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Nigeria Air to take-off by year end, says Buhari

  President Muhammadu Buhari says the establishment of Nigeria Air, the proposed national carrier, is at 91 percent completion and is expect...

 


President Muhammadu Buhari says the establishment of Nigeria Air, the proposed national carrier, is at 91 percent completion and is expected to commence flight operations by December.

 

Buhari gave the assurance at the third ministerial performance review retreat on Monday in Abuja.

 

Hadi Sirika, minister of aviation, had said the country’s proposed national carrier would take off by April 2022, but it missed the deadline.

 

Ethiopian Airlines (ET) consortium was recently selected as the preferred bidder for Nigeria Air, after scoring 89 percent out of 100 in the technical bidding process and 15 out of 20 as regards financial bids.

 

The airline is to own 49 percent of the national carrier.

 

Giving details of the deal in September, Siriki, had said: “The Nigerian investors are MRS, SAHCO and the Nigerian Sovereign Fund (46 percent), FGN owning 5 percent and ET 49 percent.”

 

Meanwhile, Buhari assured that the Lagos and Abuja international airports have been certified by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) while Kano and Port Harcourt airports are undergoing similar certification processes.

 

On the economy, he said the country had witnessed seven consecutive quarters of growth, after negative growth rates recorded in the second and third quarters of 2020.

 

“The GDP grew by 3.54 percent (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 percent in Q2 2022 against oil GDP that grew by -11.77 percent,” Buhari said.

 

“Most sectors of the economy recorded positive growth which reflects the effective implementation of the economic sustainability measures introduced by this administration.”

 

Further speaking on his achievements in the communications and digital economy sector, Buhari said giant strides had been made “through broadband coverage which currently stands at 44.32 percent, reinforced by 77.52 percent 4G coverage with the establishment of 36,751 4G base stations nationwide”.

 

Similarly, he said the power sector had remained a critical priority for the administration.

 

According to Buhari, the implementation of the ‘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,” he said.

 

“It is important to state that the partnership between the federal government of Nigeria and German Siemens AG, through the presidential power initiative (PPI) to increase electricity generation to 25,000 Megawatts (MW) in six years is on course.”

He said the first batch of transformers under the PPI had already arrived Nigeria.

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