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Federal Government may degrade Enugu airport – Minister

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The Federal Government says it may downgrade Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu from handling international operations because of its inability to expand the runway.

Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, made the disclosure at the 6th Aviation Stakeholders Forum in Lagos on Friday.

Sirika said that there were some developments around the airport that posed security and safety threat to flight operations, adding that effort was on to address the challenges.

According to him, the state government decided to situate its free trade zone, market and radio mast too close to the runway which is against international safety standard.

“We have some issues there and I have met the governor three times to discuss the issue.

“As you approach Enugu, there is a market there, there is an abattoir and at the end of the runway, there is a free trade zone and as you know, Enugu is the Kaduna of the east.

“A lot of passengers from the eastern part of the country travel through Enugu airport.

The minister said that unless the market and the mast were removed, the government would have no option but to discontinue international flights into the airport.

He said that the government was committed to ensuring that all ongoing projects across Nigerian airports were completed before the end of the year.

He added that the government would also ensure that Kano, Port Harcourt and Enugu airports obtained the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) certification.

Sirika also disclosed that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari had completed 130 of the 157 projects it initiated in aviation sector within three years.

He explained that agencies like the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet), Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) and Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) had recorded a lot of progress during the period.

According to him, the new terminal projects in Lagos and Kano will be completed before the end of the year, while the Lagos project would be delivered earlier.

The minister explained that the airport was over stretched over the years because of the increasing number of passengers that traveled through the airport.

“Lagos airport was initially designed and built for 200,000 people but now accommodates and processes 8 million passengers which is grossly inadequate.

Edited by Maureen Atuonwu

Economy

NIMPORT seeks connectivity with inland dry port to ease cargo traffic

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The Nigerian International Maritime Ports and Terminals (NIMPORT), a port and terminal promotion body, has appealed to the Federal Government to ensure seamless connectivity for cargo and human traffic.

NIMPORT Chairman Mr Fortune Idu made the appeal in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos on Saturday.

“The focus should be full connectivity, from the port to the hinterland.

“There should be full and seamless connectivity for cargo and human traffic as it will actually help the country achieve its potential.

“The Minister of Transportation should not relent in moving the sector forward.

“There should not be politicking about connectivity, about decongesting Lagos as the focus is actually on the western axis.

“We can achieve the decongestion of Lagos and pull people out of Lagos into neighboring states such as Ogun and Oyo states by making the railways work.

“The rail project should be completed as quickly as possible.”

Idu pointed out that the sector was hoping and aspiring to see a Lagos without container traffic, saying that having containers dropping off bridges in a busy and populated city like Lagos was appalling and unthinkable.

He urged the Lagos State government and the Federal Government to work closely and ensure that Lagos is rid of container traffic.

“I expect that bulk breaking of container content should be done outside the main commercial city of Lagos and that can only be achieved with real connectivity and where you have inland terminals and rail stations around Lagos.

“With rail stations in Ogun State, Lokoja or even between Ibadan and Lagos, containers could be immediately moved out of Lagos the moment they are offloaded from the ship to places where they could be bulk broken.

“Then you have the distribution network by road.

“Having a full container load traveling on the bridges is not good at all,” he said.

He spoke of the need to ensure that rivers in the country were navigable.

According to him, once the rivers are navigable, containers could be moved from Lagos across the rivers in batches.

CAN/YEE

(Edited by Emmanuel Yashim)

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Economy

DPR sanctions 2 retail outlets, 2 gas plants in Delta

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The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Warri Zonal Office, says it has sanctioned two petrol stations and two gas plants in Delta over alleged sharp practices.

The affected stations are: Akpos Petroleum Limited, G-Palash Nigeria Limited and Onejire Gas Plant all located in Ughelli as well as Somil Energy and Gas Ltd.

Mrs Gladys Idahosa, DPR Assistant Director, Operations, led a team of the regulatory agency on the routine surveillance on behalf of the Warri zonal Operations Controller, Mr Antai Asuquo.

Idahosa, briefing newsmen shortly after the exercise, said the stations were sealed over offences bordering on under-dispensing, operating without valid licences, expired fire extinguishers and uninstalled gas leakage detectors.

She said that the agency would continue to intensify awareness through routine

surveillance to curb anomalies in the downstream sector.

“In some of the gas plants we visited, we observed that some do not install gas leakage detectors, nor do they recharged their fire extinguishers.

“However, some are up to date; they operate in a friendly environment while only one gas plant sealed was for safety reasons.

“A lot of the gas plants and filling stations are complying with the DPR rules that is why we could only sealed very few ones,” she said.

Idahosa said that the team’s visit to retail outlets regularly was to take measurements of quantity of fuel being dispensed.

According to her, anyone that goes above the accepted “deviation range” were sanctioned.

“We call the marketer to get a technician to fix it and we go and verify that the machine is dispensing accurately before we unsealed such station,” she said.

The assistant director operations urged the consumers to always notify DPR whenever they noticed a shortfall in the petrol they bought from the filling stations.

She also appealed to the marketers to cooperate with the regulatory agency and abide by its rules and regulations.

“We are not witch-hunters; the marketers should cooperate with us by complying with our rules so that we can work as a team.

“Our intention is to ensure that they work safely and in a safe environment,” he said.

The Nigeria News Agency recalled that the regulatory agency had in July sealed 11 petrol stations and two gas plants in two separate operations.

However, a manager at Akpos Petroleum Limited, who pleaded anonymity, promised to call a technician to rectify the problem as soon as possible.

The manager said that the station’s pump measured 10.92, while another measured 10.72 as against the maximum measurement of 10.30.

EDI/GOK

Edited by Olagoke Olatoye

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Economy

Moghalu decries Nigeria’s continued dependence on oil

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Prof. Kingsley Moghalu, a presidential candidate for the Young Progressives Party (YPP) in the 2019 presidential election, has expressed concern about the nation’s reliance on oil as a major source of revenue generation.

He recommended technology and innovation as alternatives, citing the examples of developed countries.

He stated this in Abuja, at the 10th Nigeria Meritorious Service Award and Nigeria Political Achievers Award organised by the Federation of West African Freelance Journalist Association.

The event, which ended late Friday night, was organised to honour some Nigerians who distinguished themselves in politics and other fields.

Moghalu, a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), said that oil belonged to ”the distant age; the world today is of technology, innovation and science”.

According to him, the country needs government that will give youths a sense of purpose and employment to achieve their destinies.

“In the future, we don’t have to continue the political system the way it has always been,” Moghalu said.

He observed that political leaders should be judged by their achievements in office in terms of job creation and economic growth.

”To have the desired change in the country, every Nigerian most change the way they think and act,” he advised.

He also advised that the CBN ought to be truly independent to ensure enhanced performance.

According to him, when independent institutions such as the CBN gets directives that may serve transient political purpose, the long term effect may not be the best for the country.

Edited by Kayode Olaitan

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Economy

CBN injects $297.92 into secondary market

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has injected  297.92 million dollars into the retail Secondary Market Intervention Sales (SMIS).

The bank’s Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr Isaac Okorafor made this known in a statement in Abuja on Friday.

Okarafor disclosed that CBN also injected CNY21.2million in the spot and short-tenured forwards segment of the inter-bank foreign market.

According to him, the United States dollars-denominated transactions are to meet requests in the agricultural and raw materials sectors, while those in Chinese Yuan are for Renminbi-denominated Letters of Credit.

The director reiterated that the bank’s management was satisfied with the continued stability in the foreign exchange market.

He assured that the CBN remained committed to meeting  foreign exchange needs of all sectors of the economy.

Meanwhile, N358 was exchanged to a dollar, while CNY1 exchanged at N46 at the Bureau De Change (BDC) segment of the foreign exchange market on Friday.

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Economy

No electricity tariff increase has been approved yet —— NERC

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The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), says no tariff increase has been approved by the commission yet.

In a statement, Mr Usman Arabi, NERC’s General Manager, Public Affairs, however,  in a statement on Friday in Abuja said it was still consulting with stakeholders.

He said that the commission  wished to notify the public that no tariff increase had been approved by the commission contrary to the impression in some quarters.

“However, the commission in the discharge of its statutory responsibilities enshrined under the  Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act, shall continue to undertake periodic reviews of electricity tariffs in accordance with prevailing tariff methodology.

`In all instances of such reviews and rule-making, the commission shall widely consult stakeholders and final decision shall be  taken with  due regard of all contributions,” he said. .

Arabi said that the commission wished to provide guidance that the minor review implemented by the commission was a retrospective adjustment of the tariff regime released in 2015

He said that this was to account for changes in macroeconomic indices for 2016, 2017 and 2018, “thus providing certainty about revenue shortfall that may have arisen due to the differential between tariffs approved by the regulator and actual end-user tariffs,” he said

 

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