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  • The Guardian

Nigeria Air: Buhari insists on December take-off deadline

President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that the establishment of a National Carrier for Nigeria is at 91 per cent completion, and is expected to commence flight operations before the end of this year.

The president gave the assurance at the 3rd Ministerial Performance Review Retreat on Monday in Abuja.

According to him, the feat is being boosted with the certification of Lagos and Abuja International Airports by the International Civil Aviation Organization, while Kano and Port Harcourt Airports are undergoing similar certification processes.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria Air gulps N14.6billion, under five per cent government’s equity share.

On the economy, the President restated that the country had witnessed seven consecutive quarters of growth after negative growth rates were recorded in the 2nd and 3rd Quarters of 2020.

”The GDP grew by 3.54% (year-on-year) in real terms in the 2nd Quarter of 2022. This growth rate represents a sustained positive economic performance, especially for the Non-Oil GDP which fell by 4.77 per cent in Q2 2022 against Oil GDP that grew by -11.77 per centy.

”Most sectors of the economy recorded positive growth which reflects the effective implementation of the economic sustainability measures introduced by this Administration,” he said.

On the Communications and Digital Economy Sector, the president noted that giant strides had been made ”through broadband coverage which currently stands at 44.32 per cent reinforced by 77.52 per cent 4G coverage with the establishment of 36,751 4G base stations nationwide.”

Similarly, the president declared that the power sector had remained a critical priority for the administration.

He added that the implementation of a ‘Willing Buyer-Willing Seller’ policy introduced by the Federal Government has opened up opportunities for increased delivery of electricity to underserved homes and industries.

”We are also executing a number of critical projects through the Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme, which will result in achieving the national goal of improved power supply by 2025.

”It is important to state that the partnership between the Federal Government of Nigeria and German Siemens AG through the Presidential Power Initiative to increase electricity generation to 25,000 Megawatts (MW) in six years is on the course,” he said.

He announced that the first batch of the transformers had arrived in Nigeria already.

On the oil and gas sector, the president recalled that on Aug. 16, 2021, he signed the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) into law, providing a legal, governance, regulatory and fiscal framework for the Nigerian Petroleum Industry, as well as the development of host communities and related matters.

He noted that to achieve the objectives of the PIA, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation was unbundled.

He added that the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission and the Nigerian Midstream & Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority were also established.

On efforts towards strengthening national security, Buhari said his administration has substantially invested in arms, weapons and other critical military hardware as well as continuous training for the Armed Forces.

”The Nigerian Air Force has acquired 38 brand-new aircraft and is expecting another batch of 36 new ones, while the Nigerian Navy has been equipped with new platforms, sophisticated riverine, Rigid-Hull Inflatable, Seaward Defence, Whaler & Fast Attack Boats as well as Helicopters and Capital Ships.

”To boost the number of our Police personnel, 20,000 policemen have been recruited, trained, fully integrated and deployed in 2020 and 2021.

”This exercise has strengthened our community policing strategy which is enshrined in the Police Act, 2020.’’

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