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MMA2: Aviation Unions Call Off Strike

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  • MMA2: Aviation Unions Call Off Strike

Aviation unions under the aegis of Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, the National Union of Air Transport Employees and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers on Thursday night called off their strike action against Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited.

It was gathered that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and other security agencies met with the unions and the BASL management on Thursday night and an agreement was reached for the firm, which is the operator of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two, to place the sacked workers on whose behalf the strike was called, on redundancy while they negotiate their benefits, among other demands.

Six domestic airlines operating at the MMA2 had earlier on Thursday, temporarily moved to the General Aviation Terminal as a result of the industrial action.

Dana Air, Med-View Airline, Azman Airlines, Aero Contractors and Overland Airways operate their flight services from the MMA2 but have been unable to function normally from the terminal due to the strike action.

The terminal was under siege on Wednesday and Thursday when aviation workers barricaded the entrance to protest the alleged sacking of 24 staff members by the BASL over their interest to join the unions.

The airlines on Thursday moved their operations to the GAT being operated by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, pending when the problem between the BASL and the unions would be resolved.

Meanwhile, Dana Air had threatened to downsize its workforce if the industrial action against the BASL lingered.

In a statement signed by its Media and Communications Manager, Kingsley Ezenwa, the airline said it had lost about N100m due to the crisis.

Ezenwa stated, “We wish to sincerely apologise to our teeming guests, who missed their flights as a result of the dispute between aviation unions and Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited, operators of the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2. While operating our first flight out of Lagos from the MMA2, we made alternative arrangements and moved our operations temporarily to the General Aviation Terminal.

“Our worst fear, however, is if the terminal will be able to process the number of passengers when there is a coincidence in flight schedule with over eight airlines having to operate from the General Aviation Terminal at the moment.

“For now, we have lost over N100m to the ongoing action and losing such money in an industry where airlines are still grappling with a myriad of challenges is unacceptable and disappointing to say the least. We do not know how the situation will be in the coming days and we might have no other option than to downsize if the action stretches for too long.”

Ezenwa said the parties involved should resolve the dispute in consideration of the passengers for whom they were all in the industry to serve.

“Without the passengers, there won’t be any airline, regulator or industry, and we believe they shouldn’t suffer for what they did not contribute to. While we respect the rights of both parties to engage each other based on extant laws, we call on all concerned to intervene and save the industry from further crises,” he added.

The unions had on Wednesday said they would not back down until their requests were met.

The spokesman for BASL, Steve Omolale, said members of staff of the company also embarked on a peaceful demonstration on Thursday as information filtered in that the unions were planning to invade and destroy the facilities at the terminal.

He stated, “We have it on good authority that unions in the aviation sector, who have grounded our operations for days now, are making clandestine moves to invade our terminal in the night and destroy the facilities therein.

“We will never allow this to happen as we consider it as the greatest act of criminality. We want to assure the unions that as a law-abiding corporate citizen, we will do everything possible within the ambit of the law to protect our terminal.”

Omolale added that with this new revelation, the company believed that the unions’ alleged grievances went beyond the protestation of the disengagement of the 24 workers, who they claimed were their members.

“We view this as an act of economic sabotage and a sustained campaign to truncate our concession. The BASL therefore appeals to the Nigeria Police Force to enforce the various court orders granted it, restraining the unions from further disrupting the operations of the MMA2,” he said.

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.

Economy

Electricity Consumers Get 611,231 Meters Under MAP Scheme

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Electricity Consumers Get 611,231 Meters Under MAP Scheme

A total of 611,231 meters have been deployed as at January 31, 2021 under the Meter Asset Provider initiative since its full operation despite the COVID-19 pandemic and other extraneous factors, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has said.

NERC disclosed this in a consultation paper on the review of the MAP Regulations.

The proposed review of the MAP scheme is coming nearly four months after the Federal Government launched a new initiative called National Mass Metering Programme aimed at distributing six million meters to consumers free of charge.

“The existence of a huge metering gap and the need to ensure successful implementation of the MYTO 2020 Service-Based Tariff resulted in the approval of the NMMP, a policy of the Federal Government anchored on the provision of long-term low interest financing to the Discos,” NERC said.

The commission had in March 2018 approved the MAP Regulations with the aim of fast-tracking the closure of the metering gap in the sector through the engagement of third-party investors (called meter asset providers) for the financing, procurement, supply, installation and maintenance of meters.

It set a target of providing meters to all customers within three years, and directed the Discos and the approved MAPs to commence the rollout of meters not later than May 1, 2019.

But in February 2020, NERC said several constraints, including changes in fiscal policy and the limited availability of long-term funding, had led to limited success in meter rollout.

NERC, in the consultation paper, highlighted three proposed options for metering implementation going forward.

The first option is to allow the implementation of both the NMMP and MAP metering frameworks to run concurrently; the second is to continue with the current MAP framework with meters procured under the NMMP supplied only through MAPs (by being off-takers from the local manufacturers/assemblers).

The third option is to wind down the MAP framework and allow the Discos to procure meters directly from local manufacturers/assemblers (or as procured by the World Bank), and enter into new contracts for the installation and maintenance of such meters.

“Customers who choose not to wait to receive meters based on the deployment schedule of the NMMP shall continue to have the option of making upfront payments for meters which will be installed within a maximum period of 10 working days,” NERC said.

The regulator said such customers would be refunded by the Discos through energy credits, adding that there would be no option for meter acquisition through the payment of a monthly meter service charge.

“Where meters have already been deployed under the meter service charge option, Discos shall make one-off repayment to affected customers and associated MAPs. Such meters shall be recognised in the rate base of the Discos,” it added.

NERC urged stakeholders to provide comments, objections, and representations on the proposed amendments within 21 days of the publication of the consultation paper.

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Economy

Nigeria’s Economy Moving in Right Direction but Slow – Amina Mohammed

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Nigeria’s Economy Moving in Right Direction but Slow – Amina Mohammed

Nigeria is moving in the right direction economically but its movement is not fast, the United Nations stated on Thursday.

Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed, said this during a meeting at the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in Abuja.

She said the challenges in Nigeria were huge, its population large but described the country’s economy as great with lots of opportunities.

The UN scribe stated that after traveling by train and through various roads in the Northern parts of Nigeria, she discovered that the roads were motorable, although there were ongoing repairs on some of them.

Mohammed said, “This is a country that is diverse in nature, ethnicity, religious backgrounds and opportunities. But these are its strengths, not weaknesses.

“And I think the narrative for Nigeria has to change to one that is very much the reality.”

Speaking on her trips across parts of Nigeria, she said, “What I saw along the way is really a country that is growing, that is moving in the right direction economically. Is it fast enough? No. Is it in the right direction? Yes it is.

“And the challenges still remain with security, our social cohesion and social contract between government and the people. But I know that people are working on these issues.”

She said the UN recognised the reforms in Nigeria and other nations, adding that the common global agenda was the Sustainable Development Goals.

Mohammad commended Nigeria’s quick response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as she expressed hope that the arrival of vaccines would be the beginning of the end of COVID-19.

On his part, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, told his guest that the Federal Government was working hard to make Nigeria the entrepreneurial hub of Africa.

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Economy

N10.7tn Spent on Fuel Subsidy in 10 Years – MOMAN

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N10.7tn Spent on Fuel Subsidy in 10 Years – MOMAN

Nigeria spent a total of N10.7tn on fuel subsidy in the last 10 years, the Chairman, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr Adetunji Oyebanji, has said.

Oyebanji, who was the guest speaker at the 18th Aret Adams Lecture on Thursday, said N750bn was spent on subsidy in 2019.

He highlighted the need for a transition to a market-driven environment through policy-backed legislative and commercial frameworks, enabling the sustainability of the downstream petroleum sector.

“Total deregulation is more than just the removal of price subsidies; it is aimed at improving business operations, increasing the investments in the oil and gas sector value chain, resulting in the growth in the nation’s downstream petroleum sector as a whole,” he said.

The managing director of 11 Plc (formerly Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc) said steps had been taken, “but larger and faster leaps are now required.”

According to him, deregulation requires the creation of a competitive market environment, and will guarantee the supply of products at commercial and market prices.

“It requires unrestricted and profitable investments in infrastructure, earning reasonable returns to investors. It requires a strong regulator to enable transparency and fair competition among players, and not to regulate prices,” Oyebanji said.

He noted that MOMAN had recently called for a national debate by stakeholders to share pragmatic and realistic initiatives to ease the impact of the subsidy removal on society – especially on the most vulnerable.

He said, “A shift from crude oil production to crude oil full value realisation through deliberate investment in domestic refining and refined products distribution, creates the opportunity to transform the dynamics of the downstream sector from one of ‘net importer’ to one of ‘net exporter’, spurring the growth of the Nigerian economy.

“Effective reforms and regulations are key drivers for the growth within the refining sector. Non-functional refineries cost Nigeria over $13bn in 2019. If the NNPC refineries were operating at optimal capacity, Nigeria would have imported only 40 per cent of what it consumed in 2019.”

Full deregulation of the downstream sector remains the most glaring boost to potential investors in this space, according to Oyebanji.

He said, “As crude oil prices will fluctuate depending on the prevailing exchange rates, it will be astute to trade in naira to avoid inevitable price swings.

“There needs to be a balance between ensuring the sustainable growth of the crude oil value chain (upstream through downstream) and providing value for the Nigerian consumer and the Nigerian economy.”

He said the philosophy should be for the government to put the legislative and commercial framework in place and let the market develop by itself.

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