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Airport Closure: Hotels, Others Sack Workers as Patronage Drops

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  • Airport Closure: Hotels, Others Sack Workers as Patronage Drops

Hotels, transportation companies and some other businesses in the Federal Capital Territory are cutting down their workforce following the crash in the patronage of their services as a result of the closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

Operators in the tourism and hospitality sector, transporters, as well as owners of small scale firms like bureau de change, business centres and managers of restaurants, said they had to trim their workforce pending when flight operations would resume at the NAIA.

The Federal Government officially shut the Abuja airport on Wednesday, March 8, 2016 in order to carry out repairs on its runway and taxiways. It diverted all Abuja-bound flights to the Kaduna International Airport, as it declared that the NAIA would remain closed to flight services for six weeks, starting from last Wednesday.

Although, the Abuja airport would be closed for less than two months, hotel owners in the FCT said on Saturday that their patronage had dropped considerably, adding that it would be unwise to retain a bloated workforce.

“There is tension among workers of many hotels in Abuja, including ours,” said a senior employee of the popular Sandralia Hotel in Utako.

“Many hotel managements in Abuja are not happy with the recent development. They know it is because of the airport’s closure and the current economic recession, but some of them have had to reduce their staff strength while others are planning to do same,” the employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity, added.

Confirming the development, the President, Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria, who also runs a hotel in Abuja, Mr. Tomi Akingbogun, said the Abuja airport closure had reduced the rate of financial recovery of hotels in the FCT, attributing it to the reason why “some managers have to adopt measures of staying afloat.”

He said, “This airport closure thing has reduced our recovery rate and it is like adding malaria upon typhoid fever for most of us right now. The patronage has dropped, because if customers are coming to Abuja from Lagos, or any other area, you land in Kaduna and you have to take a trip of about three hours to Abuja.

“And at times when you get to the airport you have to wait for one hour, bringing it to at least three and half hours that you will have to spend just to get to Abuja. That has really affected the hospitality industry, especially with regards to those who travel regularly, as they have cut down on the number of journeys they make to Abuja.

“However, it is expected that the closure of the Abuja airport will affect the hospitality industry, which is why you hear of the survival decisions being taken by some operators.”

The FTAN president stated that the actual percentage drop in the rate of patronage they get could not be given due to the unavailability of adequate statistics in the sector.

He said, “Categorically we have not been able to capture statistics because of the unwillingness of people to share figures with their colleagues. Some owners fail to know the importance of statistics, but we can say we’ve experienced considerable reduction.

“However, that does not mean customers are not coming at all. Once you buy a ticket, you can get transport to Abuja or from Abuja to Kaduna at subsidised rate or for free as provided by the government. This has helped us because it has encouraged those who really need to come to Abuja to do so. But the truth is that not many travellers are aware of this option.”

On whether hotel owners in the capital city had interfaced with the government on this matter, Akingbogun replied, “There is often less communication between the private sector and the government. Most of the time, what government is particular about is for it to raise tax or money to be collected from the private sector. We’ve tried to fill that communication gap but this has not been successful as expected.”

Explaining the effect of the Abuja airport closure on transportation services to and from the NAIA, the Secretary, Disciplinary Committee, Airport Car Hire Association, Abuja, who is also a car hire operator, Mr. Emmanuel Etuokwu, stated that transporters had to reduce their workforce since the closure of the airport to flight operations.

He said, “We know that we will enjoy after the repair of the runway because flights will come to Abuja freely. But the negative effect now is that businesses here, including car hire service and restaurants, have been paralysed. Government should have considered us when making major decisions like closing the airport.

“They should have arranged with car hire services to transport passengers to Kaduna and return those in Kaduna to Abuja.”

When asked what members of the car hire association were currently doing, he replied, “We are not doing much again. Most of our services have been reduced to once per week as opposed to when we used to work every day. This is why some of us had to reduce our workers too, at least, till things return to normal.”

On whether the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria was considering the request of the car hire operators at the Abuja airport, the International Terminal Manager, NAIA, Mrs. Hajara Musa, said there was no such plan.

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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Oil Inches Higher But Rangebound as COVID-19 Cases Soar

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Oil prices edged higher in rangebound trade on Monday on optimism about a rebound in the U.S. economy as vaccinations accelerate, but rising COVID-19 cases in other parts of the world kept a lid on prices.

Brent was up 22 cents, or 0.4%, at $63.17 a barrel by 0843 GMT. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) U.S. crude rose 12 cents, or 0.2%, to $59.44 a barrel.

The prices have remained rangebound in the last three weeks, with Brent between $60 and $65 per barrel and WTI at $57 to $62.

“Oil prices are entering a consolidation phase after swinging wildly last month,” Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM.

“While there are still plenty of reasons to be bullish, market players have become more cautious as infections have surged in Europe, India and some emerging markets, while vaccine rollouts have proved slower than anticipated,” he added.

India now accounts for one in every six daily infections worldwide, and other parts of Asia are seeing infection rates rise.

Asian oil demand remained weak and some buyers asked for lower volumes in May partly because of refinery maintenance and higher prices.

The United States has fully vaccinated more than 70 million people but U.S. gasoline demand has not picked up as much as expected.

The U.S. economy is at an “inflection point” amid expectations that growth and hiring will accelerate in the months ahead, but faces the risk of reopening too quickly and sparking a resurgence in coronavirus cases, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said in an interview broadcast on Sunday.

“There really are risks out there. And the principal one just is that we will reopen too quickly, people will too quickly return to their old practices, and we’ll see another spike in cases,” Powell said in a CBS interview, recorded on Wednesday.

On the production side, no new oil drilling rigs were started in the United States in the most recent week, a report published by Baker Hughes showed.

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Equatorial Guinea to Launch Vision on Post-COVID Energy Transition Plans with Report and Film

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The Africa Energy Series (AES): Equatorial Guinea 2021 campaign – comprising a report and a documentary – will serve as a critical tool to navigate the energy investment landscape in one of Africa’s more mature petroleum producing markets; Equatorial Guinea has largely been able to sustain its pace of engagement with global investors in the face of COVID-19, forecasting $1.1 billion in FDI in oil and gas activities in 2021; The third edition of the AES: Equatorial Guinea 2021 report will be released at Africa Oil & Power’s U.S. Africa Energy Forum 2021 networking event in Washington, D.C. this July.

Africa Oil & Power is proud to announce the upcoming launch of its Africa Energy Series (AES): Equatorial Guinea 2021 investment report and documentary, as part of a multimedia campaign set to champion the domestic energy sector and shape the West and Central African energy narrative.

The dual-language publication will target key developments driving a post-COVID-19 recovery in Equatorial Guinea – namely, the growth of petroleum and power industries; regional gas monetization initiatives; a clean energy transition; the impact of environmental, social and governance criteria; and expansion of the national diversification agenda.

A 30-minute documentary will provide a visual complement to the publication, featuring first-hand interviews with government officials, private sector players, industry regulators and energy experts discussing Equatorial Guinea’s unparalleled ambition and future plans.

“From spearheading regional gas monetization initiatives to drilling new exploration wells as early as Q2 2021, Equatorial Guinea continues to cement its reputation as a progressive, dynamic force on the African energy stage,” said H.E. Gabriel Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons. “The Africa Energy Series publication in conjunction with a detailed documentary format, gives us the voice to showcase the depth of our full-stream investment opportunities to a global audience.”

Since the onset of COVID-19, Equatorial Guinea has been proactive in safeguarding opportunities for foreign investors and continuing to drive capital into its hydrocarbon resources. In February, Chevron achieved first gas flow from the successful execution of its Alen Gas Monetization project, a $475-million investment representing the first phase of Equatorial Guinea’s Gas Mega Hub masterplan.

The Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons is currently promoting several capital-intensive projects – including the construction of modular oil refineries, a gold refinery, liquefied petroleum gas strategic tanks, a urea plant and the expansion of a compressed natural gas project – which are open for investment. Last December, the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons announced a forecast of $1.1 billion in foreign direct investment in oil and gas activities in 2021.

Active in Equatorial Guinea since 2015, AOP released its first AES documentary on the country in 2016, followed by investment reports in 2018 and 2019.

The AES: Equatorial Guinea 2021 investment report will be launched at the U.S. Africa Energy Forum 2021 online seminar and in-person networking event in Washington, DC. (July 12). The documentary will be launched at the U.S. Africa Energy Forum conference in Houston (October 4-5) and broadcast globally on news networks.

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U.S. Africa Energy Forum 2021 Launches: Promotes U.S. Role as Primary Investor in African Energy

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The U.S. Africa Energy Forum 2021 – organized by Africa Oil & Power, in partnership with the African Energy Chamber’s U.S.-Africa Committee – will foster alignment between U.S. and African governments’ energy policies and highlight African oil, gas, power and renewable projects across the energy value chain for U.S. investors; the multi-day forum unites U.S. and African policymakers, energy executives and industry leaders to create new linkages and foster discussions that drive long-term policy formation and project execution; the in-person, two-day summit and gala dinner will be hosted in Houston, Texas (October 4-5, 2021) and an online seminar and in-person networking event will be held in Washington D.C. (July 12).

Africa Oil & Power (AOP) and the African Energy Chamber are excited to announce the launch of the first-ever U.S. Africa Energy Forum (USAEF). This event aims to create deeper cooperation between the U.S. and Africa on energy policy, to reach alignment on long term sustainability goals, to stimulate greater American investment in the African oil, gas and power sectors, and to engage and reposition the U.S. as the primary partner of choice for African energy developments.

Under the theme “New Horizons for U.S. Africa Energy Investment” the forum will explore diverse foreign investment and export opportunities across the continent, including natural gas as a vital fuel for the energy transition; energy storage and battery minerals; Africa’s place in global energy supply chains; the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area; evolving energy technologies and how they relate to the future role of petroleum resources; and on-and off-grid power developments.

An online seminar and in-person networking event will be held in Washington D.C. on July 12, 2021, building up to the in-person U.S. Africa Energy Forum summit and gala dinner, to be hosted in Houston, Texas, on October 4-5, 2021. Africa Oil & Power and the African Energy Chamber invite all U.S.-based companies with an interest in engaging with African industry leaders and project developers to participate in the USAEF Houston summit.

This initiative comes at an important juncture in U.S.-Africa relations. The Biden Administration’s announcements of its intentions to proactively build a stronger U.S.-Africa partnership coincides with the fact that African projects are seeing rising interest from U.S. companies and lending institutions alike. The USAEF event is thus dedicated to enabling dialogue between its participants that advances these developments.

“Our mission has always been to showcase the resource potential that Africa has to offer while at the same time showing its growing preference for sustainable energy policies and technologies. Toward that end, we hope it becomes evident that Africa does not just want investment capital: it wants smart capital and an accompanying partnership with the investors,” says James Chester, Senior Director of Africa Oil & Power. “The U.S. Africa Energy Forum represents the first-of-its-kind opportunity to catalyze U.S. participation in Africa’s energy transformation – via technology, policy support, capital injection and skills development – and turns a new page in the chapter on global energy investment.”

In partnership with the African Energy Chamber’s U.S.-Africa Committee, AOP will introduce American companies to African opportunities and advance an agenda of sustainable, long-term investment in African energy and other sectors by U.S. organizations.

“The rise in support from the U.S. to the continent is a credit to Africa itself, which is increasingly viewed as a favored destination for global investors, multilaterals and export credit agencies,” says Jude Kearney, President of Kearney Africa and former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Service Industries and Finance at the U.S. Department of Commerce during the Clinton Administration. “Africa continues to command a healthy share of global FDI in oil and gas industries. It has for decades shown that investment in those sectors is favorable compared to other jurisdictions and can be successful by many measures. Even as Africa and the rest of the world wrestles with a global pandemic, Africa’s energy sector shows vitality and resiliency – not only in hydrocarbons but in regard to new opportunities in mining, liquefied natural gas, and agriculture.”

Both African governments and private sector sponsors of African energy projects value highly the combination of investment and partnership that US investors famously convey. The USAEF seeks to enable successful partnerships between its participants such that the energy development goals of U.S. investors and strategic partners and their African counterparts can be achieved.

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