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Stakeholders Urge FG to Implement Aviation Education Policy

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  • Stakeholders Urge FG to Implement Aviation Education Policy

Stakeholders in the aviation sector have said that for Nigeria to benefit from the growth prospects of the global aviation industry, there must be a robust aviation education policy and the will to implement such policy.

According to the Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, if Nigeria and Nigerians are to play in the mainstream of the aerospace industry and one day join hands with the global marketplace in the virtual and actual design of various aircraft parts and eventual creation and manufacture of airplanes, the aviation education policy and implementation strategies must be addressed.

Sirika and other stakeholders spoke at a seminar on ‘’aviation education infrastructure challenges and potential’’ which held in Lagos.

They noted that these and many other issues must be addressed if the country must play within the $5.2tn global aviation industry.

The minister said, “It should be noted that airlines alone have consistently generated a turnover in excess of $700bn per annum over the last five years, and reported profit over $30bn per annum on the average over the last five years. In this same industry, the airline and aircraft Maintenance Repairs and Overhaul organisation are expected to generate in excess of $1.8tn over the next 20 years.

He added, “This turnover excludes upgrade services. Other service providers in the aviation and aerospace industry such as Boeing, Airbus, General Electric, Pratt and Whitney, Honeywell, etc will generate far in excess of these in their capacity as aerospace and aircraft Original Equipment Manufacturers.”

Sirika further explained, “The above predicted growth has implications for aviation education and education infrastructure, and Nigeria and indeed Africa needs to be properly positioned to be beneficiaries of the growth potential.

“For this to happen, Nigerian colleges, universities and other approved aviation training institutions will need to define the policy and strategy that will enable them train and graduate students who will join the global industry to move this number of passengers in a safe, secure and satisfactory manner.”

According to the minister, the challenge is for the concerned ministries to find a means through which Nigerian children and youths can have access to quality training institutions with appropriate infrastructure and relevant curriculum, teachers, lecturers and professors.

He said this would produce Nigerian graduates that could play a part in the global aviation market place.

The Executive Director, SpringFountain, Mrs. Tokunbo Fagbemi, said a viable aviation education and aviation education infrastructure would help to set up a framework to strategically address the identified skills gap and impeding challenges.

Failure to do this, she said, meant that the industry would continue to use skilled expatriates directly or indirectly.

“Either way, the implication of this is high cost of production, an extremely precarious situation in this slim margin industry. It is not unlikely that inadequately skilled resources may be used by some, this will definitely lead to safety and operational challenges on the long run,” she said.

According to Fagbemi, as Africa’s aviation begins to gather momentum and countries within the continent reposition, develop culture, business and economy around aviation and increased intra-continental air connectivity, stakeholders need to ensure that Nigeria does not lose out.

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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Experts Reacts to Shoprite Planned Exit From Nigeria

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Shoprite Planned Exit Triggers Experts Reaction

Experts have expressed their concerns over the decision of Shoprite Holding Limited to exit the Nigerian Market, Africa’s largest economy, at a period that unemployment is projected to hit 39.4 million.

On Monday, Africa’s largest retail company, Shoprite, announced it would commence a former process of exiting the Nigerian market or sell a major stake to willing investors that it claimed have started approaching its organisation for a possible partnership.

Experts, who spoke with our correspondents, said the decision would worsen Nigeria’s present economic position, especially with Osinbajo-led committee predicting that unemployment could hit 39.4  million in 2020.

Dr. Musa Yusuf, the Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry,  said the Shoprite move would impact investors’ interest in Nigeria. Yusuf is likely making reference to a series of other factors hurting Nigeria’s economic outlook in recent months.

Barely a month ago, OPay, one of Nigeria’s promising startups started by a Chinese company, announced it will be shutting down some of its business units in Nigeria due to harsh business environment and other COVID-19 related issues. That was a company that raised about $270 million about a year ago.

The series of uncertainties hurting businesses amid unclear economic path have left many investors and businesses seeking exit plan. Even at that, several of the foreign-owned businesses and investments are stuck in the country with their owners unable to access foreign exchange to repatriate their funds.

A recent report showed the Central Bank of Nigeria has over $5 billion forex backlog, yet the nation’s external reserves is hovering around $36 billion since plunging from $45 billion in June 2019.

Prof. Uche Uwalaka, a professor of Capital Market at Nasarawa State University in Keffi, said, “The exit of Shoprite, or any other foreign business for that matter, ordinarily should be a cause for concern especially for a country like Nigeria that is in dire need of foreign direct investment.”

“The importance of Foreign Direct investment, especially in the area of job creation cannot be overemphasised.

Speaking on the matter, Samed Olukoya, CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, explained that “Shoprite just upped Nigeria’s economic uncertainties barely a month after OPay and other foreign-owned companies commenced their process of shutting down or have already shut down part or most of their operations in Nigeria.

He added that “at this rate, it would be hard to increase capital importation or boost  the nation’s Foreign Direct Investment with negative economic outlook and weak investment sentiment.

 

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Custodian Investment to Purchase 51% Stake in UACN Property Company

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Custodian Investment to Acquire 9.5bn Shares in UACN Property Company

The management of UAC of Nigeria Plc on Monday announced that they have entered into a binding agreement with Custodian Investment Plc for Custodian to acquire a 51 percent equity interest in UACN Property Development Company Plc (UPDC) from UAC.

In the statement released by the UAC of Nigeria on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, the company said Custodian will acquire 9,465,584,668 UPDC ordinary shares held by UAC, representing 51 percent of UPDC’s issued share capital.

The company further stated that the sale of shares will be done in two tranches.

The first phase includes an initial sale of 946,558,467 shares, representing 5.10 percent of the issued capital of UPDC, on the execution of binding transaction agreements.

This will be followed by a sale of 8,519,026,201 shares, representing 45.90 percent of the issued share cpaital of UPDC upon receipt of requisite approvals.

According to UAC, the agreement marks the start of a new partnership between Custodian and UAC that will achieve both companies’ objectives in the real estate sector. It also marks a significant milestone aligned with UAC’s strategy to focus on its core businesses.

Commenting on the partnership, Wole Oshin, Group Managing Director of Custodian Investment PLC, said: “We at Custodian are excited about the possibilities arising from this partnership with UAC which provides multiple levers for value creation. The rationale for the Transaction is that Custodian and UAC share the view that their ambitions for capturing opportunity in the real estate industry will be better achieved working in partnership.

“UPDC is one of Nigeria’s leading real estate development companies, having completed several landmark residential and commercial developments over the past twenty years. This Transaction will provide Custodian with a platform to capture arising real estate opportunities. It also immediately provides recurring cash flow visibility and attractive yields as a result of its direct exposure to Nigeria’s leading real estate investment trust (“UPDC REIT”) with a track record of profitability and annual dividend distribution which offers a good compliment for our product portfolio.

“We are confident that the recent recapitalisation of UPDC, significant reduction in finance costs, and recently reconstituted leadership have repositioned the company to operate sustainably and capture growth opportunities aimed at increasing stakeholder value going forward.”

Also, commenting on the deal was Folasope Aiyesimoju, Group Managing Director of UAC, Aiyesimoju said: “The Transaction is a significant step in achieving our objectives for UPDC. In 2018, the Board and management of UAC embarked on a strategic review to evaluate the performance of the company and its subsidiaries. The objective was to achieve sustainable positive financial performance from our existing operations and enable management focus on businesses that align with our strategy.

“In reviewing UPDC, the Board weighed the long-term opportunities in the Nigerian real estate sector against the fundamental differences between the cash flow profile and capital needs of UPDC and those of the other entities in UAC’s portfolio. Following its review, the Board concluded that it would be in the best interest of UAC to exit its interest in the real estate sector, allowing UPDC to operate as a standalone legal entity, free to source appropriately structured capital and to unlock value for its shareholders.

“In September 2019, the Boards of Directors of UAC and UPDC jointly announced three significant strategic initiatives aimed at strengthening UPDC and positioning the company to operate as a standalone entity. This included a rights issue to recapitalise the business, plans for UAC to transfer UAC’s equity interest in UPDC pro-rata to UAC’s shareholders (“UPDC Unbundling”), and plans for UPDC to unbundle the UPDC REIT to its shareholders (“UPDC REIT Unbundling”). The ₦16 billion UPDC rights issue was successfully completed in April 2020, proceeds of which were used to reduce borrowing costs and significantly improve UPDC’s capital position.

“In the process of progressing the unbundling initiatives, UAC received a credible offer from Custodian. The terms of the offer compelled the Board to re-evaluate the planned approach to deconsolidate UPDC and influenced the Board’s decision to proceed with the sale of a portion of UAC’s interest in UPDC to Custodian, effectively putting an end to the UPDC Unbundling.

“We are delighted about the positive impact that a strong anchor shareholder like Custodian will have on UPDC and are focused on ensuring a smooth transition.”

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Forex Scarcity Weighs on Manufacturing Sector

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Steel Manufacture At Evraz Plc West-Siberian Metallurgical Plant

Manufacturing Sector Suffers from Lack of Dollar Liquidity

The  Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Muda Yusuf, has said lack of dollar availability continues to weigh on the manufacturing sector in the first half of the year as the sector recorded its third consecutive month of contraction in the month of July.

According to Yusuf, several manufacturers had to source for forex on the black market, increasing scarcity on the already stressed section of the forex even more. This, other experts have blamed for the high Dollar-Naira exchange rate on the black market.

On Monday, the Naira was exchanged at N473 to a US dollar on the parallel market popularly known as the black market. The local currency gained N2 from the N475 it was exchanged before the Sallah holiday to N473 on Monday when the market opened.

“Across, practically, all sectors, we are experiencing cost escalation, loss of credit lines enjoyed from foreign creditors, forex remittance challenges and many more.  We need an urgent response from the CBN to calm the situation and restore confidence in our foreign exchange management framework,” Yusuf stated.

The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry said most of its 2,000 members have been hit by the dollar shortage and wide foreign exchange rate that is presently eroding their profits.

“If the situation persists, it will lead to lay-offs. If you are not producing, there will be a shortage of goods in the market, prices will go up,” he added

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