Aso Villa Reads for 27/07/2020

Every day, we bring you the best stories that the Media is reporting about the Government of Nigeria

Construction firms that will be involved in the building of the Kano-Kaduna end of the Lagos-Kano Standard Gauge Railway Project being financed by the Federal Government have started mobilising to site. The contract of the railway project which is to extend to the border with neighbouring Niger Republic is being handled by the team of Chinese construction companies led by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), at the cost of about $8.3 billion. Confirming the development in a tweet, Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation, said the official flag-off of the work at the construction site in Kano will be made known at a date to be made public by his ministry. Business Day gathered that the contract for the construction of the standard gauge which will be connecting states in the northern and southern parts of the country were awarded to the Chinese company, CCECC, on 15th of May 2018, by the government. The Kano-Kaduna end of the project which is being funded through a loan sourced from Exim Bank of China, is expected to be completed before the end of the life span of the current administration in 2023. On completion, the new rail line will be connected to the Kaduna –Abuja segment of the rail network that was completed officially by the Buhari administration in July 2016, which has since been in operation.

The Federal Government says the enrolment for Batch C scheme of the N-Power Programme which started on June 26 will now close on August 8. Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, who disclosed this via Twitter on Sunday night, said over 5 million applications have been received for the scheme. The Federal Government plans to enrol 400,000 applicants in the Batch C scheme. The N-Power Programme was inaugurated by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), in 2016 under the National Social Investment Programme. The programme aims to lift citizens out of poverty through capacity building, investment and direct support. Punch reports.

The Federal Government spent a total of N292.38bn on pension and gratuities of its retirees in the 2019 financial year, Punch reports. The Central Bank of Nigeria disclosed this in its report on ‘Monthly FGN finances’, which was recently released. According to the report obtained by our correspondent on Sunday, the Federal Government spent N24.56bn monthly from January to June, amounting to N147.36bn. It spent N24.17bn monthly from July and December, amounting to N145.02bn. In a related development, the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate said in a statement on its website on Friday that it had paid the third batch of 50 NAHCO ex- workers their of one-off payment of their outstanding entitlements. The PTAD had earlier said that the Federal Government was ready to pay verified ex-workers and next of kin of NAHCO, in line with the takeover approval of pension-related matters of some agencies, privatised/liquidated by the Bureau of Public Enterprises in 2017, including NAHCO.

August 4, 2020, has been announced by the federal government of Nigeria as the date for resumption of secondary schools across the country, Vanguard reports. This was made known in a statement issued on Monday by the director of press and public relations, Ministry of Education, Mr Ben Bem Goong. The unanimous decisions reached was reached at a virtual consultative meeting between the Federal Ministry of Education, Honourable Commissioners of Education of the 36 states. The statement revealed that “Only students in exit classes are expected to resume, so that they can participate in the West African Examination (WAEC) exercise scheduled to begin on August 17, 2020. Secondary schools in the country are to reopen as from the 4th of August, 2020 for exit classes only. Students will have two weeks within which to prepare for the West African Examinations (WAEC) due to start on the 17th of August, 2020,” the statement read.

A total of 14 airports across the country have resumed full domestic flights, following the temporal suspension of aviation services due to the coronavirus pandemic, Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika has stated. Sirika who announced this via his verified twitter handle, @hadisirika on Sunday added ministerial approval for resumption of domestic flights was not required. According to Sirika, both private and charter operations are now fully available to customers even as he pledged to keep the public informed of the resumption date for airports yet to resume operations. The airports now fully operational domestically include the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos; Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja; Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport; Port Harcourt International Airport and Sam Mbakwe Airport, Owerri. Others are the Maiduguri Airport, Victor Attah Airport, Uyo; Kaduna Airport, Yola Airport, Margret Ekpo Airport, Calabar and Sultan Abubakar Airport, Sokoto. Also cleared for domestic flight resumption are the Birnin Kebbi Airport, Yakubu Gowon Airport, Jos and the Benin Airport. International flights remain suspended owing to the global anxiety created by the coronavirus pandemic but there are indications that international flight operations would commence before October 2020. Vanguard reports.