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Stanbic IBTC Tasks Nigerian Investors To Tap Into AfCFTA To Boost Intra-Africa Trade



Stanbic IBTC Bank- Investors King

Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC, a subsidiary of Standard Bank Group, has urged Nigerian investors and business owners to harness and maximize the business opportunities that are inherent in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

This will help boost intra-Africa trade beyond the current level of 17 percent as well as promote industrialization and the economic growth of the continent.

Wole Adeniyi, Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC, made the call at the African Continental Free Trade Area webinar organised by Stanbic IBTC themed: “AfCFTA State of Play: Understanding Potential and Maximising Opportunities for the Customer.”

Wole stated that multiple studies have shown that the increase in trade has a direct impact on reducing unemployment and poverty in societies, and noted that the AfCFTA agreement presents numerous trade opportunities that are both exciting and promising not just for the continent but specifically for the Nigerian market.

He emphasised Stanbic IBTC’s readiness to leverage the trade opportunities of the AfCFTA agreement to unlock business opportunities for its clients in the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) sector as well as its corporate clients.

While delivering his keynote address on the theme of the event, the guest speaker, Bamidele Ayemibo, lead consultant at 3T Impex Trade Academy, pointed out that with the implementation of the AfCFTA agreement, Africa has the opportunity of becoming the largest market in the world with a population of 1.2 billion people and a combined GDP of $3.4 trillion.

Bamidele underscored that the goal of AfCFTA is to create a single market for Africa and encourage the free movement of goods and services thereby facilitating trade transactions.

He pointed out that Nigerian customers can take advantage of the non-sensitive list, the sensitive list and the exclusive list in the agreement while engaging in various trade transactions with other African countries.

According to him, out of about 5,000 Harmonised System (HS) codes or products in the world that fall under the non-sensitive list, 90 percent will be duty-free and Nigerian customers can take advantage of this.

He added that countries are allowed to liberalize their products under the sensitive list within a period of 10 years while the exclusive list enables countries not to liberalize their products in order to protect that sector of their economy.

Bamidele stressed that the Federal Government is currently developing a portal where Nigerian customers and investors can trade with other countries under the AfCFTA agreement.

He further explained that AfCFTA presents a huge potential for Nigerian manufactured products on the African continent because Nigeria produces about 90 percent of such products that are imported by other African countries.

While appreciating Stanbic IBTC for the bold step it has taken to educate its clients and investors about the benefits of AfCFTA, Ayemibo added that information enables agreements such as the AfCFTA to thrive, lamenting that previous agreements like the Ecowas Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) collapsed due to lack of adequate information.

He also added that with its vast footprint across Africa through Standard Bank Group, Stanbic IBTC can reach out to its numerous customers, educate them on the benefits of the AfCTFA agreement and facilitate their trade and investment requirements under the Agreement.

The African Continental Free Trade Area was created by the agreement that was first signed by 44 African states in March 2018. Nigeria signed the AfCFTA in July 2019 and deposited its instruments of ratification in December 2020 becoming the 34th African country to fully ratify the agreement.

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Airline Stocks Tumble as Ryanair Cuts Summer Fare Forecast



Ryanair’s announcement of a significant cut in summer fare expectations has sent ripples through the airline industry, causing stocks to fall sharply.

The no-frills airline reported a nearly 50% drop in profits for the quarter ending June 30, attributing the decline to lower passenger fares and frugal consumer behavior.

Ryanair’s profit before tax fell to €401 million, a stark contrast to the same period last year. This slump is primarily due to a 15% decrease in average passenger fares, as travelers continue to tighten their budgets amid ongoing economic uncertainties.

Chief Executive Michael O’Leary highlighted the shift in consumer behavior, noting that “fares are now moving materially lower than the prior year and pricing continues to deteriorate.”

The company’s previous forecast of stable fares has been revised, with expectations now set for a “materially lower” fare structure between July and September.

The announcement triggered a sell-off in airline stocks, with Ryanair’s share price plummeting by 17%.

Other airlines, including EasyJet and Wizz Air, also experienced declines, reflecting broader concerns about the industry’s financial health as customer spending contracts.

Experts are questioning whether the entire sector is facing a downturn, especially as consumers delay booking trips and opt for more budget-friendly options.

Despite the profit drop, Ryanair reported a slight increase in passenger numbers, which helped mitigate a more significant fall in overall revenue.

However, the airline emphasized that its summer performance heavily relies on last-minute bookings, particularly in August and September.

The trend of delayed bookings is partly due to the cost-of-living crisis, which continues to influence consumer spending habits.

This trend aligns with observations from other airlines like Jet2, which noted only modest price increases amid late bookings.

Ryanair’s struggles are compounded by external challenges such as air traffic control strikes and a global IT meltdown, which have led to delays and cancellations.

These issues have further dampened consumer confidence, potentially impacting last-minute booking numbers.

Moreover, Ryanair faces operational hurdles with aircraft deliveries. Boeing has warned that some 737 Max planes expected by next spring will be delayed until summer 2025, posing a threat to Ryanair’s capacity during peak travel periods.

The airline industry is grappling with the end of a post-pandemic boom in pricing, as evident from warnings by other carriers like Lufthansa and Air France-KLM.

As economic pressures mount, the sector must navigate a landscape of cautious consumer spending and logistical challenges.

Ryanair’s latest figures underscore the fragile nature of the current travel market, prompting airlines to reassess strategies to attract budget-conscious travelers while maintaining profitability.

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Max Air Flight Suffers Multiple Tyre Bursts, Passengers Safe



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




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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