The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has appealed to Emirate Airlines to exercise restraint while the government works to ensure its trapped funds are released as quickly as possible.
Senator Hadi Sirika who appeared before the Senate Committee on Aviation noted that Nigeria’s aviation industry is one of the most profitable markets in the world.
It would be recalled that Emirate Airlines yet again disclosed it will suspend flight operations to Nigeria indefinitely over trapped funds to the tune of $85 million.
According to a statement released by the airline, the new threat to suspend operations was necessary to clear its pile of trapped funds in Nigeria.
Investors King had reported that several foreign airlines operating in Nigeria under the umbrella of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have complained about the inability to repatriate their proceeds from the sale of tickets to their home countries.
While explaining the reason for the circumstance, the Minister of Aviation noted that several factors which include recession and Covid 19 are what led to the scarcity of foreign exchange in Nigeria.
He further pleaded for more time and understanding while the government work to resolve the issue.
“We need their service, but they need our market more. We are assuring them that the money will be paid, but they should exercise restraint and treat Nigeria with value” the minister stated.
Meanwhile, the speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Femi Gbajabiamila has assured that foreign airlines operating in Nigeria would be able to repatriate half of their trapped fund by December 2022.
The speaker who spoke during a meeting with the representatives of the foreign airlines, the aviation minister, and the central bank governor stated that the issue is a major concern to the house of representatives.
While he urge for better understanding and patriotism, he noted that efforts are being made in conjunction with the apex bank to provide $350 million before the end of the year.
Investors King learnt that the total sum of the trapped fund accrued from the sale of air tickets is more than $700 million.
IBEDC Disconnects UCH Over N500m Debt, Critical Services Affected
The University College Hospital (UCH) in Ibadan, Oyo State, experienced a disruption in its power supply after the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) disconnected the hospital over a debt amounting to N500 million.
Dr. Jesse Otegbayo, the Chief Medical Director of UCH, confirmed the disconnection but refrained from elaborating on the exact cause.
IBEDC’s spokesperson, Busolami Tunwase, acknowledged the outstanding debt owed by UCH but denied that the disconnection was intentional.
Tunwase stated that while UCH owed the substantial amount, the power outage was due to a technical fault in the area, coinciding with the debt situation.
Despite repeated attempts to engage UCH in discussions to settle the debt, IBEDC had resorted to disconnection as a last resort.
The disconnection poses significant challenges to UCH’s critical services, affecting patient care and hospital operations.
While IBEDC emphasized its understanding of the hospital’s importance and commitment to resolving the issue amicably, the situation underscores the financial strains faced by healthcare institutions and the essential need for reliable power supply.
Efforts to negotiate and find a resolution between UCH and IBEDC are ongoing to restore normal operations and ensure uninterrupted healthcare services.
Oil and Gas Dealers Threaten Withdrawal as 70% of Downstream Businesses Collapse
The downstream oil sector in Nigeria faces a looming crisis as oil and gas dealers, represented by the Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association of Nigeria (NOGASA), issue a stern warning of potential service withdrawal.
In a recent resolution following their executive committee meeting in Abuja, NOGASA expressed grave concerns over the collapse of approximately 70% of businesses in the industry due to the harsh operating environment.
President of NOGASA, Benneth Korie, highlighted the dire situation, emphasizing the challenges faced by oil marketers in funding operations amidst soaring bank interest rates.
Korie underscored the overwhelming burden faced by operators who are compelled to acquire funds at exorbitant interest rates upwards of 30%, exacerbating financial strain and hindering business viability.
The primary demand voiced by NOGASA is the pegging of the foreign exchange rate at N750/$ to facilitate refinery operations and stimulate the production of refined products domestically.
Failure to address these pressing issues, Korie warned, could result in the withdrawal of services by NOGASA’s over 200 members starting from the next month.
The downstream oil crisis coincides with heightened anticipation for the release of refined petroleum products from the Dangote and Port Harcourt refineries, seen as critical for alleviating supply shortages nationwide.
However, amidst forex crises and inflationary pressures, operators in the oil and gas sector confront mounting economic challenges, necessitating urgent government intervention.
As Nigeria navigates through turbulent economic waters, stakeholders eagerly await decisive action from authorities to salvage the downstream oil sector from imminent collapse and avert potential disruptions in fuel supply chains.
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