- Emirates, Kenya Airways Suspend Abuja Operations
Dubai-based Emirates Airlines and Kenya Airways have announced the suspension of their flights to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, in the face of the economic downturn in the country, foreign exchange scarcity, and the shrinking passenger traffic on international routes.
Emirates, one of the biggest foreign airlines operating in Nigeria, said it would stop flights effective October 22, while the East African carrier, Kenya Airways, has also announced that it would suspend flights to and from Abuja with effect from November 15, 2016 as part of its restructuring and loss-saving measures.
In this regard, Emirates was said to have written to the Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, over its intention to stop flights from Abuja, indicating its inability to buy FX.
The letter was said to have been received by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation.
The airline was reported to have said, if after weeks off the Abuja suspension, no drastic change happens, Emirates would also suspend Lagos operations indefinitely and with that exit the Nigerian market.
Emirates like many major international carriers operating in Nigeria, has huge sums for ticket sales with the banks, which it has not been able to repatriate.
About two months ago, foreign airlines’ funds trapped in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was put at $900 million but the federal government granted the airlines access to FX at a concessionary exchange rate to enable them repatriate about 50 per cent of their ticket sales.
Besides the huge funds trapped in Nigeria, the recession has led to a reduction in passenger traffic, forcing the foreign airlines to reassess the logistics of operating from Nigeria with low load factors.
Emirates Airline has also threatened to stop its flights into Africa if the economic downturn on the continent worsens.
The president of the airline, Tim Clark, stated this in Dubai yesterday at an International Air Transport Association (IATA) forum.
Clark said foreign airlines flying to Africa now refuel abroad because jet fuel supplies had become more expensive and scarce in some African countries.
“In certain African countries, the currencies have really gone down, so we’re reflecting on a number of these to look at where it’s just not worth for us to travel,” Clark said.
He added that Emirates’ load factor – a measure of capacity utitlisation – for the rest of 2016 and 2017, would probably be in the mid-70s to low-80s in percentage terms.
Clark, however, said there would be some peaks and troughs in that time.
About a month ago, Emirates started tanking fuel from Accra, Ghana because of the scarcity of jet fuel in Nigeria.
Other foreign carriers were also forced to refuel at different locations outside the country before flying to Nigeria.
The airlines’ media office in Lagos confirmed the suspension of Abuja flights, stating: “Emirates can confirm that it’s suspending its four times weekly service between Abuja, Nigeria and Dubai with effect from 22nd October 2016.
“The decision was made after a review of the airline’s operations to ensure the best utilisation of its aircraft fleet for its overall business objectives. The airline continues to serve Nigeria with a daily flight to and from Lagos.”
In a related development, the federal government after the recent shake up at the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), yesterday announced the appointment of two new directors to help the organisation realise its new set goals.
The new directors are Mrs. Nike Aboderin, who was made Director, Finance and Accounts (DFA), and Mr. Sadiku Abdulkadir Rafindadi, appointed as Director, Commercial and Business Development (DCBD).
The agency said Mrs. Aboderin is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (FCIB). She holds an M.Sc degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Lagos.
“Mrs. Aboderin possesses over 23 years experience in the financial services industry, which has exposed her to both public and private exploits at different institutions including multinationals.
“She is also an Advanced Management Programme (AMP) graduate of the Lagos Business School.
“In addition, she holds a post graduate certificate in Global Strategic Management (GSM) from the Harvard Business School, Boston, USA. She is married with children,” FAAN said in a statement signed by its acting General Manager, Public Affairs, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu.
The agency added that Rafindadi is a 1985 graduate of Economics of the University of Pittsburgh. He also holds an MBA in Finance from the Clark Atlanta University, USA.
“He attended Kaduna Polytechnic, where he obtained a certificate in Management Studies. Mr. Rafindadi is a seasoned amiable manager who started his career as a young officer and rose to the pinnacle through diligence and commitment.
“Until his current appointment, Rafindadi worked in several management capacities in different institutions, including Phoenix Investment Services and British Petroleum. He is married with children,” FAAN said.
N-power: More Than 5 million People Applies for Batch C
Over 5 million People Applied for Batch C N-power Program
The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs Disaster Management and Social Development has said a total of 5,042,001 people applied for the just concluded Batch C of N-power.
The ministry said enrollment portals were opened on June 26th and closed on the 9th of August.
However, Minister Sadiya Umar Farouq has assured Nigerians that the selection process will be transparent and followed due diligence.
She said: “As we renew our commitment to the service of humanity, I will like to seize this opportunity to once again state that we have successfully exited Batch A and B of the N-Power beneficiaries in June and July respectively and we are still working towards ensuring a transition plan that will further engage or absorb them into other programmes.
“We have also received over 5 million applications from proposed N-Power Batch C and we are currently in the process of selecting the qualified beneficiaries coming into the programme.
“I assure all the applicants and Nigerians that the selection process will be transparent.
“Furthermore, I wish to reiterate that I have given approval for the payment of stipends for the exited beneficiaries of batches A and B up to the month of June 2020 including that of the independent monitors.”
According to Farouq, “Also, the final payment of stipend for Batch B is almost ready for transmission to the office of the Accountant General of the Federation for final checks and payment.”
“I, therefore, appeal for patience and understanding from beneficiaries omitted for payment in previous months and those in batch B who are to get their final payment.”
She added that “the N-Power program is aimed to provide the Nigerian youths with opportunities to gain skills for employability and entrepreneurship which will also go along way in assisting the country towards the post-Covid 19 economic recovery.”
FG to Engage Private Sector to Absorb N-power Beneficiaries as Batch C Selection Begins
Private Sector to Absorb N-power Beneficiaries, Says FG
The Federal Government has said beneficiaries of the N-power scheme will be absorbed into government entrepreneurship schemes.
Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, made the announcement in a statement signed by the Deputy Director of Information in the Ministry, Mrs Rhoda Iliya, following the outcry that trailed the exit of Batch A and Batch B despite the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report showing the nation’s unemployment rate rose to 27.1 percent in the second quarter of the year.
The minister also said the federal government is engaging private businesses to join government in creating permanent jobs for the exited N-power beneficiaries.
She, however, noted that the selection of Batch C applicants has started and the list of the successful candidates will be announced on the organisation’s official website.
According to the Ministry, a total of 5,042,001 Nigerians applied for the Batch C N-power program between June 26 and August 9th, 2020 when the program ended.
“The commencement of the Batch C enrolment is sequel to far-reaching consultations and a review of the submissions on the reform and realignment of the programme for greater efficiency.
“Batch C is also being enrolled to provide opportunities for more Nigerian youth to access the programme, in furtherance of the President’s vision of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.
“This will create opportunities that will enhance the productivity of the Nigerian youth for entrepreneurship.
“Applications will be conducted using a hybrid system of enrolment to ensure that all Nigerians are given an opportunity to participate.
“As a Ministry that caters for the vulnerable, we will also make special considerations for persons living with disabilities.
“Online portal would be open to receive applications from noon on June 26, 2020 and will provide a level playing field for all applicants.
“As part of the Ministry’s reforms to make the programme more efficient, all applicants must supply their Bank Verification Number , in their application.
“This is to ensure a streamlined and transparent selection process. Once applications are submitted, the Ministry will review submissions and publish a list of successful applicants.
“Past beneficiaries are not eligible to participate in the application process. Comprehensive details for the new batch will be announced in the coming weeks,” Farouq said.
FG Includes Emirates Airlines in Restricted Flights
FG Restricts Emirates Airlines From Flying Nigeria
The Federal Government on Friday said it has included Emirates Airlines in the list of airlines not allowed to fly into Nigeria as part of measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria.
Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation, disclosed this via his official Twitter handle on Friday.
According to him, the decision was taken after a meeting between members of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and European Union ambassadors.
The minister said the ban would take effect on Monday, September 21, 2020.
“The PTF sub-committee met today with EU Ambassadors to discuss Lufthansa, Air France/KLM ban. The meeting progressed well. Emirates Airlines’s situation was reviewed & they are consequently included in the list of those not approved, with effect from Monday the 21st September 2020,” Hadi Sirika tweeted.
“The PTF sub committee met today with EU Ambassadors to discuss Lufthansa, Air France/KLM ban. The meeting progressed well. Emirates Airlines’s situation was reviewed & they are consequently included in the list of those not approved, with effect from Monday the 21st Sept. 2020.”
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