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Ngozi Okonjo Iweala Made Top 5 Candidates for WTO Top Job

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Financial Inclusion

WTO Shortlists Ngozi Okonjo Iweala for Final Stage

Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance and former Managing Director of the World Bank, has been shortlisted for the final five candidates for the World Trade Organisation (WTO) job.

The Geneva-based organisation said candidates like Mexico’s Jesus Seade, Egypt’s Hamid Mamdouh, and Moldova’s Tudor Ulianovschi did not secure sufficient support in a first of three rounds voting to proceed to the next stage.

The other candidates that moved to the next stage with Okonjo-Iweala, are Saudi Arabia’s former minister of economy and planning, Mohammad Maziad Al-Tuwaijri; UK’s former secretary of state for international trade, Liam Fox; South Korea’s trade minister, Yoo Myung-hee; and Kenya’s former international trade minister, Amina Chawahir Mohamed Jibril.

Their expertise and high professional and personal qualities are highly valued and respected by all members,” David Walker, WTO’s General Council Chairman, stated in a statement released on Friday.

Walker from New Zealand and his two co-facilitators, Dacio Castillo of Honduras and Harald Aspelund of Iceland said they were impressed with the five candidates shortlisted.

Throughout the six days of consultations it was clear to us that the entire membership is both committed to and fully engaged in this process,” Walker, who expressed his gratitude to all the candidates, including those who will not advance further, said.

“Members consider all the candidates highly qualified and respected individuals. I would also like to pay tribute to the dignified manner in which they, their delegations, and their governments have conducted themselves in this process.

“Their willingness to engage, especially at these challenging times, has been greatly appreciated, and the Organisation is in their debt. Their expertise and high professional and personal qualities are highly valued and respected by all members. I am sure I speak on behalf of all of you in wishing them well in their future endeavours,” he added.

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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Travel

Max Air Flight Suffers Multiple Tyre Bursts, Passengers Safe

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Max Air

A Max Air flight carrying 119 passengers and six crew members from Yola to Abuja experienced a rare tyre malfunction during takeoff.

The Boeing 737, flight NGL1649, encountered an issue when four of its tyres burst, leading to an emergency halt on the runway.

The Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection at the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB), Bimbo Olawumi Oladeji, confirmed the incident.

She stated that as the aircraft began its takeoff roll, a loud bang was heard, identified as the bursting of the rear gear tyres.

Initially, two tyres burst, and while attempting to taxi off the runway, the remaining two tyres also burst, leaving the aircraft disabled.

Glory be to God, no injuries were reported among the passengers or crew, thanks to the quick response and professionalism of the flight team.

A go-team, led by NSIB Director General Alex Badeh, is set to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident to determine the cause of the malfunction.

This investigation aims to ensure the continued safety and reliability of air travel in the region.

Max Air has expressed gratitude for the cooperation and calmness of all passengers during the incident and assured the public of their commitment to maintaining high safety standards.

The airline is working closely with authorities to address any potential issues and prevent future occurrences.

As investigations proceed, the aviation community remains focused on learning from the event to enhance safety protocols and maintain passenger confidence in air travel across Nigeria.

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Nigerians Increasingly Reject Bribe Demands, Reports NBS

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Bribery

70% of Nigerians reportedly refused to pay bribes on at least one occasion in 2023, according to a report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The report, titled “Corruption in Nigeria: Patterns and Trends,” highlights the growing resistance to bribery among citizens.

The study found that 42% of Nigerians cited moral objections as their primary reason for refusing bribes.

Also, 23% were motivated by the pressures of the rising cost of living, while 21% had alternative ways to achieve their goals without resorting to corruption.

The report noted the highest bribery refusal rate in the North-West, where 76% of individuals resisted paying bribes.

All regions across the country recorded refusal rates exceeding 60%, indicating a nationwide trend towards rejecting corruption.

Public tolerance for bribery has also diminished, with only 23% of Nigerians considering bribery acceptable for expediting administrative processes, down from 29% in 2019.

Furthermore, fewer citizens reported facing negative consequences for refusing bribes, with figures dropping from 49% in 2019 to 38% in 2023.

This suggests a growing empowerment among Nigerians to challenge corrupt officials without fear of retaliation.

Despite these positive trends, the NBS report highlighted that over N700 billion was still paid in cash bribes to public officials in 2023.

Corruption remains the fourth most pressing issue in the country, following the cost of living, insecurity, and unemployment.

The report also underscored a decline in public confidence in the government’s anti-corruption efforts.

In 2019, more than half of Nigerians believed the government was effective in combating corruption, but by 2023, this confidence had fallen to less than a third.

The NBS findings offer a glimmer of hope for Nigeria’s fight against corruption, showcasing a public increasingly willing to stand up against bribery and demand accountability from their leaders.

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Travel

High Altitude, Higher Prices: Domestic Airfares Jump 150%

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Arik Airplane - Investors King

Nigerian air travelers are reeling from a dramatic increase in domestic airfares with prices skyrocketing by 150% over the past year.

This surge has forced many passengers to reconsider their travel options, opting for road transport despite the risks involved.

Passengers like Dare Adepoju, who frequently commutes between Lagos and Abuja for business and family visits, have expressed frustration.

“It’s unsustainable,” he lamented. “With flights nearing N200,000 for just an hour, I’m exhausted.”

Social media is abuzz with similar sentiments. Akinloa Adejuwon tweeted about the tough choice between costly flights and unsafe roads, highlighting the dire situation many Nigerians face.

The fare increase is attributed to a limited number of operational aircraft. Airline Operators of Nigeria revealed that many planes are grounded due to maintenance needs and lack of access to foreign exchange for repairs.

The current situation sees airlines like Ibom Air and Air Peace charging up to N238,000 for a one-way ticket between major cities.

This price jump, from about N51,000 last year, reflects the severe challenges the industry faces.

Capt. Roland Iyayi, a senior member of the Airline Operators of Nigeria, pointed to the shortage of aircraft as a primary cause.

“Making forex available to airlines is crucial for resolving this crisis,” he stated.

As the industry grapples with these challenges, passengers continue to hope for relief. The aviation sector’s future hinges on addressing these issues, ensuring safe and affordable travel for all Nigerians.

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