By Lawrence Olaoye
The Federal Government yesterday insisted that the nation’s economy was now out of recession.
Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udom Udo Udoma, told State House correspondents that the latest report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) confirmed that the country had officially exited recession.
He noted that there were significant growth in the county’s non-oil sector especially in the agricultural sectoral adding that the nation’s foreign reserves have grown from US$23.81 billion in September 2016 to almost US$42.
This is just as the Federal Government has ordered a comprehensive audit of the activities of Dana Airline to ascertain its status following reports of two mishaps in recent times.
Briefing newsmen after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari, Senior Special Assistant on media and publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said the audit would cover the personnel and the operational activities of the Airline.
It could be recalled that the Airline suffered two mishaps in recent times when the door of one of its aircrafts fell off at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja and another of its fleets overran the runway in Port-harcourt.
Shehu said “A lot of quality time was spent discussing air safety. The government of Nigeria is very much concerned about safety and the life of Nigerians. This is following the recent air incidents. Minor as they were because they are no fatalities , the government did feel concerned and the minister did the report to the council on steps that were taken following the last incident in Port Harcourt ,Dana aircraft overshooting the runaway.
“As soon as that happened, a few seconds, a rescue team was there on the ground and few moments thereafter, every passenger on board was evacuated; there was no harm to persons and this is something that should be celebrated.
“Within 24 hours an official investigation had commenced because investigators arrived in Port Harcourt and began work. One week after that a preliminary report was prepared and it was about this that the Council was briefed. Consequently as announced by the aviation authorities, the engineer and Pilot of that particular aircraft got their licences both suspended and beyond that the government has ordered a complete audit of Dana airlines in terms of personel, operations and technical capacity.”
Shehu also disclosed that the Council approved the augmentation of the contract sum for the rehabilitation of Burnt Marina Bridge and the Maintenance of Eko(Apongbon) and Ido bridges in Lagos, in favour of Messrs. Buildwell Plant and Equipment Industries Limited, in the sum of N114,424,225.05 representing 12 percent of original contract sum, thereby revising the contract sum from N957,053,316.45 to N1,071,29,541.40 with additional completion period of six months.
He added that Council also approved augmentation for Mangu Dam, in Plateau State to N7.66 billion from original cost of N5.66 billion increasing the total contract sum to N13.2 billion.
Minister of Defence, Gen. Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd) told newsmen that he presented his capital budget performance in the last two years to the Council.
According to him, “The presentation covers the strategic policies of the Ministry which is to build and maintain flexible, compact and highly trained Armed forces capable of defending the territorial integrity of the nation.
The brief also covers the serviceability of the military platforms, operational readiness, future projections and the way forward. During the period under review the Ministry received a timely consideration and approval of its capital projects and the Armed Forces in general.”