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Aero Recalls 69 Workers for Its Maintenance Facility



Aero Contractors Airlines
  • Aero Recalls 69 Workers for Its Maintenance Facility

Foremost Nigerian carrier, Aero Contractors has recalled about 69 workers as the airline gains financial strength on its Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility, which recently started conducting C-check for Boeing B737 aircraft.

In addition to the recalled workers, the airline is poised to recall additional 30 in the coming weeks, as it adds more aircraft on its fleet for scheduled flight operation.

Many of these workers were placed on redundancy in March 2017 as the airline was in dire financial straits and its aircraft were grounded due to inability to fund their maintenance overseas.

With its Approved Maintenance Organisation (AMO) certification obtained from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Aero has successfully started conducting C-checks, which is a high level maintenance on B737 classic and needed more personnel to do the job.

Aero management disclosed that with the recall of 69 affected staff, 30 more in the coming weeks, 362 workers are still awaiting their return back to the airline, which about a week ago, rolled out the first aircraft it successfully carried out C-check on and which had already gone back to service.

In March 2017 Aero management declared no fewer than 60 per cent of the workers redundant at the peak of its financial crisis after all its aircraft were grounded.

The General Secretary of Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), Mr. Frances Akinjola, confirmed the development in an interview with journalists.

According to him, the nine recalled personnel were members of ATSSSAN while the 19 engineers and pilots belong to the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) and the other 41 were members of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE).

He explained that the current management in Aero Contractors is laying a solid foundation that would return the airline to its former glory, stressing that if the management continued with its laid down plans, very soon, the airline would return bigger and better.

He commended the management of Aero Contractors for fulfilling its promise of recalling some of the workers who were declared redundant in 2017.

He explained that the unions were carried along throughout the period, noting that the resolve of the unions not to agitate for the closure of the airline had paid off with the recall of some of the workers.

He also confirmed that the management had assured the unions that other affected workers would be recalled in batches.

Akinjola also hinted that the current management had paid all the outstanding salaries of 2017, excluding September to December of 2016, but said that the management of the airline has assured the unions that all outstanding salaries, benefits and redundancy packages would be paid in due time.

“We met with the Chief Executive Officer and management of Aero Contractors towards the end of 2017 and we go the intention that they were prepared to start implementing the agreement we reached at the end of the redundancy exercise that we concluded with them in 2016.

“I believe Aero management will continue to call us for discussion and we believe that Aero is coming back stronger as envisaged. Our intention was never to see Aero go down and that was the reason we decided to work together with them despite the fact that some of our members felt we were not doing enough,” he said.

“The only option left for us then was to shut down Aero, which we refused to do. If we had done that, what we are seeing today would not have come to light. I think we have been vindicated with what we are seeing today.

“Aero is a very good brand in Nigeria aviation sector and as we all witnessed on the roll out of the successful C-check, Aero is coming back to where it used to be and we are even going to surpass that. Nigeria is even going to benefit from the MRO facility of the airline as pressure on foreign exchange among operators would reduce.”

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


Nigerian Brand, JR Farms Acquires 11% Stake in Rwandan Firm




Nigerian Brand, JR Farms Acquires 11% Stake in Rwandan Firm

JR Firms, an agribusiness firm with headquarters in Nigeria, has announced partnership with Sanit Wing Rwanda through the acquisition of 11 per cent stake in the company.

The CEO of the company, Mr Rotimi Olawale, explained in a statement that the partnership was in furtherance of its goals to ensure food security, create decent jobs and raise the next generation of agrarian leaders in Africa.

The stake was acquired through Green Agribusiness Fund, an initiative of JR Farms designed to invest in youth-led agribusinesses across Africa.

Sanit Wing Rwanda is an agro-processing company that processes avocado oil and cosmetics that are natural, quality, affordable, reliable and viable.

The vision of the company is to become the leading producers of best quality avocado and avocado by-products in Africa by creating value across the avocado value chain.

With focus on bringing together over 20,000 professional Avocado farmers on board and planting of three million avocado trees by 2025 through contract farming, the company currently works with One Acre Fund in supply of avocado to its processing facility.

The products of the company which include avocado oil, skin care (SANTAVO), hair cream and soap are being sold locally and exported to regional market in Kenya.

With the new partnership with JR Farms- the products of the company will enjoy more access to markets focusing on Africa and the European Union by leveraging on partnerships and trade windows available.

Aside funding, the partnership comes with project support in areas of market exposure, capacity building, exposure and other thematic support to grow the business over the next four years.

JR Farms has agribusiness operations in Nigeria, Rwanda, United States and Zambia respectively.

In Nigeria, the company deals in cassava value chain processing cassava to national staple “garri” which is consumed by over 80 million Nigerians on daily basis, while in Rwanda, it works in the coffee value chain with over 4,000 coffee farmers spread across the East Central African country.

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Shut Down Depots Selling Petrol Above Approved Price – Marketers




Shut Down Depots Selling Petrol Above Approved Price – Marketers

The Federal Government should close down depots that are selling petrol above the approved price, oil marketers said on Thursday.

National President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Sanusi Fari, said the sale of petrol above government approved price by depot owners would soon lead to a hike in the commodity’s pump price.

Fari told journalists in Abuja that the government through its agencies such as the Department of State Services and the Department of Petroleum Resources should curb the development to avoid crisis in the downstream oil sector.

He said some private depot owners were selling at N165 per litre to independent marketers, way above the government stipulated price of N148 per litre.

Fari said, “Our challenge is the inconsistency in the pricing of petrol. Up till a week ago, government was still insisting that the February price for petrol remained unchanged.

“And most of the private depot owners are selling above the government stipulated price. As at today ( February 25, 2021) private depot owners are selling at N165 per litre to independent marketers.”

He added, “In the last six years, only NNPC imports refined products into this country and these tank farms buy their products from NNPC under a controlled price.

“This has affected our businesses seriously because government is insisting that we sell at the rate of N165, which is not going to work.”

The IPMAN president said filling station owners buy the product at N165 per litre from the private depots and incur other expenses such as transportation, rent, etc.

“So government cannot expect us to sell less than what we buy,” he said.

Fari added, “This is why we are calling on government and agencies that are saddled with the responsibility to control petrol pricing to urgently clamp down on depots that are selling above the stipulated price.”

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the country’s sole importer of patrol, recently stated that it never hiked the cost of petrol to depots.

It also enjoined the depot owners to sell the product at the approved rate and called on the DPR to enforce the stipulated price across the depots.

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Nigeria Will Benefit Less From African Trade Deal – NESG



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Nigeria Will Benefit Less From African Trade Deal – NESG

Nigeria and other resource-based countries will benefit less from the African Continental Free Trade Area than economies that are more diversified, the Nigerian Economic Summit Group has said.

The NESG, a private sector-led think-tank, said in its 2021 Macroeconomic Outlook that Nigeria could reap more gains through export diversification away from crude oil.

It said trade in Africa remained dominated by raw materials and less processed products, adding that on average, minerals and agriculture accounted for 44 per cent and 16 per cent of intra-African trade respectively between 2007 and 2017.

The NESG said, “Evidence has shown that African economies that are more diversified and have improved transport infrastructure, would benefit more from the trade pact than others that are resource-based and agricultural dependent.

“Putting this in context, South Africa currently accounts for 40 per cent of intra-African manufacturing imports. On the other hand, resource-based countries, such as, Algeria, Egypt and Nigeria – which collectively account for approximately 50 per cent of Africa’s GDP – contribute only 11 per cent to intra-African trade.”

“Another bone of contention is the issue of ‘rules of origin’, which constitutes a significant risk factor. This implies that protectionism practices by some countries could constitute a setback for the establishment of the ambitious single market for Africa. But there are several reasons to be optimistic,” it added.

The group said the World Bank estimates revealed that the AfCFTA would promote manufacturing exports over natural resources, agricultural and services exports, and that manufacturing exports would account for one-third of the projected total exports of $2.5tn by 2035.

It said, “Nigeria could reap more gains through export diversification away from crude oil, as manufacturing exports currently account for an average of nine per cent of the country’s total exports.

“This suggests that efforts should be directed at strengthening domestic value chains, particularly the agro-allied industrial base.

“To achieve this, there is a need to attract private capital, most especially, FDI, that would allow for knowledge and technological transfers.”

According to the NESG, for Nigeria to maximally benefit from the trade deal, there is an urgent need to also address transport infrastructure bottlenecks and provide improved logistics.

It said, “Finding a lasting solution to the Apapa gridlock by creating similar ports in other regions of the country, so as to ensure speedy clearance of consignments needs to be prioritised.

“Nigeria also needs to set standards for locally-made goods to enhance their attractiveness in the regional market.

“The Nigerian government as a matter of urgency needs to operate an efficient and corruption-free land border system, so as to guide against the importation of low-cost sub-standard products into the country.

“It is only when these and many more reforms are implemented that Nigeria can begin to reap the benefits of the trade deal.”

The group noted that owing to the outbreak of COVID-19, the implementation of the AfCFTA was postponed from July 1, 2020 to January 1, 2021.

It said, “The key goal of the free trade pact is to expand the volume of intra-African trade, which stood at 16 per cent in 2018 .“Till date, 36 countries, including Nigeria, have ratified the agreement. The trade deal is expected to create a single market with a combined GDP of $2.5tn and total population or market size of 1.2 billion.”

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