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Nigeria Air: Experts Seek More Cooperation Among Airlines

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  • Nigeria Air: Experts Seek More Cooperation Among Airlines

Aviation experts have called for more cooperation among airlines operating in and from Nigeria in order to fully develop the industry and boost the economy.

This came just as the Chief Executive Officer, African Aviation Services Limited, Nick Fadugba, said the Federal Government should take a decision on Arik Air and Aero Contractors before the new national carrier could take off.

Fadugba, who spoke at a forum in Lagos, noted that the country was blessed with the biggest domestic aviation market on the African continent, bigger than South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopian and many other countries, but that it had yet to harness this market for the benefit of everyone, adding that the beneficiaries remained the foreign airlines.

“Our airlines need to work together. If you have five or even 10 aircraft, it is nothing in the world of aviation. If you look at Ethiopia, they have 100 aircraft; that is one airline, and yet we have 10 airlines here with maybe five aircraft each. We need to work together. We need more cooperation among our airlines,” he said.

The Director-General, Consumer Protection Council, Mr Babatunde Irukera, who also spoke at the forum, stated that one way for airlines to grow was to improve on their responses to customers’ complaints.

“The airlines have to measure their responsiveness and sensitivity indexes with respect to their consumers. One thing is that they do not even have the appropriate mechanism for people to call in and have complaints resolved. Ultimately, consumer issues are primarily soft infrastructure issues,” he said.

He added that he had recently met with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and airline operators to find collaborative ways to address consumer issues in the industry.

Meanwhile, Fadugba has said it will be wrong for the government to keep funding Arik and Aero with public funds while attempting to float a new carrier.

The Federal Government through the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, some time ago, took over both airlines due to their debt profiles.

He said, “I think the government and the Ministry of Aviation need to sit down and really think carefully on what they want to do with Arik and what they want to do with Aero because they have used public funds to maintain these airlines. Effectively, the government owns 60 per cent of each of them and has now created a national carrier; so there is a little bit of contradiction here.

“We need to as a matter of urgency resolve what is happening to Arik. If the government wants to sell it to investors, let them please go ahead and do it. The same goes for Aero. I would love to see the three airlines working together; I think that will be a good strategy for Nigeria.”

According to Fadugba, there are many questions that need to be answered in terms of the management, funding and fleet for the new carrier.

He said the Federal Government, rather than doing it abroad, should explain to the whole nation what the concept of the new carrier was.

“More importantly, I’m interested in how does the national carrier interface with all the other airlines in Nigeria. Because remember that the government is the de facto owner of two other airlines: Arik and Aero. So, this is the first time I have seen one government own three airlines. The government needs to coordinate its airlines’ strategy in terms of moving forward,” he said.

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 experience in the global financial market.

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High Pesticide is Reason Nigerian Beans Not Acceptable in Most Countries

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High Pesticide is the Reason Nigerian Beans Not Acceptable in Most Countries

High pesticide residue is the reason exporters of Nigerian cowpea (beans) can no longer access certain foreign markets, according to the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS).

Vincent Isegbe, the Director-General, NAQS, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja during a strategic engagement with the President of Cowpea Association of Nigeria, Shittu Mohammed.

Isegbe advised stakeholders to work together to address the weak cowpea value chain in order to establish a continuous market for Nigerian beans.

In a statement issued by Gozie Nwodo, the Head, Media, Communications and Strategies, NAQS, Isegbe said “The pattern of boom and bust in cowpea export owes to the ingrained issue of high pesticide residue.

“The pesticides are largely introduced during the storage phase. The residue levels in the cowpea tend to rise above the maximum threshold set by certain Customs union and this makes the product unacceptable in crucial destinations.

Isegbe added, “We need to make a clean break from imprudent application of storage pesticides and consolidate a reputation for producing and delivering cowpea that satisfy relevant quality criteria.”

He said Nigeria is losing thousands of jobs and foreign exchange due to the suspension of cowpea or other agricultural commodities on account of intolerable quality defects.

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Wema Bank Announces Collateral Free Loans for SMEs

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Wema Bank to Provide Collateral Free Loans for Small Businesses

In a bid to ease COVID-19 burden on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Wema Bank has launched collateral-free loans for all qualified SMEs.

In a statement published by the bank last week, the lender said the loans will go a long way in assisting businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It explained that the move is in line with the bank’s mission to support the fight against ravaging COVID-19.

Further break down of the bank’s statement revealed that the SMEs loan products will provide N10 million to businesses in need of working capital without collateral or security for such financial support.

The credit facility, according to the bank, is available to business owners who have an establishment in trade/general commerce, Schools, Pharmacies, hospitals, clinics and diagnostic centres.

Wema Bank added that in order to make the loan more accessible to businesses outside its customers, both new and existing customers can access the facility without previous banking history with Wema Bank. This, it said includes those doing business in their personal names.

The bank is also offering up to N5 million without collateral and up to 12 months repayment period to businesses that are doing trading or general commerce while school owners can get up to N10 million without collateral with also 12 months repayment period.

“Health sector businesses like pharmacies, hospitals, clinics and diagnostic centres can also get up to N5million without collateral with up to 12 months repayment period to meet working capital needs. In an earlier communication, the bank had stressed how critical it is to support players in the health sector, especially with the realities of the time.

“For us, we will continue to put the health of Nigerians and the safety of our communities first,” said the Managing Director/CEO Wema Bank, Ademola Adebise.

It is our joy to see players in the health sector grow during this difficult time and we encourage them to take advantage of all our support programmes to keep their businesses afloat.”

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AXA Mansard Sells Entire Stake in AXA Mansard Pensions

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AXA Mansard Divests Interest From AXA Mansard Pensions

AXA Mansard Insurance on Friday announced it has divested from its subsidiary, AXA Mansard Pensions, after receiving Shareholder’s approval at the Company’s Extra Ordinary General Meeting on February 13th 2020.

In the statement signed by Mrs. Omowunmi Mabel Adewusi, the Company Secretary, AXA Mansard Insurance Plc and released through the Nigerian Stock Exchange, the Company said it commenced the divestment process by appointing Messer Rand Merchant Bank as the Financial Advisers while Aluko & Oyebode acted as the Legal Adivsers on the deal.

The company entered into a sale and purchase agreement with Eustacia Limited to sell its entire 2,067,672,000 shares or 60 percent shareholding held by AXA Mansard Insurance Plc and another 1,378,448,000 shares or 40 percent shareholding held by minority Shareholder.

Speaking on the divestment, Mr. Kunle Ahmed, Chief Executive Officer, AXA Mansard Insurance Plc said: “This transaction marks a new step in AXA´s broader strategy to focus on and grow our Life, Property & Casualty (P&C) and Health businesses across all its geographies. The AXA Group sees great potential in the Nigerian insurance market and believes AXA Mansard is ideally placed to capture these opportunities, thanks to its market leadership positions in Health Insurance, Property & Casualty and Life Insurance. We plan to capitalize on our successes to further build our capabilities and continue to deliver the best offers & services to our customers”.

Commenting on the transaction, Dapo Akisanya, CEO of AXA Mansard Pensions Limited said, “We are confident about Verod’s strong commitment to providing the Company with the requisite support to actualize our promise to our clients and stakeholders. As a West African investor with deep local knowledge and presence, we look forward to harnessing Verod’s unique, and world-class, attributes towards setting new standards in the industry.

Verod has the capacity, expertise, and network, to support the business to continue to expand and to provide innovative solutions for the benefit of our current and future clients

We strongly believe that this is the ideal time to enter the market and that AXA Mansard Pensions provides an excellent beachhead from which to establish a consolidated position and gain market share,” said Eric Idiahi, Partner at Verod.

“The National Pension Commission continues to demonstrate a strong commitment to raising standards within the industry and driving pension penetration rates in the short to medium term. We believe that sustaining AXA Mansard Pension’s industry-leading investment returns, excellent customer service, as well as, expanding distribution network and product offerings will facilitate the capture of the considerable growth potential within the Nigerian pensions industry, particularly following the opening of the transfer window.

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