THE proposed centenary city in Abuja will provide work for at least 15,000 Nigerians. Pius Anyim, secretary to the government of the federation, SGF, made this known on Tuesday, December 4, in Abuja, during an investigative hearing organised by the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on Land Racketeering and Allocation in the federal capital territory, FCT. He said the project, which would be completed between seven and 10 years, would be developed in three phases.
According to him, the FCT had carried out enumeration of the site and given the bill to the federal government for the payment of compensation on the land to the owners. Anyim assured that there would not be development on the land until all issues of compensation were resolved. “There won’t be any development on the land until the issues of compensation are resolved.” To quell insinuations in some quarters that the proposed city was an alternative to Abuja, Anyim said, the city is intended to support Abuja which is an already established city.
He also said the government would not spend a dime on the project as it would be private sector-driven but the government would get some profits from it as the owner of the land and the initiative. “Everything about the project is private sector-driven; this is why you did not see anything about it in the budget.” He said the concept of the city was leisure and entertainment-based.
In her presentation, Stella Oduah, minister of aviation, said the ministry has planned aerotropolis (airport city) to position Nigeria in the aviation global village. According to her, aerotropolis is a mini urban city comprising aviation business and other related enterprises. She said national civil aviation policy has recognised the concept as a private sector-driven approach to support President Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation agenda.
“The concept is aimed at developing Nigeria’s major commercial airports as efficient, profitable, self-sustaining, commercial hubs for an effective aviation industry.” She expressed optimism that when it becomes operational, the aerotropolis would change the business model of Nigeria’s airports into a self-sustaining model through increased private sector investment in the airports, among others.
Oduah also said that a company had applied to the federal capital territory administration, FCTA, to allocate additional land adjoining the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, for the commencement of the aerotropolis. She said the application was in line with the provision of the Abuja master plan.
She said the proposed project, which would be commercial-oriented, would create 10 million jobs when whenever it becomes operational.
NCC Hosts Telecom Stakeholders’ Summit
THE Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, is hosting the maiden edition of the annual Telecom Stakeholders Summit in Nigeria. The event, which is slated to hold at the Intercontinental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, on December 17, has the theme: “Transforming a Nation with Broadband: Telecom as Instrument for Sustainable Development”. It will bring together, different stakeholders of the telecom industry to interact and discuss issues that affect them from their various perspectives and interests. It will comprise a forum, product and services showcase, and a gala nite.
Godswill Akpabio, governor of Akwa Ibom State, will chair the event while Kayode Fayemi, governor of Ekiti State, will present the keynote address. Babatunde Raji Fashola of Lagos State is the host governor, while Omobola Johnson, minister of communication technology, is also to present the keynote address at the event. Others expected at the event are members of the National Assembly and top industry chieftains and experts, including service providers and consumers.
Eugene Juwah, executive vice chairman of the Commission, said the summit would provide a veritable platform for interaction and sharing of ideas across different stakeholders, as well as providing an opportunity for appraisal of the performance of the industry, while projecting for the future. He said the summit evolved out of the need to achieve a more inclusive consultation among the different stakeholders in line with the consultative approach to the commission’s regulatory mandate.
Tony Ojobo, chairman of the organizing committee of the summit and director, Public Affairs of the NCC, said the summit boasts of full representation of the key stakeholders in the industry including the consumers, the government at different levels, the investors, the service providers, the media, the financial industry and international telecom community.
He said the summit promises to offer an opportunity for intense discourse about the industry, its potentials and direction while also providing an atmosphere for relaxation and interaction between the diverse stakeholder segments of the industry, while sending a signal to the world about our unity of purpose, and huge potentials that abound in our country.
Training Youths on ICT
THE federal government is set to empower the National Open University of Nigeria, NOUN, to train youths on information communication technology, ICT. President Goodluck Jonathan revealed this at the opening ceremony of a five-day conference on the 7th pan-commonwealth forum, PCF7, in Abuja, December 2.
The conference with the theme: ‘Open Learning for Development towards Empowerment and Transformation,’ attracted scholars from various commonwealth countries. Jonathan, who was represented by Nyesom Wike, supervising minister of education, said that the training would be part of his administration’s efforts to empower the youths. “This special programme will be organised in collaboration with the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme, SURE-P, and the Central Bank of Nigeria. The Federal Government is also working out modalities for collaboration between NOUN and different agencies of government on empowering the young people.”
Jonathan, who noted that open and distance learning was an innovation in this part of the world, said he was aware of the challenges and needs of the national open university. He said that the government recognised the relevance and scope of open and distance learning in the country. The president said that given the challenges facing conventional universities, NOUN would be empowered to broaden the citizens’ access to university education.
Jonathan commended the organisers of the forum for choosing Nigeria as its venue. “This, of course, indicates that our efforts towards transforming and restructuring our education sector are also appreciated by those within and outside our country. Due to the importance which Nigeria places on the ‘education for all initiative, I can assure you that Nigeria will continue to be a strong supporter of open and distance education,’’
Vincent Tenebe, vice-chancellor of NOUN, said Nigeria had secured the right to host the event right after a stiff competition from some countries. He said that the forum would create an avenue for Nigeria and other member-countries to appreciate the potential of open and distance learning. Asha Kanwar, President of the Commonwealth of Learning, said the forum was particularly aimed at increasing people’s access to quality learning in Nigeria.
THE National Pension Commission, PENCOM, has established six zonal offices in the country as part of efforts to decentralise its activities. Chinelo Anohu-Amazu, acting director-general of the commission, stated this at the official inauguration of the North-West zonal office of the commission in Kano on Thursday, November 5, 2013.
She said establishing the zonal offices in all the six geo-political zones of the country was also necessary in order to bring the commission closer to contributors and retirees. “It is also a deliberate attempt to encourage and facilitate compliance by the states in line with the decision taken by the National Council of States in 2006. With our presence in the North-West zone now, we expect the state governments to renew their commitment by ensuring the speedy implementation of the CPS in order not to shut out their citizens from the benefits of a hassle-free retirement.’’
She called on all stakeholders to avail themselves of the services of the commission by visiting the offices to make enquiries, lodge complaints and seek enlightenment on the contributory pension scheme. “Due to our renewed focus on efficient service delivery, we seek to reduce the need for contributors and retirees to travel from various parts of the country to Abuja in order to access our services,’’ she said.
According to her, the commission was considering the possibility of allowing contributors to utilise part of their retirement saving account balances to part-finance the acquisition of homes. “This will be done within the context of government’s efforts at revolutionalising the mortgage and housing sector.
“It is our expectation that when the initiatives are eventually finalised, contributors from states that have fully implanted the scheme will be allowed to draw these benefits,’’ she said.
In his remarks, Rabi’u Kwankwaso, governor of Kano State, said the state government would partner with the commission to ensure effective service delivery. Also in his remarks, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, pledged continuous support to the commission to enable it discharge its responsibilities effectively. The newly-established zonal office is expected to serve six other states – Jigawa, Kebbi, Kaduna, Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara.
Experts End Regional Workshop on Taxation
A FIVE-DAY regional workshop for experts on taxation has ended in Lagos with the compilation, review and editing of a book on “Tax System’s Yield and Efficiency in ECOWAS Member States.” Countries covered under the case studies commissioned by the Economic Policy Analysis Unit, EPAU, of the ECOWAS Commission with financial support from the African Capacity Building Foundation, ACBF, included Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Nigeria and The Gambia.
For an optimal publication output that will be useful for tax policy decision making in the region to be obtained from the Country Case Studies, EPAU felt the strong need for detailed review and editing of the various research outcomes produced by country think tanks. The book on tax system’s yield and efficiency will follow the recent publication by EPAU on Domestic Resources Mobilisation in Selected ECOWAS member states.
The workshop, which ended on December 6, also provided an opportunity for the development of policy briefs from articles in the journal of West African Integration as well as monographs recently published by EPAU. It brought together policy and publication experts as well as ECOWAS Commission officials, and also featured a presentation on the publication of a newsletter on the activities undertaken by EPAU, which is charged with conducting policy analysis and research with a view to inform decision making at the regional level.
Addressing the participants, Felix N’Zué, director of EPAU, underlined the importance of such brain storming as part of efforts to guide sound policy making towards effective delivery on the ECOWAS mandate of regional integration. He thanked them for their time and quality of contributions which he said would enrich the various documents.
Compiled by Vincent Nzemeke
— Dec. 23, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT