The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, says the Nigeria Air project followed due process and is currently at procurement stage awaiting approval of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
Mr Sirika also discredited claims that the government spent $600,000 on the design of the logo after the carrier was unveiled at the Farnborough Airshow in London in July.
The minister spoke in Abuja on Thursday at the 5th Aviation Stakeholders’ Forum.
Mr Sirika said, “In recent months, misinformation, factual errors, insinuations and fabrications have been peddled in both social and print media on the Nigeria Air project.
‘‘These include desirability, inadequate planning, non-consultation with stakeholders, lack of transparency and publications of fictitious amounts allegedly spent by the government on the project, amongst others.’’
He declared that the federal government was determined to clarify these issues and set the record straight.
He explained that the current effort to establish the National Carrier predated the composition of the present FEC and his appointment as a minister.
‘‘Mr President directed the then Ministry of Aviation to commence the process for the establishment of a National Carrier during the Ministerial briefing on the Aviation Sector.
‘‘The ministry set up a committee which came up with the modalities for the establishment of a National Carrier.
‘‘The Committee in its report submitted in September 2015 recommended a private sector-led national carrier with 10 per cent government ownership and non-involvement of government in the management of the airline, but the provision of enabling environment for its operation,’’ he said.
The minister said following approval by the FEC, a consortium of Transaction Advisers (TAs), comprising Airline Management Group Ltd., Avia Solutions Ltd and Tianaero FZE, were appointed in line with best practices.
He said the TAs completed the Outline Business Case (OBC) Report, which was reviewed by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), which subsequently issued the OBC Certificate of Compliance.
According to him, the report has been presented to FEC for consideration to move to the procurement phase and then Full Business Case (FBC), where it will be opened for bidding by investors including ordinary Nigerians.
The minister explained that the estimated funding requirement for the establishment of the project was $300 million up to 2020.
He added that the expected initial start–up capital of 55 million dollars was made up of 25 million dollars for deposit for new aircraft and 30 million dollars for working capital from June to December 2018.
According to him, the estimated working capital for 2019 is 100 million dollars and 145 million dollars for 2020 to be provided by the Strategic Equity Partners who are expected to manage the project.
‘‘Certain media publications that 8.8 million dollars was expended at the Farnborough Air show are unfounded, malicious, misleading, mischievous and baseless.
‘‘The TAs for national carrier coordinated the campaign and provided the additional services that included the development of the brand strategy and the media activities relating to the unveiling of the airline.
‘‘Due process was followed in the branding, which included obtaining ‘‘No Objection’’ Certificate with Ref. No. BPP/RPT/18/VOL.1/075 from the Bureau of Public Procurement for payment of N50.8 million for these services is yet to be made.
‘‘No foreign company was paid $600,000 for the design of the logo as speculated,’’ he said.
Mr Sirika said the Nigeria Air project was not lacking investors, stressing that institutions and airlines such as the African Development Bank (AfDB), AFREXIM, US-EXIM, Standard Chartered Bank, Boeing, Airbus and China-Exim Bank, were some of the interested partners.
He said the desirability of the national carrier was occasioned by the fact that no domestic airline had evolved to fill the vacuum left by Nigeria Airways since it ceased to operate more than 15 years ago.
According to him, only 28 out of Nigeria’s Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASAs) with 83 countries are active and the carrier will give impetus to the emergence of Nigeria as hub for the West and Central Africa.
Mr Sirika said it would promote reliable air transport services and support the growth of the aviation industry and domestic airlines through infrastructure expansion, traffic/routes expansion and manpower development associated with the national carrier.
He added that it would create employment as well as compete with foreign airlines for a share of international routes through competitive pricing thereby reducing capital flight.
The Acting Director-General of ICRC, Chidi Izuwah, said the nation’s aviation sector had the capacity to contribute more than the current 0.6 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Mr Izuwah noted that in 2017, Emirates Airlines generated 25.8 billion dollars as revenue, while the total revenue generated by Nigeria through its crude oil sales was 20.4 billion dollars.
He said ICRC, as the agency with the responsibility of ensuring transparency in the concession processes, would continue to support the government in its plan to transform aviation infrastructure through Public Private Partnership.
Why 36 Governors will work for Buhari`s re-election
Governor Abdul’aziz Yari of Zamfara State has said the 36 state governors of the federation, would for many reasons work to ensure the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari in the coming election.
Mr Yari, who is the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) stated this on Tuesday in Abuja at the inauguration of the Forward With Buhari Grassroots Mobilisers Goodwill Ambassadors.
He said the organisation was being sponsored by the NGF, and that it was its brain child.
According to him, governors across the federation will rather vote for Mr Buhari even if they belong to opposition political parties.
This, he said, was especially so because Mr Buhari had done a lot for the governors irrespective of party affiliation.
Mr Yari said one of such things was the bailout fund which was paid to all state governors to off-set workers’ salaries and outstanding arrears.
The NGF chairman said this was paid across board, adding that the fund went a long way in improving the lot of people in the states.
He further said the Buhari’s administration had also embarked on infrastructural development across states, saying that this was another reason the governors were working to ensure his re-election.
He, however, tasked governors especially those in All Progressives Congress (APC) controlled states, to coordinate door-to-door campaigns across their states.
Mr Yari said this was critical to ensuring a landslide victory for Mr Buhari and all APC candidates in the coming elections.
“As governors, the responsibility is on us to work for the actualisation of President Buhari`s re-election come February 16,” he said.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who was represented at the event by the Minister of Youths and Sports, Solomon Dalung, expressed happiness at the inauguration of the organisation.
Mr Osinbajo, however, noted that a lot needed to be done to sensitise the people at the grassroots on the achievements of the Buhari-led Federal Government across all sectors of the country`s economy and why he should be re-elected.
He stressed that the task ahead of the organisation was enormous considering the number of parties on the ballot paper and the need to guide the electorate to vote.
The vice president maintained that under the Buhari administration, the country`s economy was growing stronger while infrastructural development had continued across the country.
Earlier, Lawal Shuaibu, coordinator of the organisation, said it was established to give visibility, with sustained momentum, to the achievements of the Buhari-led administration.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the inauguration was attended by youths from across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Major shake up in Nigeria Air Force, 72 senior officers redeployed
The Nigeria Air Force has redeployed a total of 72 senior officers comprising 27 Air Vice Marshalls, 30 Air Commodores, eight Group Captains, four Wing Commanders and three Squadron Leaders for operational efficiency and effectiveness.
NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Ibikunle Daramola, announced this in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.
Mr Daramola, an air commodore, said prominent among those affected by the new postings are: AVM Emmanuel Anebi who is now the Chief of Policy and Plans Headquarters NAF (HQ NAF) and AVM Nurudeen Balogun, who has been appointed as the Chief of Defence Policy and Plans at the Defence Headquarters (DHQ).
He listed others to include, AVM Charles Otegbade who has been appointed as the College Secretary, National Defence College, while AVM Rufus Ojuawo who is taking over as the Chairman Air Expo and International Liaison Secretariat.
“Other appointments include those of AVM Napoleon Bali as the new Air Officer Commanding (AOC), Special Operations Command, Yenagoa, AVM Oladayo Amao as the new Chief of Training and Operations at HQ NAF”, he said.
He said AVM Abdulganiyu Olabisi as the new AOC Logistics Command, Ikeja and AVM John Baba as the new AOC Tactical Air Command.
Mr Daramola further said AVM Mahmoud Ahmed has been redeployed as the Air Secretary HQ NAF and AVM Remigus Ekeh appointed as the new Chief of Standards and Evaluation at HQ NAF,
He also said AVM Ibukun Ojeyemi becomes the new Director of Policy at HQ NAF.
Furthermore, AVM Musibau Olatunji is now the Director of Air Engineering at HQ NAF, while AVM Peter Uzezi has been appointed as the new AOC Mobility Command.
“Also appointed are AVM Dahiru Sanda, who is now a Directing Staff at National Institute of Policy and Strategic studies, and AVM Ismaila Yahaya as the new Director of Training at HQ NAF, AVM Idi Lubo as Director NAF Transformation at HQ NAF,” he said.
Also redeployed was AVM Mohammed Yakubu, redeployed as the Chief of Logistics HQ NAF and AVM Emmanuel Wonah as the new Director of Sports at DHQ.
Mr Daramola also announced that AVM Paul Jemitola has been appointed as the new Director Research and Development at HQ NAF, AVM Anderson Kassimu as Director Civil Military Relations at DHQ and AVM Ibrahim Ali as the new Deputy Commandant, Air Force Institute of Technology, Kaduna.
“Meanwhile, AVM Musa Tanko is to take over as Director of Space Utilization at DHQ while AVM Musa Muktar has been redeployed as the new Chief of Aircraft Engineering at HQ NAF.
“In addition, AVM Maxwell Nnaji has been appointed as the new Chief of Communication Information Systems at HQ NAF,” it said.
He further said AVM Emmanuel Chukwu is now the new Director Earth Observation at Defence Space Administration and AVM Aliyu Bello as the new Chief of Staff at Headquarters Special Operations Command.
Mr Daramola said AVM Olusegun Philip is to take over as the new Director of Evaluation at HQ NAF, while Air Commodore Abraham Adole has been appointed as the Principal Air Staff Officer to the Chief of the Air Staff.
Air Commodore Ayodele Laoye is now Director of Procurement and Group Captain Jika Sanda is the Director of Legal Services HQ NAF.
He said the newly posted and redeployed senior officers were expected to take over their new offices not later than January 25.
Minimum Wage: ULC, TUC, NLC reject N27,000; hold crucial meetings
The National Council of State adopted the N27,000 on Tuesday.
The post Minimum Wage: ULC, TUC, NLC reject N27,000; hold crucial meetings appeared first on Premium Times Nigeria.
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