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Jonathan Orders Construction of New Abuja Airport Runway

…Apologizes To World Pension Summit Delegates

President Goodluck Jonathan has directed both Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, Bala Mohammed and the Coordinating Minster of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to meet and resolve how the construction of second runway for the country capital’s airport takes off next year.

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan

The President made the directive Monday at formal opening of the ongoing the World Pension Summit, Africa Special, in Abuja.

The Nigerian Aviation Authority (FAAN), last week announced the closure of the Abuja airport from Saturday night to Sunday morning to allow repair works on the available runway.

President Jonathan apologized to participants who faced difficulty at the airport due to the temporary closure on their arrival to the country last weekend for the summit.

“Let me express our own concerns about some of you who came in to Abuja over the weekend,” the President pleaded.

He stated: “I think the Coordinating Ministers of the Economy, FCT and Aviation must meet and conclude on how the Abuja second runway must commence next year.”

The Abuja airport last year was shut for about 18 hours after a Saudi B747 cargo aircraft veered off the runway while landing and ran into the maintenance area, culminating in persistent calls regarding maintenance of the existing and construction of another one.

FAAN survey has revealed that, the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, is the nation’s second busiest after the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

Meanwhile, President Jonathan in his speech at the opening of the summit promised to protect pension scheme service in the country, noting that it was a significant integral part of the economic growth.

The Chairman of the Summit, Harry Smorenberg pointed out that the choice of Nigeria as the venue was due to the country’s developing economy and being the largest in the sub region.

In an interview with the Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Monday, Smorenberg declared that Africa has the potentials of “leapfrogging” the developments taking place in other countries.

He noted that by learning and sharing best practices, Africa could set a new pace by being a leader in social security and pension market development in the nearer future.

“The agenda for the pension market development  for Africa is challenging and this is the first step where we provide a platform where we can exchange truly, expertise from not mainly African countries but also from outside Africa because in my view, Africa can really leapfrog on the development taking place in other countries”, Somerenberg affirmed.

He said on education,  “If we can educate people, which is where our financial literacy comes in, and have kids in school understand what interest is and the effect of inflation on your savings, which are complex things to understand, then it would be better.”



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