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Senate raises the alarm over imminent danger in air travels in Nigeria

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Senate raises the alarm over imminent danger in air travels in Nigeria

The Senate Committee on Aviation has warned the authorities concerned with aviation to give attention to needs of the airline operators or risk the grave danger pervading air travels in Nigeria.
The panel said airline operators in the country were compelled to cut corners in maintenance demands on their aircrafts due to their poor financial situation as there are no palliative from Government just as it is done in other climes.
Addressing newmen on Monday in Abuja, the chairman of the committee, Senator Smart Adeyemi (APC, Kogi) said the N4 billion bailout given to the airline operators by the federal government was inadequate, forcing them to cut corners.
He, therefore, appealed to the federal government to review the bailout upward.
Senator Adeyemi said: “In most nations there are special palliatives for airline operators because they must not compromise.
“If a part is needed in three weeks time and it is not available and the operators decide to be managing, well you know what will happen.”
“Let me explain what they are doing in some African countries so that you can understand what we are saying, because when we are convinced with our facts we would say these are the facts that we have gathered. It is left for those who are in the industry to dispute our position but these are the information we have gathered.
“I want to put it on record that there is danger in flying in Nigeria today. There are instances of some planes skidding off the runway.
“We must support the airline operators pending when we have our own   national carrier. But if we want to continue with the operators like most nations are doing today, we cannot afford to leave them on their own, because they will want to be in business and struggle to make profit, and by extension, there will be cutting of corners.”
He said the air safety Nigeria has recorded  over the years was because the operators were doing what is right.
The lawmaker said about N50 billion would be required by the airlines for them to remain in business.
“This increase in bailout is imperative if we are to keep our economy running, guarantee job security and mitigate retrenchment,” he said.
Senator Adeyemi said there were serious issues raised by airline operators during public hearing on six executive bills held recently by the Senate Committee on Aviation.
The issues, he said, were key to the economic stability and safety of air travelers.
He listed the issues to include non-compliance with executive order on import duty waiver on airplane spare parts as well as removal of VAT from air transport, multiple taxes and lack of access to single digit lending and foreign exchange by operators to buy spare parts.
He said: “Our further enquiry has also shown that airline operators are already discouraged and have resorted to cutting corners in carrying out maintenance requirements on their aircrafts.
“This is of course as a result of their poor financial situation. If this is not immediately checked, the effect is best not imagined. More definite measure has to be done to help the airlines respond to the impact of Covid-19 pandemic.
“As duly elected representatives of the people, we are mandated to take seriously any issue which may have adverse effects on the lives of the people we represent. Where we see red flags, we should immediately bring this to the attention of the people and ultimately, the Federal Government.
“It is important to note that the safety recorded so far in the aviation industry in Nigeria is primarily due to the availability of the spare parts, and a conducive atmosphere to operate. Let us note that no amount of money is worth the life of even one Nigerian and it’s on this note that we call the immediate and urgent attention of the Federal Government on the need for the increase on bailout funds for air line operators.
“As legislatures, we strongly advice the Nigerian Government to run a tax free, V.A.T free process for all spare parts and commercial aircrafts being imported to Nigeria.
“This will help in accelerating economic growth even in the face of a recession confronting nations of the world today, while helping the airlines stay afloat with an end goal to ensuring the safety of passengers.”

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Legislature

Senate commences public hearing on PIB to achieve assent by May 29 of this year

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Senate commences public hearing on PIB to achieve assent by May 29 of this year

After over 20 years of back and forth in efforts to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said they are working to ensure that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) presently before the National Assembly is passed by April and President Muhammadu Buhari assents to it by May 29th of this year.

He said it is to ensure that Nigerians benefit optimally from crude oil production and sale of fossil fuel reserves. 

Lawan stated this on Monday while declaring open a 2-day public hearing on the bill by the National Assembly. 

According to the Senate President, the National Assembly in its consideration of the piece of legislation, would ensure that the bill when passed into law, guarantees improved revenue earnings for the country. 

Lawan said, “let me say this, we (National Assembly) will pass this bill not without ensuring that it is a bill that satisfies certain conditions. 

“Nigeria is blessed with these resources, we want Nigeria to benefit optimally from them. In fact, we are in a hurry because we have lost so many years of benefits that we could have had.” 

The Senate President, however, noted that the non-passage of the PIB had been a major drag on the industry over the years, significantly limiting its ability to attract both local and foreign capital at a time when many other countries are scrambling to exploit their oil and gas resources. 

“The mere knowledge that the nation’s oil industry is still being governed by laws enacted more than 50 years ago is ludicrous and extremely disappointing.

“As legislators, we will strive to deliver a Bill that will enhance the growth of our oil and gas industry, modernize our fiscal system and enhance competitiveness, while creating harmony for all stakeholders. This is a promise we have made and that we shall achieve.

“Nigeria must have an Oil and Gas Industry that benefits its people. Equally, our Oil and Gas Industry must be competitive. We must create a sustainable investment climate, where business in the sector will flourish,” he said.

He added that the determination by the legislature to pass the Bill “is driven by the need to overhaul a system that has refused to operate optimally in line with global standards, resulting into loss of continental competiveness, transparency, accountability, good governance and economy loss for the petroleum industry and the country.”

The Senate President noted that the challenges surrounding the future usefulness of petroleum resources and the increased level of uncertainty on oil demand calls for great concern. 

“It is estimated that with the evolving of new technologies, fossil fuel may be less attractive if not of no value in the next 20 years. 

“It is therefore time for us to make maximum benefit of our fossil fuel reserves through this reform before it fades away,”Lawan stressed. 

According to him, the Petroleum Industry Bill comprises of 4 chapters that outline how to create efficient and effective governing institutions with clear and separate roles for the petroleum industry; establish a framework for the creation of a commercially oriented and profit-driven National Petroleum Company; promote transparency, good governance and accountability in the administration of the petroleum resources of Nigeria among others;

He added that the piece of legislation among others, also seeks to promote the exploration and exploitation of petroleum resources in Nigeria for the benefit of the Nigerian people; promote the efficient, effective and sustainable development of the petroleum industry;

According to him, the PIB upon passage and assent into law by the President, would “foster sustainable prosperity within host communities, provide direct social and economic benefits from petroleum operations to host communities; create a framework to support the development of host communities among others; and

“Establish a progressive fiscal framework that encourages investment in the Nigerian Petroleum Industry, balancing rewards with risk and enhancing revenues to the Federal Government of Nigeria; provide a forward-looking fiscal framework that is based on core principles of clarity, dynamism and fiscal rules of general application; establish a fiscal framework that expands the revenue base of the Federal Government, while ensuring a fair return for investors.”

Lawan assured that the National Assembly during the public hearing would deal with all issues relating to the oil and gas industry with thoroughness and effectiveness, so as to avert colossal losses to the nation’s economy.

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Legislature

NASS postpones resumption over APC membership registration.

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NASS postpones resumption over APC membership registration.

The administrative management of the national assembly has announced the postponement of resumption of members of the two chambers that was billed for Tuesday 26th January 2021 till the 9th of February, 2021.

This was contained in a statement that was signed by the clerk of the national Assembly Ojo Olatunde Amos.
The national Assembly had vacated for the Yuletide/new year breake on the 21st of December to reconvene on the 26th of January, 2021.
The statement indicated that the postponement is to enable APC caucus in the national assembly take active part in the membership registration and revalidation that will commence on Monday, 25th January, 2021.
The statement reads, “This is to inform all distinguished senators and Honorable members of the national Assembly that the resumption of plenary earlier scheduled for Tuesday, 26th January, 2021is hereby rescheduled for Tuesday 9th, February, 2021.
“This postponement is to enable members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) participate in the registration and revalidation of its membership, scheduled to commence on Monday, 25th, January  2021.
The clerck expressed regrets for any inconviniences that change in date may have caused all and sundry.





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Legislature

Niger Assembly declares support for Medical Varsity Bill

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Niger Assembly declares support for Medical Varsity Bill

Ahead of the public hearing at the House of Representatives, the Niger State House of Assembly on Thursday threw its weight behind the Bill for an Act to Establish Federal University of Medicine and Health Sciences in Bida, Niger State.

The Speaker, Niger State House of Assembly, Hon. Barrister Abdullahi Bawa Wuse gave the indicatio in Minna when the State Lawmakers hosted the Member representing Bida/Gbako/Katcha Federal Constituency, Hon. Saidu Musa Abdullahi SMA (Gorozon Nupe) who was on a visit in furtherance of stakeholders’ engagement on the Bill.

The Speaker said he was “delighted with the Lawmaker for understanding the need for institutional collaborations which is healthy to the progress of the State”.

According to Bawa Wuse “we will go out as a State to get this University established here. Having University to run Medicine and related Courses in Niger State is long overdue”.

Addressing the State House of Assembly, Hon. Saidu said “the University. When established, will provide more opportunities and fair chance for Nigerians seeking to pursue a career in the medical sciences and most importantly address medical workforce shortfall in the country. It is a pan Nigerian project but more of Niger State”.

“Today, the number of Nigerian Students seeking admission to study medicine in particular and health sciences in general is on the increase but unfortunately, a significant percentage of them usually fail in getting admission not because they do not possess the required qualification but because those tertiary institutions do not have the capacity to accommodate them.

“It may interest you to know that Niger State is the only State in the North-Central Nigeria that has no degree awarding institutions in medicine and health sciences neither at Private nor public arrangement levels”.

Members from Gbako, Bida II, Suleja, Agwara and Chanchaga, all contributed brilliantly in support of the Bill.

After various contributions from the Lawmakers in favour of the Bill, the Speaker, Hon. Abdullahi Bawa Wuse constituted a Committee Chaired by the Member representing Agwara with a clear time of reference to prepare a position paper that will be presented at the Public Hearing in support of the bill.

The Speaker also said the 27 House of Assembly Members of Niger State will attend the Public Hearing.

Member representing Chanchaga, Hon. Ahmed Marafa Guni pledged to foot the bill for the transportation of all the Members of the State Assembly to and from the Public Hearing.

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