- Middle East Investors Move to Take Over Nigerian Airports
Some stakeholders in the aviation sector, including members of the National Assembly, are worried that investors from some Middle East countries are expressing interest in the planned concession of Nigerian airports.
Check showed that the interests thus far received from countries like Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are bothering the stakeholders because of the security implication for Nigeria and alleged “northern agenda” currently put forward either by coincidence or deliberately in the concession buildup.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) recently granted approval for the concession of the four international airports in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano. The approval, currently being worked out by the Ministry of Aviation, is the first phase of the plan to concession all the 22 Federal Government-owned airports nationwide.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, last week recounted the gains of President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent visit to Turkey and among the mentioned is the expression of interest by Turkish investors.
Besides Turkey, Saudi and Qatari investors have also shown interest in the multi-million dollar concession arrangement.At one of the public hearings held last Thursday, members of the National Assembly joint committee on aviation got worried about the antecedent of a country like Turkey that has lately been embroiled in political unrest, as well as serving as a channel through which arms and ammunition were smuggled into Nigeria.
While the Turkish authorities have denied having a hand in the arms-trafficking saga, aviation experts are wary of future transactions with investors with Turkish interests.
A member of a civil society organisation, who was at the hearing, said some lawmakers were of the view that if the biddings were restricted to the middle east, then it will not get the buy-in of Nigerians who “will see it as coloured by a northern and religious agenda.”
Aviation union members present at the meeting said it was to prevent the airports from falling into the wrong hands that they demanded to be part of the concession process for transparency. The unions were, however, happy that the Federal Government has promised to ensure transparency by involving them.
On the implication of such concerns for the concession plan, aviation security consultant, Group Capt. John Ojikutu (rtd), said he was as disturbed as the lawmakers, though he was quick to add that it was still early to conclude.
Ojikutu told The Guardian that “whereas we cannot but be skeptical with the biddings, expression of interest is also coming from Europe and Canada, and all need to be patient.”
He said from his conversation with the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, there were several hurdles in the concession process and it was less likely that the wrong bidders would be able to grab a pie in the exercise.
Ojikutu, who is also the Secretary General of the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI), said: “I am as worried as you, no doubt about that. The National Assembly is also as worried. I think, from what I’ve heard, the minister too is very cautious with what he is doing. Just the way he handled the Abuja airport’s runway is the way he is handling this.
“From the look of things now, they have not left the level of getting the consultants of about three or four to package things together. When they get to that stage, there must be a stakeholders’ meeting, and there would be. It is not only the concession, but also the national carrier, maintenance facility and aerotropolis that are being packaged.
“So, it is too early to start speculating because in any case, all these things will still have to go through the infrastructure concession commission, the PPP, Ministry of Justice and then the Federal Executive Council for approval.
“But in lieu of the security concerns, I have advised them to focus on concession of the terminals, cargo sections and car parks among others, but not the aeronautical side. The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has even warned African countries since 2009 not to concession aeronautical side in the light of security issues around us,” Ojikutu said.
Oil Prices Decline on Rising COVID-19 Cases
Global Oil Prices Dipped on Friday as New COVID-19 Cases Jump Globally
Global oil prices decline on Friday as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases surged across the world.
Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, declined from $43.47 per barrel it traded on Thursday during the Asian trading session to $41.60 per barrel on Friday at around 11:39 am Nigerian time.
Oil traders and investors are worried that the rising number of COVID-19 new cases would disrupt demand for the commodity and force refineries to shut down once again.
“I do not suspect many oil traders will be looking to place significant bids in the market today, suggesting prices may continue to wallow into the weekend,” said Stephen Innes, chief global markets strategist at AxiCorp.
Despite efforts by both OPEC plus and other top oil producers to halt falling oil prices and reduce global oil glut, the lack of a cure for COVID-19 remained global concerns.
As previously stated on this platform, until a cure is found the world would have to find a way to either work through COVID-19 or shut down activities completely.
This is coming a day after the Federal Government of Nigeria announced that it was putting school resumption plan on hold following the latest COVID-19 report that shows Nigeria’s confirmed cases crossed 30,000 on Wednesday.
In the United States, more than 60,000 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Thursday, forcing lawmakers to start contemplating the second phase of COVID-19 lockdown.
We Are Losing N13.9bn Monthly Because FG Caps Tariff – Discos
Discos Says it is Losing N14bn Monthly Because of NERC Capped Tariff
The Nigerian power Distribution Companies (Discos) have said they a losing N13.9 billion in revenue every month because the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, limited how much they can charge for consumption.
Ernest Mupwaya, the Managing Director, Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, made the statement during a presentation on behalf of the Discos to the House of Representatives Committee on Power.
The statement was after the Discos demanded realistic indices before the implementation of the proposed service reflective tariff, which was supposed to be implemented on July 1.
Mupwaya said there were some outstanding requirements before the service reflective tariff could be implemented.
“One of them is the removal of estimated billing caps. The financial impact of the Capping Order is an average loss of N13.9bn monthly, thereby, undermining or jeopardising the minimum remittance requirement,” Mupwaya stated.
The July 1 service tariff implementation was halted by members of the National Assembly, who prevailed on the Discos to shelve the date to the first quarter of 2021 due to the current economic challenges in Nigeria.
Gbajabiamila Says Nigeria Can’t Compete in AfCFTA With Weak Industries
Nigeria Must Ramp up Industrialisation to Prevent Dumping by Other Nations
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said the nation can not compete effectively in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) with weak industrialisation and manufacturing activities.
Gbajabiamila disclosed this while receiving Adesoji Adesugba, the newly appointed Managing Director of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority.
The details of the visit were made public on Thursday in a statement titled, “AFCFTA: House Speaker tasks Nigeria on industrialisation through free trade zones.”
Gbajabiamila was quoted as saying “We must act proactively so that we don’t become a dumping ground for other African nations.
“Our best option in this circumstance is to immediately set machinery in motion to ensure the effective functioning and flourishing of our export processing zones.
“We must remove all bottlenecks and perfect all stumbling blocks. We will then be fully prepared for AfCFTA and also generate massive jobs for our unemployed youths and enhance our foreign earnings.”
He added that the nation must as a matter of national emergency ramp up industrialisation through free trade zones and other effective means to compete with South Africa, Africa’s most industrialised economy and other African nations.
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