequate measures should be put in place to ensure a smooth currency transition, particularly in the unbanked areas of Nigeria.

He charged the CBN and Bureaux de Changes to be most engaging at the highest level at this time.

According to him, there is a need for strategic communication and joint operations to ensure widespread and sustained availability and circulation of the redesigned naira notes.

“It is baffling to approach a bank only to be told that there are neither the old nor the new naira notes.

“We hope that the resumption of payment across the counter in the banks and the intensification of the CBN special cash swap arrangement in remote areas will yield positive results.

“I hope that what the country is experiencing is temporary pain and that government will do well to bring the hardship to an end immediately.

“We must make haste to ensure that the price to be paid for this otherwise laudable policy does not outpace the gains,’’ he also cautioned.

Continue Reading


Disdain Towards Nigerian Passport: My regret as Foreign Affairs Minister – Onyema



Disdain Towards Nigerian Passport: My regret as Foreign Affairs Minister – OnyemaDisdain Towards Nigerian Passport: My regret as Foreign Affairs Minister – Onyema

…Shed tears, when he saw Nigerian girls forced into prostitution in Libya***

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema, says his regret as minister is the disdain with which Nigerians are being treated outside the shores of the country and upon siting their international passports.

The Minister disclosed this in Abuja at the 22nd edition of the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration Scorecard Series (2015-2023) organised to project the achievements of the government.

Onyema was responding to a comment by a journalist who expressed displeasure about how Nigerians travelling abroad were being subjected to harassment upon sitting on their green passports.

The Minister agreed with the position of the newsman and attributed the challenge to the desperation of many Nigerians who took desperate and illegal measures to travel out of the country.

“If there is one thing that I look back to with the greatest regrets in my seven and half years in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is the situation of Nigerians in foreign countries,” he said.

The minister gave some of the instances he had witnessed and had to wade in to rescue trapped victims in the middle of the desert.

“I went to Libya and I actually shed tears when we went to this camp where they were holding Nigerians.

“There is that whole issue of slavery and of course, all the exploitations that go with it and they told us that there were only a hundred or two hundred Nigerians there,”

“So, we went to the yard and it was one of the most touching things I ever experienced.

“We have all these young boys, 13, 14, 15 years old and they all came out, over a hundred of them and they all stood up to attention,” he narrated.

The minister continued: “As soon as they saw us, they started reciting the Nigerian national anthem and tears came to my eyes.

 “We were told that the girls were used as prostitutes at night.

“When we saw them, the girls told us there were more Nigerians and we insisted they should bring them out.

“Lo and behold, twenty minutes after, they brought out another set which was about 200 Nigerians.

“The President gave directives, that we should charter planes in order to get them out and we did.”

Onyema attributed the despicable situation to the push factor leading a lot of young Nigerians to take desperate and ridiculous risks through the deserts and the high seas.

He said when they even finally got to their so-called dream countries, they got involved in drugs and all sort of crimes which made it difficult for Nigeria’s passport to be respected.

“Those of us in government have to blame ourselves, particularly in the immigration and even in foreign affairs,” he said.

Onyema narrated another scenario where the U.S., Ambassador to Nigeria came to show him the list of Nigerians that were issued visas through Note Verbal to go to the U.S. but they never attended the events they were scheduled for, but absconded.

He said he was also shown the list of those who were not respecting their visa deadlines and requirements, including top Nigerians.

The minister said all the illegal acts and sharp practices contributed to the manner Nigerians were being treated with disdain abroad when they cited their passports.

“In order to reverse the situation and ensure Nigerian passport is given the due respect it deserves, we all have to work hard and behave ourselves.

“We are all suffering from this because we have people with genuine missions seeking to travel abroad looking for visas and they are denied.

“It is a challenge for each and every single one of us and it is impacting negatively on our country.

“We all have the responsibility to salvage the situation,” he said.

Onyema said President Buhari had never rested on his oars on the issue because whichever country he travelled to, he stressed to Nigerians in Diaspora to be good ambassadors of their country.

Continue Reading


Digital Economy Crucial to Nigeria’s Dev’t — Pantami



Digital Economy Crucial to Nigeria’s Dev't — Pantami

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami on Thursday said the sector was crucial to the realisation of Nigeria’s full potential.

Pantami said this in Abuja at a two-day workshop on Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS), a flight demonstration within the Nigerian Airspace by Nigerian Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) Ltd using the NigComSat-1R payload, the L-Band.

The NigComSat-1R navigation (L-Band) payload provides Navigational overlay Services, which have disruptive applications in the aviation and non-aviation sectors.

The event was organised by the SatNav Africa Joint Programme Office (JPO), in collaboration with the ANGA programme and NIGCOMSAT and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).

The overall aim was to provide a knowledge-sharing platform to support stakeholders’ decision-making in the creation of synergies.

This is to enable the collective reaping of benefits provided by SBAS in the continent, including safety, efficiency and environmental protection benefits.

The minister said communication and digital technology was the key enabler of other sectors like security, defence, health, agriculture, education and aviation.

“The satellite covers part of the Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean, it covers parts of Asia and Europe.

”Our satellite here in Nigeria has the capacity to provide the navigation overlay services.

The Nigerian Communications Satellite has the capacity to support the implementation of the SBAS not only in Nigeria but in the whole of Africa with 54 countries,” Pantami said.

He, however, urged African nations to consider the Nigerian Communication Satellite when the need arises.

Pantami also said the deployment of SBAS by using the navigation overlay services would significantly improve accuracy of signal, its availability and integrity.

“I have directed NIGCOMSAT to collaborate and reach out to the aviation sector to ensure successful implementation of SBAS in Africa,” he said.

The Managing Director of NIGCOMSAT Ltd, Mr Tukur Lawal said the success of the flight demonstration underscored the need for collaborative efforts by the relevant agencies.

He said that this would facilitate the efforts of the Federal Government in meeting the desired goals of a digital Nigeria, which he said would bring unprecedented results.

”For NIGCOMSAT Ltd to contribute its own quota in digital economy and industrial revolution, we cannot remain in the comfort zone, but rather look for areas of exploring the market both local and international.

”We will give all the support needed and innovations that will meet and convert all weaknesses to successes,” Lawal said.

Continue Reading


Editor’s Pick