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    Posted July 8, 2014 by
    kano, Nigeria
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    Abuja airport 2nd runway project begins next year –Jonathan

    President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday said that the construction of a second runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, would begin next year.

    He, therefore, directed the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; the Federal Capital Territory Minister, Bala Mohammed and the Supervising Minister of Aviation, Dr. Samuel Ortom, to open discussions on the project to start its execution.

    This, President said, would help in mitigating some of the inconveniences associated with the upgrading of the only runway for air travellers owing to the increasingly heavy local and international traffic at the airport.

    He gave the hint at the opening session of the twoday World Pension Summit Africa Special in Abuja.

    In a veiled reaction to the complaints by one of the international delegates about the rigours he went through at the airport on arrival for the event, President Jonathan said that the ongoing work at the airport was part of the aviation sector reform to upgrade the facilities at the nation’s airports to meet international standard.

    Describing pension as a vital component for social security and a veritable vehicle in national building, the President explained that it was in recognition of its role in national development that informed his assent to the Pension Reform Act 2014 six days ago.

    He spoke on how the reform initiatives by the government had helped in settling the unpaid pension liabilities of about N2trn inherited from the old pension system and also built an asset value of about N4.21trn now.

    Jonathan said that government would not only ensure the transparent utilisation of such savings for national development but also guarantee security of savings to ensure prompt payment of entitlements to pensioners.

    He said: “In 10 years of sustained policy innovations and meticulous management, confidence and credibility in our pension management system and administration has been injected.

    It also strengthens our pension institutions as we transit from a deficit of N2trn then (about $12.9bn in 2004) to accumulate pension assets of over N4.21trn (about $27.2bn) as at March 2014. We agree with the CME that in another two decades we should get up to $100bn.

    “Furthermore, as provided by the Act, we have restructured the system of administration of the defunct defined benefit scheme in the public service by setting up PTAD and appointing its substantive head to improve the scheme. Our goal is to define pension payment procedures to ensure prompt and ease of payment of pension benefits.

    “Six days ago, I signed into law the new Pension Reform Act 2014 to replace the 2004 PRA.

    “The new law seeks to consolidate the gains of the reforms, address the identified implementation challenges and provide enabling legal environment to facilitate the creation of quality instruments through which pension assets should be best invested in infrastructure for national development,” the President added.

    He expressed confidence that the reform initiative would assist the country to consolidate the remarkable achievements recorded so far.

    President Jonathan said that expectations were that the pension commission would provide the necessary regulatory and supervisory framework to facilitate and accelerate the objectives of the reform, particularly in ensuring the safety of pension assets.

    PenCom Director-General, Mrs. Chinelo Anohu- Amazu, said the commission would continue to ensure that pension savings were used for national developmental projects and guaranteed pensioners of payment of their entitlements as and when due.

    posted by Geoffrey Oguguo
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