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Stakeholders Allege Diversion of $100m BASA Fund

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Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika

There are fears that the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) fund, which accruals had risen to over $100 million (N38.1 billion) may have been diverted to fund projects outside the aviation sector, aviation industry sources have said.

Investigations revealed that the funds, which are paid by foreign airlines operating into Nigeria, stem from the commercial agreement between Nigeria and host countries of the international carriers may have been depleted without definite projects executed with the funds.

The fund is domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) but managed by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), with the Director General as signatory.

In 2014, the then Ministry of Aviation hinted that Nigeria may abolish commercial agreement, an offshoot of BASA, which defines the amount of money an airline should pay for each passenger, but indications show that this was not carried through.

So while there was a belief that Nigeria was transiting to slot allocation, which is an alternative to commercial agreement, the fund has continued to accrue.

An NCAA source hinted that since the funds were utilised for airport remodeling, which was not completed as planned, the fund has continued to accumulate and may have been diverted to fund projects outside the industry.

Industry observers noted government is in dire need of money to fund landing aids, runway lighting, perimeter fencing of most airports and improve facilities and equipment at the Nigeria College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) Zaria, but the BASA fund, which ought to be used to carry out these projects has been left in CBN.

They also suggested that the money should also be used to complete some of the perishable terminals now government is emphasising on export of agro-allied produce and as it planned to concession four international airports in the country.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika travelled to Singapore few days ago with top official of the industry to negotiate BASA for effective resumption of flight by Singapore Airlines to Nigeria.

It is the view of industry stakeholders that BASA fund be accounted for and what it is used for clearly stated projects to ensure that the money is not being diverted for personal use by individuals who have access to the funds.

“So much money has accumulated in the BASA fund. The only time the money from there was used was during the airport remodeling project; since them we don’t know what is happening to the fund. Government may have taken money from the fund when some parastatals in the industry failed to remit their 25 percent allocation of their revenue to the federation account and their money was drawn at source, but we are not sure that the money is being utilised now,” said a source.

BASA is a reciprocal agreement between two countries whose airlines ought to fly to both countries but as Nigeria does not have a national carrier, foreign carriers pay government for their frequencies into the country and over time there has been criticisms that Nigeria is being shortchanged because while other airlines fly to Nigeria, most of those destinations are not being reciprocated by Nigerian carriers, which fly to few international routes.

“These international airlines pay us a lot of money. Recently Air France paid us $8million and Emirates pays us a lot of money; the same with other foreign airlines but no one is talking about the fund,” industry source told THISDAY.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Communities in Delta State Shut OML30 Operates by Heritage Energy Operational Services Ltd

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Oil

The OML30 operated by Heritage Energy Operational Services Limited in Delta State has been shut down by the host communities for failing to meet its obligations to the 112 host communities.

The host communities, led by its Management Committee/President Generals, had accused the company of gross indifference and failure in its obligations to the host communities despite several meetings and calls to ensure a peaceful resolution.

The station with a production capacity of 80,000 barrels per day and eight flow stations operates within the Ughelli area of Delta State.

The host communities specifically accused HEOSL of failure to pay the GMOU fund for the last two years despite mediation by the Delta State Government on May 18, 2020.

Also, the host communities accused HEOSL of ‘total stoppage of scholarship award and payment to host communities since 2016’.

The Chairman, Dr Harrison Oboghor and Secretary, Mr Ibuje Joseph that led the OML30 host communities explained to journalists on Monday that the host communities had resolved not to backpedal until all their demands were met.

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Crude Oil Recovers from 4 Percent Decline as Joe Biden Wins

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Oil Prices Recover from 4 Percent Decline as Joe Biden Wins

Crude oil prices rose with other financial markets on Monday following a 4 percent decline on Friday.

This was after Joe Biden, the former Vice-President and now the President-elect won the race to the White House.

Global benchmark oil, Brent crude oil, gained $1.06 or 2.7 percent to $40.51 per barrel on Monday while the U.S West Texas Intermediate crude oil gained $1.07 or 2.9 percent to $38.21 per barrel.

On Friday, Brent crude oil declined by 4 percent as global uncertainty surged amid unclear US election and a series of negative comments from President Trump. However, on Saturday when it became clear that Joe Biden has won, global financial markets rebounded in anticipation of additional stimulus given Biden’s position on economic growth and recovery.

Trading this morning has a risk-on flavor, reflecting increasing confidence that Joe Biden will occupy the White House, but the Republican Party will retain control of the Senate,” Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney.

“The outcome is ideal from a market point of view. Neither party controls the Congress, so both trade wars and higher taxes are largely off the agenda.”

The president-elect and his team are now working on mitigating the risk of COVID-19, grow the world’s largest economy by protecting small businesses and the middle class that is the backbone of the American economy.

There will be some repercussions further down the road,” said OCBC’s economist Howie Lee, raising the possibility of lockdowns in the United States under Biden.

“Either you’re crimping energy demand or consumption behavior.”

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Nigeria, Other OPEC Members Oil Revenue to Hit 18 Year Low in 2020

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Revenue of OPEC Members to Drop to 18 Year Low in 2020

The United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) has predicted that the oil revenue of members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will decline to 18-year low in 2020.

EIA said their combined oil export revenue will plunge to its lowest level since 2002. It proceeded to put a value to the projection by saying members of the oil cartel would earn around $323 billion in net oil export in 2020.

If realised, this forecast revenue would be the lowest in 18 years. Lower crude oil prices and lower export volumes drive this expected decrease in export revenues,” it said.

The oil expert based its projection on weak global oil demand and low oil prices because of COVID-19.

It said this coupled with production cuts by OPEC members in recent months will impact net revenue of the cartel in 2020.

It said, “OPEC earned an estimated $595bn in net oil export revenues in 2019, less than half of the estimated record high of $1.2tn, which was earned in 2012.

“Continued declines in revenue in 2020 could be detrimental to member countries’ fiscal budgets, which rely heavily on revenues from oil sales to import goods, fund social programmes, and support public services.”

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