- Stakeholders Want Private Sector-driven National Carrier
Aviation stakeholders have said that the planned national carrier should be devoid of government funding.
Members of the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative stated on Friday that the government should only create an enabling environment for interested investors to operate the planned national carrier.
The ARTI noted that its reservations about government involvement were hinged on the disturbing development in the industry and the opaque conceptual issues attached to the proposed national carrier.
The ARTI said in a statement by its secretary, Olu Ohunayo, “We support the establishment of a national carrier devoid of government financial input but driven strictly by investors. Government should provide the necessary enabling ground and aero-political support environment.
“The ARTI’s support for this project is hinged on our recognition of the desirability of a national carrier and the observed floundering of our flag carriers on the international routes. These shortcomings are traceable to weak government policies and poor negotiation skills in various agreements.
“Therefore, the proposed national carrier should be granted full compliments of the appropriate status, and independence to be the arrowhead in the implementation of operational issues arising from Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreements to which Nigeria is a signatory unhindered by any concessions or agreements however made.”
The group also stated that all existing concessions and agreements from which benefits were being derived by individuals or corporate bodies capable of impinging on the operations of the proposed national carrier should be stopped.
“Any outstanding obligations arising from agreements made prior to the emergence of the national carrier must be renegotiated between the national carrier and such flag carrier which will be supervised by the regulator, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority,” it added.
The ARTI said the corporate objective of the proposed carrier should be consistent delivery of excellent and competitive customer services, while global best standards of schedule integrity and global alliances should be adopted.
The group added, “It is vital that very knowledgeable aviators with cognate experience are selected to midwife the birth of the new national carrier, while the governing board of directors should be composed of persons with proven track records of success in the aviation industry.
“The berthing process should last for a period not less than three years from inception, and the national carrier should start with a fleet of 10 to 15 aircraft, and should be mandated to utilise the proceeds of all allocated frequencies strictly for fleet expansion and capacity building. This should be monitored for compliance by the NCAA.”
High Pesticide is Reason Nigerian Beans Not Acceptable in Most Countries
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.
Wema Bank Announces Collateral Free Loans for SMEs
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.”
AXA Mansard Sells Entire Stake in AXA Mansard Pensions
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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