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NEPC Plans to Develop C’River Cocoa for Export

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  • NEPC Plans to Develop C’River Cocoa for Export

The Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, has said that developing the Cross River State cocoa value chain for export will enhance economic growth.

Awolowo spoke through the Deputy Director, National Export Office, NEPC, Mrs. Veronica Oriare, during the Cross River State Cocoa Stakeholders’ Forum and mini exhibition in Ikom Central.

The two-day event was organised by NEPC Calabar Smart Office, in collaboration with Calabar Chamber of Commerce, Farming World and Rural Development Initiative and Cocoa Association of Nigeria.

While delivering a keynote address at the forum themed, ‘Developing the Cross River State Cocoa value chain for Export’, the NEPC boss said that the agency was working with the Adekunle Ajasin University, Ondo State to increase production and distribution of cocoa seedlings to farmers as well as capacity building on improved processing to achieve premium cocoa for export.

He assured the participants that efforts were being made to address the problem of inadequacies and raise awareness about processing of high quality cocoa for export.

According to the NEPC boss, there is increased demand as well as higher price offerings for organic cocoa in the global market.

He said that as the demand continued to rise, there was a need for Nigeria to increase production of cocoa to partake in the favourable global market.

He stated that the demand for cocoa in the United States market moved from 1,113.9 metric tonnes in 2008 to 1,297.7MT by 2014.

“This upward movement in demand for cocoa by the US market is expected to continue especially now that the health benefits of consuming cocoa has been overwhelmingly established,” a statement quoted him as saying.

The Trade Promotion Advisor, NEPC, Calabar Smart Office, Dr. Emmanuel Etim, said that the council would support the Cross River State Government’s proposed cocoa processing factory in Ikom, development of one million cocoa seedling nursery in Akamkpa and the cultivation of additional 100,000 hectares of cocoa plantation in the state.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade long experience in the global financial market.

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Domestic Airlines Increase Fares Ahead of Flight Resumption

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Domestic Airlines Raise Ticket Fares Ahead of Flight Resumption

The nation’s airline companies raised ticket fares to compensate for lack of bailout from the Federal Government and about 100 percent increase in service charges.

Last month, the Federal Government directed all domestic airlines to begin flight operations on July 8th following the March 30th suspension of all operations.

However, checks by our correspondent showed that domestic airlines have increased fares on all classes of tickets from Lagos to Abuja.

For a Dana Air flight from Lagos to Abuja, Economy Discount tickets are sold for N30,000 for a one-way ticket while the Economy Flexible ticket goes for N70,500.

Similarly, Air Peace Economy-Flexi Domestic Plan ticket goes for N33,001 for a one-way flight from Lagos to Abuja. The company sold its business class ticket for N80,000.

While potential passengers of Azman Air would need to part with N33,000 for an economy ticket from Lagos-Abuja. For a business class ticket, the company charges N60,000.

Arik Air, however, charges the lowest for economy plan. Passengers are required to pay just N29,189 for economy tickets and N71,532 for business tickets for a one-way trip from Lagos to Abuja.

Allen Onyema, the Chief Executive Officer, Air Peace, who was present at the simulation exercise conducted two weeks ago, had called for a bailout to help the sector protect jobs.

He said “Palliatives, bailout, rollout, intervention funds or whatever we call it is necessary. All over the world, the government is giving palliatives, bailout funds to their airlines.

“Even the strongest of airlines all over the world asked for this. What bothers us more in Air Peace is the retention of the workforce.

“COVID-19 has brought about immense loss of jobs worldwide. We must begin to think of ways of curbing the losses in Nigeria.”

However, it doesn’t seem like the Federal Government that is presently battling possible recession is willing to bail out airlines whose services are mainly required by high net worth individuals.  This further highlighted why the service charges on flight tickets were raised by 100 percent.

The average cost of one way air flight from Lagos to Abuja was between N15,000 to N40,000 before the lockdown.

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IATA Says Nigerian Airlines Loses $2.09bn in April and June

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Airlines in Nigeria Loses $2.09 Billion in April and June

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has estimated that Nigerian airlines lost about $2.09 billion in the month of April and June due to COVID-19 lockdown.

In its report titled ‘Quarantine measures threaten aviation restart in Africa and the Middle East,’ IATA stated that the aviation sector in Africa and the Middle East was the worst-hit.

According to the report, the aviation sector in the two regions provides over 8.6 million direct and indirect jobs.

While the report did not provide data for the month of May, it stated that the number of Nigerian passengers declined by 4.7 million in April and 5.32 million in June when compared with the same period of 2019.

Similarly, the report said 125,400 jobs were at risk in April and 139,500 jobs were at risk in the month of June.

Muhammad Albakri, the Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East, IATA, said governments in Africa and the Middle East must devise alternative methods to the current quarantine measures in place, saying the two regions have the highest number of government-imposed quarantine measures on arriving passengers.

He said, “It is critical that AME governments implement alternatives to quarantine measures. AME has the highest number of countries in the world with government-imposed quarantine measures on arriving passengers.

“The region is effectively in complete lockdown with the travel and tourism sector shuttered. This is detrimental in a region where 8.6 million people depend on aviation for their livelihoods.”

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Oando Partners Oilserv to Build Ajaokuta-Kaduna Portion of AKK Project

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Oando, Oilserv to Construct Ajaokuta-Kaduna Portion of AKK Project

Oando Plc has partnered Oilserve Limited to construct a 303.4km linear pipeline system for the Ajaokuta to Kaduna portion of the $2.8 billion, 40 inch by 614km Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano Gas Pipeline Project, the AKK Pipeline.

According to a statement released by Oando through the Nigerian Stock Exchange, the construction of the AKK Pipeline Project approved in 2018 has commenced on Tuesday, June 30, 2020.

The statement reads “Oando PLC (referred to as “Oando” or the “the Company”), is pleased to announce to the Company’s attendance as a consortium partner at the flag-off ceremony for the construction of the $2.8billion, 40 inch by 614km Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano Gas Pipeline Project (the “AKK Pipeline”), by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari GCFR on Tuesday, June 30, 2020.

“The AKK Pipeline Project, championed by two consortia comprising select indigenous and international companies commenced in 2013 with the announcement for tenders by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). In April 2018, the Company announced that following an extensive due diligence and bid process, the Oilserv-Oando PLC consortium was awarded the Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) mandate for segment 1, accounting for 40” by 303.4km linear pipeline system for the Ajaokuta to Kaduna portion of the AKK Pipeline Project by the NNPC.”

Speaking on the project, Jubril Adewale Tinubu, the Group Chief Executive, Oando PLC, said: “As a proudly Nigerian company, focused on driving indigenous participation we have always been proponents of public private partnership in accelerating the actualization of the nation’s goals.

“We have aspired to play an integral role in the building out of the National Gas Infrastructure and Pipeline Grid, as evidenced by our efforts in 2009, post the Nigerian Gas Masterplan when we participated in the unrealized Calabar- Ajaokuta- Abuja-Kano (CAAK) line.

“We have developed strategic partnerships with both private sector players and the NNPC in bringing sustainable solutions to spur the development of the country via our numerous gas development and distribution projects. We commend the NNPC for spearheading projects that will soften the headwinds occasioned by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are proud to be active participants in driving the country’s industrialization and actualization of the Gas Master Plan which will undoubtedly create employment opportunities and ultimately generate as well as enhance value for the nation.”

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