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Domestic Airlines Groan Under Slanted Bilateral Air Agreement

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air peace
  • Domestic Airlines Groan Under Slanted Bilateral Air Agreement

Bilateral Air Service Agreement signed by Nigeria with a number of countries has become a major problem for domestic airlines expected to be major beneficiaries of such arrangement, stakeholders in the nation’s aviation sector have said.

Nigeria currently has over 70 BASAs signed with different countries of the world, which enable those countries to fly into the country.

But domestic airlines that have the capacity to fly to countries under BASA have complained that they are being denied entry into the countries, especially within the West African coast.

The bilateral agreement between Nigeria and another country was expected to pave the way for more direct flights between major cities of both countries on the principle of reciprocity by the designated airlines.

The Chairman of Air Peace, Mr. Allen Onyema, said that countries such as Ivory Coast had refused the airline’s application for a licence to operate into the country.

He said the Federal Government had given the airline the right to fly into other African countries but many of them were not giving operators from Nigeria access.

He said, “For over two years, we are only doing Ghana because other countries have refused to allow us in; Ivory Coast never wanted to answer our request. We had to go to them pleading; they didn’t tell us no; but we later discovered that one particular airline is using them to frustrate Nigerian carriers.

“They see us as a threat; Senegal has not come to see our facilities so they could grant us the approval we requested. We have written to them severally; our chief operating officer spent one week there in Senegal.

“We have gone to Cameroon more than 10 times but nothing positive has happened. We are ready to go into other African countries. We have the equipment to represent this country proudly; but they are not allowing us.”

An aviation security expert, Group Capt. John Ojikutu (Retd.), said the industry had been dealing with many infringements by foreign airlines on domestic routes but the aviation authority had not been able to do something about it.

He added, “These airlines include Ethiopian Airlines in particular flying to almost the five designated Nigeria international airports and could include Kaduna if the feelers one is getting from Abuja is true. On the regional international routes now are Asky and Rwanda Air, both flying commercial flights to Lagos and Abuja from Lome in Togo.

“No Nigerian airline has been designated to reciprocate these flights yet we want them to grow the industry and the nation economy. No one in the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority is reckoning with the consequences of these flights on the domestic airlines earnings and the nation economy.”

Ojikutu said the NCAA under the CAA 2006 and in particular, Part XI Section 37(1) had the power to perform air transportation licensing functions in the manner which is considered best to ensure that Nigerian registered airlines could compete effectively with other airlines providing air transport services on international routes.

He however said this section was not being utilised in favour of the domestic airlines, adding that domestic airlines would not develop when the exclusive market on domestic and regional routes remained open to foreign carriers.

A source in the industry, who spoke on condition of anonymity, however said that some domestic airlines contributed to the problem they had with other countries.

“In some cases, some of them do not begin operations two years after they have been designated to begin flight to a particular country probably because they do not have the equipment or adequate manpower; and don’t forget that those countries also have their rules,” the source said.

The General Manager, Corporate Affairs of NCAA, Mr. Sam Adurogboye, said domestic airlines had the right to report errant countries to the Nigerian government for appropriate action.

“Airlines should not appear as if they are helpless; they can make official complaints to the Ministry of Aviation, which will in turn work with that of foreign affairs to tackle the problem because it is an agreement between two countries,” he said.

According to him, the NCAA cannot handle the matter alone, except it is mandated to do so by the government.

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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Buhari Doubles Npower Beneficiaries to 1 Million, Increase GEEP by 1 Million, School Feeding by 5 Million

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Sadiya Farouq

In an effort to speed up the process of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years, President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to double the number of Npower beneficiaries from the old 500,000 to 1 million.

The President also instructed the ministry to increase the number of beneficiaries of the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) by another 1 million and expand the beneficiaries of the Home-Grown School Feeding by 5 million.

Sadiya Farouq, the Ministery disclosed this on Monday during a ministerial media briefing in Abuja.

She said: “In a bid to realise Mr. President’s commitment to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years, the ministry places significant emphasis on youth empowerment by strategically ascertaining youth engagement as a foundational objective in implementing the following strategies: double the scope of the National Social Investment Programmes.

“Mr. President has graciously approved the expansion of all NSIP programmes. Such as increase of N-Power beneficiaries from 500,000 to 1,000,000, increase GEEP beneficiaries by 1,000,000 and increase of beneficiaries of Home-Grown School Feeding by 5,000,000.”

This was coming a few days after the ministry through the support of the Central Bank of Nigeria launched NEXIT for the Batch A and B exited Npower beneficiaries to apply for the apex bank job options. For a detailed breakdown of how to register for NEXIT, click here.

Speaking on the success of the National Social Register, the minister said around 3.7 million households comprising of more than 15.5 million individuals have been captured so far.

In championing Social Inclusion, deliberate efforts were made to capture vulnerable youth and groups which included Women, People with Special Needs, in the expansion of the National Social Register by one million households. Also, in the Economic Sustainability Plan, we have over 1,000,000 urban poor in the National Social Register.

“As of June 2020, 4.41 per cent of the total number of individuals captured in the National Social Register are recognised as persons with special needs. This comes to a total of 685,090 persons with special needs in the National Social Register.

“About 3.7 million households comprising of more than 15.5 million Individuals have been captured on the National Social Register. Of that number, over 2.8 million of the households which comprise of 13.5 million individuals are eligible for Conditional Cash Transfer. This numbers are spread across the 36 states and FCT. The numbers are further broken down to 7.6 million males and 7.9 million females as shown on the screen,” she said.

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Access Bank Seals Seplat Petroleum Headquarters Over Debt

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seplate to announce financial results on July 29, 2020

Access Bank Plc on Thursday sealed the building in which Seplat Corporate Headquarters is located at 16 A Temple Road, Ikoyi, Lagos in connection to a loan Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc claimed were obtained by Cardinal Drilling Services Limited, a third party providing drilling services to Seplat.

In a statement quickly put out by Seplat, the company said while it understands that Cardinal Drilling has outstanding loan obligations to Access Bank, Seplat is not a shareholder of Cardinal Drilling, nor has outstanding loan obligations or guarantees to Access Bank.

The statement reads in part, “We understand that Cardinal Drilling has outstanding loan obligations to Access Bank. However, SEPLAT is neither a shareholder in Cardinal Drilling, nor has outstanding loan obligations or guarantees to Access Bank and did not at any time make any commitments or guarantees in respect of Cardinal Drilling’s loan obligations to Access Bank.

“SEPLAT strongly believes that there is no merit or justification for this action against it and has taken prompt legal action to vacate the court order pursuant to which the building was sealed. This action was taken by Access Bank without any prior notice to SEPLAT, as required under Nigerian law.

“SEPLAT will vigorously defend against this improper action to the full extent of the law and will seek all appropriate legal remedies.”

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COVID-19: Demand for Second Passport by High Net Worth Individuals Surges 50 Percent

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The number of high net worth individuals looking for a second international passport in order to improve their global access rose by 50 percent year-on-year, according to the latest statement from the deVere Group.

The group said national lockdowns, borders and travel restrictions have helped boost enquiries for second passports, citizenships and overseas residencies this year.

deVere Group, an independent financial advisory firm, that manages over 100,000 clients globally said demand for its residency and citizen service skyrocketed in this highly unusual year.

Most of the enquiries were from high net worth individuals from the U.S., India, South Africa, Russia, the Middle East and East Asia “who are seeking alternative options in Europe and the Commonwealth.”

According to Nigel Green, the Founder and CEO of deVere Group, “Previously, a second passport, citizenship or residency were regarded by many as the ultimate luxury item; a status symbol like yachts, supercars and original artwork.

“While this still remains the case, there’s also been a shift due to the pandemic.

“Now, second citizenship or overseas residency are increasingly becoming not just a ‘nice to have accessory’ but a ‘must have.’

“Whether it be for personal reasons, such as to remain with loved ones overseas or be able to visit them, or for business reasons, a growing number of people are seeking ways to secure their freedom of movement as they have faced travel restrictions which are, typically, based on citizenship.”

He continues: “The pandemic has served as a major catalyst for demand which skyrocketed this year. It has focused minds to secure that second passport or elite residency.

“However, the appeal for is broader than just the global Covid-19 crisis.

“Increasingly people prefer the concept of being a global citizen, rather than being solely tied to the country of their birth.

“They too value the many associated benefits including visa-free travel, world-class education, optimal healthcare, political and economic stability, reduced tax liabilities and wider business and career opportunities.”

However, nations have different criteria for granting citizenship, including time spent in the country, the ability to prove the legal source of funds and zero criminal records.

For instance, Portugal’s residency program requires just two weeks every two years of residency to gain the benefits, including the right to live, work, study and open a business there, as well as travel across the 26 countries of Europe’s Schengen area.

“More and more nations are running citizenship-by-investment programs, in which applicants invest an amount of money in a sponsoring country typically in high-end, new-build real estate developments in exchange for permanent residency, citizenship, or both,” affirms James Minns, deVere’s Head of Residency & Citizenship.

“These programmes, which high-net-worth individuals regard as invaluable insurance, are typically based on property investments that start from 250,000 EUR.”

Nigel Green concludes: “These highly unusual times have fuelled the surge in demand for second passports.

“The pandemic has brought into sharp focus what really matters to people: family, freedom and security.”

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