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Arik Begins Charter Services at MMA2, Terminal 50% Utilised

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  • Arik Begins Charter Services at MMA2, Terminal 50% Utilised

Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited, operator of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two, has said that the terminal is currently utilising only 50 per cent of its capacity.

The Head of Operations, BASL, Mr. Mobolaji Salu, stated on Monday that the terminal had the capacity to process over four million passengers annually but was only processing about two million.

Salu, who spoke to journalists during a tour of the facility, said the terminal was also ready to begin regional operations, having put in place the necessary facilities that met internationals standards, but had not been granted permission by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.

These facilities, he said, included self-check-in counters, which had helped to speed up passenger processing time by a large percentage.

He said, “The MMA2 is designed to process four million passengers per annum and can be expanded, but we are currently doing only two million, which means the terminal is 50 per cent underutilised.

“We have everything ready for regional flights, because the terminal was designed for both domestic and regional flights; with offices and counters for all the necessary security agents, including an integration with the Nigeria Immigration Service system at the international airport.”

The Managing Director, BASL, Capt. Jari Williams, however, stated that the NCAA had granted the company approval to commence regional operations twice and had also cancelled the approval on both occasions.

He said the NCAA was being insincere with the excuse that domestic and regional flights could not be processed from the same terminal.

Williams added, “Abuja and Port Harcourt airports both process regional and domestic flights from the same terminal. Aviation is dynamic; it is all about integration.

“If we are going to move ahead with the dynamics of aviation, as it is all over the world, we need to look ahead. We are losing 50 per cent of our revenue due to the underutilisation of the terminal, because even the inactive areas are still regularly maintained.”

The Legal Adviser, BASL, Mr. Tola Oshobi, SAN, said the bone of contention between the company and the Federal Government was that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria had refused to obey the exclusivity clause in the concession agreement.

“At every point in time, we have never had exclusivity and over 50 per cent of domestic passengers are processed outside this terminal,” he said.

Oshobi said the company was open to an amicable settlement with the government having gone through the legal processes to fight for its right.

“But we cannot impose it on the government because the government has the obligation to honour the contractual agreement of the concession,” he added.

Meanwhile, the company has said that Arik Air has commenced charter services from the terminal due to customer demand.

Salu stated that the airline commenced the service about one month ago.

The BASL had in the past accused Arik and all the airlines operating at the General Aviation Terminal of being actively involved in FAAN’s act of illegality, given that they were all aware of the position of the law in respect of the ownership of the terminal.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Computer Village Traders Demand Refunds as Lagos State Cancels Katangowa Project

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Traders at the renowned Computer Village in Lagos find themselves in a state of uncertainty following the abrupt termination of the multibillion-naira Katangowa project by the Lagos State Government.

The project, which was aimed at relocating the bustling tech market from its current site in Ikeja to the Agbado/Oke-Odo area of the state, has left traders in a state of limbo.

Despite the cancellation of the project reportedly occurring two years ago, traders claim they were not informed by either the government or the developers, Bridgeways Limited.

This lack of communication has left them in a precarious position, particularly concerning the substantial upfront payments made by some traders to the developers.

Chairman of the Computer Village Market Board, Chief Adebowale Soyebo, expressed dismay at the lack of communication from the authorities regarding the project’s termination.

He explained that neither the government nor the contractors had officially informed them of the decision, leaving traders in the dark about the fate of their investments.

Traders who had made payments to Bridgeways Limited now seek clarity on the refund process. The absence of official communication has compounded their concerns, with many uncertain about the fate of their investments.

While acknowledging the payments made by traders, Lagos State Governor’s Adviser on e-GIS and Urban Development, Dr. Olajide Babatunde, assured that the government would facilitate refunds.

He, however, said there is a need for proper identification and verification to ensure that affected traders receive their refunds accordingly.

The termination of the Katangowa project has reignited debates about the relocation of Computer Village.

Traders assert that the issue of relocation should not be raised until the new site is at least 70% completed, as per their agreement with the government.

The cancellation of the Katangowa project underscores the challenges associated with large-scale urban development projects and the importance of transparent communication between stakeholders to avoid such situations in the future.

As traders await further directives from the government, they remain hopeful for a resolution that safeguards their interests and ensures the continuity of one of Nigeria’s most prominent tech markets.

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Government Begins Disbursement of N200bn Support Fund to Manufacturers and Businesses

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The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment has initiated the disbursement of the long-awaited N200 billion Presidential Conditional Grant Scheme.

This is the beginning of a vital phase in the government’s strategy to provide financial assistance to manufacturers and businesses across Nigeria.

The scheme, which is being administered through the Bank of Industry (BOI), has been divided into three categories of funding, totaling N200 billion.

The disbursement process comes after an exhaustive selection process and verification of applicants to ensure transparency and accountability in the allocation of funds.

Doris Aniete, spokesperson for the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, announced the progress in a statement posted on the trade minister’s official X (formerly Twitter) handle.

Aniete highlighted that verified beneficiaries have already started receiving their grants, signaling the beginning of the phased disbursement strategy.

“We are pleased to inform you that the disbursement process for the Presidential Conditional Grant Programme has officially commenced. Some beneficiaries have already received their grants, marking the beginning of our phased disbursement strategy,” stated Aniete.

She further disclosed that by Friday, April 19, a substantial number of verified applicants are set to receive significant disbursements.

However, Aniete emphasized that disbursements are ongoing, and not all applicants will receive their grants immediately, assuring that all verified applicants will eventually receive their grants in subsequent phases.

The initiation of the disbursement process comes after more than eight months since President Bola Tinubu announced the grant for manufacturers and small businesses.

The scheme aims to mitigate the adverse effects of recent economic reforms and foster sustainable economic growth by empowering businesses with financial support.

President Tinubu had outlined the government’s commitment to strengthening the manufacturing sector and creating job opportunities through the disbursement of N200 billion over a specified period.

The funding is intended to provide credit to 75 enterprises, each able to access up to N1 billion at a low-interest rate of 9% per annum.

However, the implementation of the programme has faced challenges, including delays and criticisms regarding the registration process.

Femi Egbesola, President of the Association of Small Business Owners, expressed concerns over the slow pace of data collation and suggested that genuine businesses were being discouraged from accessing the loans.

Despite the hurdles, the commencement of the disbursement process signifies a significant step forward in the government’s efforts to provide vital support to manufacturers and businesses, potentially revitalizing economic activities and driving growth across various sectors.

As beneficiaries begin to receive their grants, the impact of this initiative on the nation’s economic landscape is eagerly anticipated.

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MicroStrategy Rally Crushes Short Sellers, Wiping Out $1.92 Billion

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Short sellers betting against MicroStrategy found themselves facing significant losses as the company’s rally wiped out $1.92 billion since March.

This development comes amidst a rally that has seen MicroStrategy’s stock outperform bitcoin, causing a considerable hit to those who had taken a bearish stance on the tech firm.

According to data from S3 Partners, short sellers have been on the losing end since March, as MicroStrategy’s stock surged, highlighting the impact of the rally on those betting against the company’s success.

This loss underscores the challenges faced by short sellers in a market where certain stocks experience rapid and unexpected price increases.

The rally in MicroStrategy’s stock is attributed to several factors, including the approval of several spot bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) earlier in the year.

This move by the SEC brought bitcoin, a once-nascent asset class, closer to the mainstream and fueled investor interest in companies like MicroStrategy, known for their significant holdings of the cryptocurrency.

MicroStrategy, which held nearly 190,000 bitcoin on its balance sheet as of the end of 2023, has indicated its intention to continue increasing its exposure to the digital currency.

The company’s decision to sell convertible debt to raise money for additional bitcoin purchases further bolstered investor confidence and contributed to the stock’s rally.

Analysts at BTIG noted that the premium for MicroStrategy’s stock reflects investors’ desire to gain exposure to bitcoin indirectly, especially those who may not have the means to invest directly in the cryptocurrency or ETFs.

The company’s ability to raise capital for bitcoin purchases is seen as a positive sign for shareholders, adding to the optimism surrounding its stock.

However, despite the recent rally and optimism surrounding MicroStrategy, the crypto industry as a whole continues to be heavily shorted.

Short interest in nine of the most-watched companies in the crypto space remains high, standing at 16.73% of the total number of outstanding shares, more than three times the average in the United States.

Moreover, concerns persist regarding the SEC’s stance on cryptocurrencies, with some experts suggesting that the approval of spot bitcoin ETFs may not necessarily indicate a broader acceptance of other similar products, such as spot ethereum ETFs.

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