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Revenue Loss Looms Over Abuja Airport’s Closure

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  • Revenue Loss Looms Over Abuja Airport’s Closure

Ahead of the planned closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport runway, Abuja for repairs in February and March, there is a looming loss of revenue by the aviation sector.

Concerned stakeholders, who faulted the alternative provisions that include diversion of traffic to Kaduna airport, said the move would bring much discomfort to air travellers and foreign airlines especially, forcing many to temporarily quit air travel to the northern part of the country.

With airlines and passengers quitting the region, revenue accruing to the regulatory agencies and ancillary services will drop, making required operations further difficult.

The Abuja runway of 4000 metres-plus has been in a bad shape in the last couple of months and was in December 2016 penciled for repair at the cost of N1billion. At least three foreign airlines, including South African Airways, have had their wide-body aircraft damaged in the process of landing on the runway.

While the repair would last for at least six weeks, the Minister of State for Aviation announced that the runway would be closed and traffic diverted to Kaduna airport, from where buses will take passengers back to Abuja in a two-hour road journey.

The Chairman, Governing Board of the Nigerian Aviation Safety Initiative (NASI), Capt. Dung Pam, said though temporary closure of the runway was for safety concerns, the effects would be too huge on the already troubled sector.

Pam said that the Kaduna airport would not be able to cope with the traffic that would be coming in, in terms of all the fixed-wing aircraft.

He said: “It is going to be a serious dislocation of the nexus of our air travel system. Every major airport in the country connects to Abuja and Lagos. So, to have that place completely shut down for six weeks will be a huge blow to travelling public. They will be the ones that will be the worst of.”

The chairman recalled that the John F. Kennedy in New York, United States, one of the busiest airports in the world, does its maintenance at night when the traffic is least and never completely shut down a runway.

Aviation Security Consultant, Group Capt. John Ojikutu, said that the choice of Kaduna for air traffic diversion would scare most of the foreign airlines away.

Ojikutu said that with the security issues in the northern parts of the country, none of the American and European airlines will fly to Kaduna.

He said: “My only worry is that they want to use Kaduna for traffic and I ask the question, why can’t they use Minna? Minna may not be as good as Kaduna, but a 737 can land in Minna.

“For them to want to use Kaduna for foreign airlines, I have my doubts that the airlines will go there. It is for security reasons. The way security is built in the north is different from how we have built it here.

“If the people that are creating problems all over the place want to draw world attention to themselves, they will go to that place and create the problem. The Americans and European airlines have their minds on that. They do not want a situation where they would be brought into the conflicts, in such a way as they will be used as scapegoats. So, they would rather go to Lagos to land,” he said.

The Minister of State, Aviation, Hadi Sirika, will on Thursday engage the industry’s stakeholders on issues arising from the proposed closure of the airport.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Sirika, who disclosed this in a statement issued in Abuja yesterday, said the meeting would afford him the opportunity to officially inform the sector’s players of the decision.

Meanwhile, despite the challenges facing the nation’s aviation sector, it has attained a higher level of rating which now places it among the world leaders in terms of safety.

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) yesterday said that the country climbed to Level 3 in State Safety Programme (SSP) Implementation Process, and is now on the same rating with the United States of America, United Kingdom and other countries.

The development will boost stakeholders’ confidence in the industry, thereby increasing the business of the sector and bringing more revenue to airlines and government agencies.

The Spokesman of the apex regulatory body, Sam Adurogboye, explained that the categorisation was dependent on the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) that tracks the SSP implementation process of member states via its Integrated Safety Trend Analysis and Reporting System (iSTARS).

“Member states in tandem, therefore, deploy this platform to undertake gap analysis, define their action plans and benchmark their progress. Only two member states–Australia and Sri Lanka–have achieved a full implementation of the SSP according to ICAO records. Nigeria is striving to achieve Level 4, which will be 100 per cent, by the end of 2017,” he said.

The SSP process is inaugurated in member countries in compliance with the ICAO requirements as contained in Annex 19 on Safety Management. Nigeria’s advanced level has put its SSP implementation process among those of states that have defined an action plan for all non-implemented gap questions.

Adurogboye said Nigeria had completed its gap analysis and implemented 43.6 per cent of the required SSP tasks.

“In addition, the country has developed a detailed action plan for the accomplishment of the outstanding tasks with an established and approved timeline.

“In pursuant of the above, Nigeria has commenced the implementation of the SSP processes and has achieved several milestones. These include the completion of the SSP gap analysis and the establishment of the Implementation Plan approved by the Director-General (DG) of NCAA.

“Other completed SSP tasks are the official authorisation of the D-G of NCAA as the accountable executive of the SSP and the designation of the NCAA as the placeholder organisation of the SSP in Nigeria by the Minister of State (Aviation), Hadi Sirika.”

Adurogboye said that with this achievement, the NCAA would continue to ensure that air transportation in Nigeria is seamless and secure at all times.

He, therefore, urged airline operators to adhere to all safety regulations as contained in the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs).

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.

Finance

CBN Leaves Interest Rate Unchanged at 11.5 Percent

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Godwin Emefile

CBN Leaves Interest Rate Unchanged at 11.5 Percent

The Central Bank of Nigeria led Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) left the interest rate unchanged at 11.5 percent to aid economic recovery from recession.

The MPC lowered the interest rate by 100 basis points to 11.5 percent in the third quarter to boost capital inflow to the real sector of the economy and halt the continued plunge in economic productivity.

The members voted unanimously to leave the rate unchanged because of the poor macroeconomic factors caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, rising inflation and lockdown.

Asymmetric Corridor was also retained at +100/-700 basis points while Cash Reserve Ration (CRR) stood at 27.5 percent. The liquidity Ratio was left at 30 percent, according to the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele.

Emefiele disclosed this on Tuesday after two days of meeting. He added that the global economic outlook has started showing improvements.

The retention comes as no surprise to experts given the escalating inflation rate, weak economic productivity and the present economic recession.

Obadiah Mailafia, a former deputy governor, CBN said “I do not see them shifting ground on those key areas. It would be counter-intuitive to reduce the MPR in a time of rising inflation.

The government is facing what is increasingly looking like a fiscal crisis, as government revenues continue to fall while a sizeable portion of government funds are going into debt-servicing,” Mailafia stated, noting that “More than 400 federal agencies have been unable to pay salaries to public sector workers for several months a in a row. Nigeria’s economic challenges are compounded by the geopolitical challenges of banditry, violence and terrorism.”

“As expected, I did not see them shifting ground on those key areas. It would be counter-intuitive to reduce the MPR in a time of rising inflation.

“I, therefore, suspected they would want to leave things as they are in order to weather the current storm, in the hope that things will begin to improve by Q2.

“A stable and consistent monetary policy stance can help stabilize the economic outlook while helping actors to anchor long-term rational expectations,” the former CBN stressed.

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Banking Sector

Deposit Money Banks Pay N2.7 Billion as Customers Complaints Rise by 34%

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Deposit Money Banks Pay N2.7 Billion as Customers Complaints Rise by 34%

Nigeria’s Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) refunded banks’ customers N2.67 billion in the first half of 2020, according to the latest findings.

This represents a 63 percent decline when compared to the N7.2 billion refunded in the same period of 2019.

A breakdown shows “Bank received 2,051 complaints from consumers of financial services providers in the first half of 2020, compared with 1,528 complaints in the corresponding period of 2019. Of the total 1,167 or 56.9 percent were complaints on electronic/card, while 125 or 6.1 percent were on excess charges. Other complaints were, mainly, on frauds, dishonoured guarantees and unauthorised deductions/transfers, among others.

“A total of 1,519 complaints, including those outstanding from 2019, were resolved in the review period, compared with 1,548 in the corresponding period of 2019. Total claims in the review period in local currency and foreign currencies amounted to N4.58 billion and $151,647.82, compared with N8.70 billion and $315,475.54, respectively, in the corresponding period of 2019.

“Relief was brought to many of the affected customers as the sums of N2.67 billion and $144,176.68 were refunded in the first half of 2020, compared with the N7.20 billion and $315,229.02, refunded in the corresponding period of 2019.”

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Banking Sector

Ecobank Nigeria Received N50 billion 10-Year Bilateral Subordinated Loan

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Ecobank Nigeria Received N50 billion 10-Year Bilateral Subordinated Loan

Ecobank Nigeria announced it has received N50 billion 10-year subordinated Loan.

Adenike Laoye, Group Head, Corporate Communications, Ecobank Nigeria, disclosed this in a statement released through the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

The statement read in part, “The bilateral funding provides stable medium-term liquidity to the balance sheet of Ecobank Nigeria and positively improved its balance sheet ratios, especially the capital adequacy ratio by circa 300 basis points.

The transaction proceeds would be deployed to support Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (“MSMEs”) and Small Corporates.

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