Nigeria’s aviation industry passes ICAO audit

Following an 11-day Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme conducted on Nigeria’s aviation industry, the International Civil Aviation Organisation has described the progress and development of the sector as satisfactory.

This was disclosed by the auditors during the presentation of the preliminary audit result and their assessment of the aviation industry at the closing meeting of the ICAO USOAP. The presentation was made by the leader of the four-man team of auditors, Mr. Jean-Claude Waffo.

According to a statement by the General Manager, Public Relations, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Sam Adurogboye, members of the team gave individual assessments of all the delineated areas; legislation, organisation, accident and incident investigation, air navigational services, aerodrome and ground aids.

Adurogboye said the auditors unanimously expressed satisfaction with the level of improvement in Nigeria’s aviation industry.

“The auditors were highly impressed with the stellar preparation for the audit by all concerned and claimed that this made the programme a huge success,” he said.

The final audit report is to be produced and sent to Canada for review and final assent. This will be done only when comments on the draft report have been received from Nigeria.

The statement quoted Waffo as saying, “Draft results will be produced 90 days after today’s presentation. Thereafter, Nigeria is expected to produce a corrective action plan, which will provide room for comments and observations within 45 days.”

The final report is only to be expected and produced after 30 days of receipt and acknowledgement of comments.

After the presentation, the auditors were said to have commended the Director-General, NCAA, Capt. Muhtar Usman, as well as chief executives of other aviation parastatals and the Nigerian team that worked with them during the audit.

Earlier in his opening remarks, Usman had expressed appreciation for the dedication and high sense of responsibility with which the auditors carried out their assignment.

He assured them that all open items that were identified would be closed and adequately communicated in the CAP to be forwarded by the NCAA as required.

“Lessons learnt from this exercise will be used to enhance the development, safety and security of aviation not only in Nigeria, but the whole of Africa,” Usman was quoted as saying.

On his part, the Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Mr. Saleh Dunoma, promised that all areas that required improvement would be attended to promptly.

-punchng

Budget Reduction Not an Issue – Petroleum Experts

Petroleum energy experts have said the reduction of the 2016 budget by as much as N17billion is no big deal as long as the budget is passed to stimulate economic activities.

They argued that the passage of the 2016 budget by the Senate yesterday is germane, as many sectors of the economy, particularly the productive and infrastructure sectors are begging for attention.

Commenting on the state of the economy vis-a-viz the passage of the budget, the experts, who spoke to Vanguard on the telephone, insisted that the current economic situation, devoid of investments is very worrisome more so as the investment ratio does not match the production ratio.

The Managing Director, International Energy Services Ltd., IES, Dr. Diran Fawibe, said: “Whether the budget was increased or slashed, the most important thing at this point in time is for government to inject money into the economy, spend the money through appropriations and reflate the economy. Government needs to get things started through the ministries and MDAs and get more Nigerian’s into productive activities.

Productive activities

He added that “Whatever shortfall thereafter can be taken care of through supplementary budget when fortunes improve. If we have the money we can work on it.”

Similarly, the President, Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists, NAPE, Mr. Nosa Omorodion, expressed concern over the depletion of the foreign reserves.

According to him, “We are depleting our reserves at a much faster rate than we are adding. This means that our investment ratio does not match our production ratio and that cannot mean well for any economy.

He argued that rather than dwell on the delay in passing the budget, government ought to move beyond the challenges that have stagnated the economy by addressing the salient issues.

Investments in petroleum

Omorodion insisted that government should focus more on stimulating the economy and attracting fresh investments into various sectors, particularly infrastructure and petroleum.

To this end, he urged government not to toy with the cash call obligations to stimulate investments in the petroleum sector, adding that if more money is put into areas like power, roads, hospitals and other social infrastructure, government would have gone a long way in fixing most of the ailments troubling the economy.

Specifically, to attract more investments into petroleum, the bedrock of the economy, he said NAPE had advised government to do one of two things with regard to settling the backlog of cash call obligations for the joint ventures, JVs.

He said: “NAPE suggested that government could sell some of its shares in some of the JVs to the public to ease the cash burden or they can go out and look for alternative funding for the JVs.

“This will automatically release enormous funds to government, which can be deployed into areas like power, practically the whole nation has been in darkness for a while now; roads for ease of transportation and movement of goods and services.

Budget benchmark: Although it appears that Nigeria may have got a away with the budget benchmark of $38/barrel, however, Fawibe called for caution, saying that the excess should be deployed into good use.

He noted that oil prices shoring up is a good development, as government will have more money at its disposal to plough back into various economic activities.

Omorodion on his part argued that notwithstanding that it may be too early to celebrate increase in oil prices, government must be prudent in handling whatever excesses there are, as the current $40/barrel mark may subsist.

-allafrica

Bill Gates Donates $6m For Cassava And Rice Farming In Nigeria

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has earmarked $6m to support Nigeria’s push for food sustenance through the produc­tion of rice and cas­sava.

This was disclosed at the inauguration of the State Partnership for Agriculture by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and the Foundation.

Speaking at the event, the Deputy Di­rector, Bill and Melin­da Gates Foundation, James Nyoro said the move is to enable Ni­geria move from im­porter to exporter of food.

He disclosed that Kaduna, Benue and Kogi states have been picked to pilot the project.

“For us at the Bill and Melinda Founda­tion, the programme is going to be a catalytic in helping the Nige­rian government to achieve IRS vision for food security, reduce food imports and in­crease agriculture pro­ductivity so that they can raise many mil­lions of Nigerians out of poverty.

“Therefore, one of the areas we are going to help is state part­nership because we do know that action takes place at the state level.

That is where in­novations are tested, whether you are talk­ing about cassava pro­cessing and marketing or whether you are talking about rice.

Nigeria vs. Egypt on the economy; who is smarter? Seems Sisi is besting Buhari

“Egypt allowed the biggest one-time depreciation of the pound since 2003, as Nigeria doubled down on capital controls to shore up the naira”

Sisi and Buhari meet in this photograph published in Nigeria's Encomium magazine in January.   (Photo/encomium.ng).

IF African countries used 2013 as the base year for measuring the size of their economies, then Egypt would overtake Nigeria as the largest economy on the continent.

READ: Africa’s GDP ‘much bigger’ than thought—and Egypt’s economy could be larger than Nigeria’s

But even without that, with Africa’s oil producers battered by low crude prices and enfeebled currencies, it would seem Egypt President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s government has a leg up as it is making the tough policy calls that his Nigerian counterpart Muhammadu Buhari is reluctant to do to fix its economic malaise.

Faced with the same currency predicament, the Central Bank of Egypt allowed the biggest one-time depreciation of the pound since 2003 on March 14, and promised to adopt a more flexible exchange rate.

The moves were designed to revive investor interest in Egypt to ease a dollar crunch, much like Nigeria’s, that has hampered economic growth and fueled a black market for the currency.

For its part Nigeria – Africa’s biggest economy and oil producer – doubled down on the capital controls and restrictions on some imports in a bid to prop up the naira, which has been effectively pegged at 197-199 against the dollar since March 2015.

Those measures have deterred foreign investment and led to a scarcity of dollars, with the black-market exchange rate falling to around 325 naira per dollar.

Buhari has backed the central bank’s stance and ruled out a devaluation on the grounds it would cause prices to rise. That’s already happening, with inflation surging to a three-year high of 11.4%  in February from 9.6% the previous month.

Contrasting fortunes

The contrasting results of Egypt’s actions already clear in this short period. Foreign investors bought $500 million in Egyptian debt and stocks in the weeks since the central bank devalued the currency, according to central bank Governor Tarek Amer, who said more measures will be taken to attract funds.

Amer, in a televised interview late on Saturday, said he expects at least $5 billion in portfolio investments—purchases of stocks and bonds—within the coming four months.

Foreign direct investment from China alone could reach $30 billion in the next two years, he said.

Hard currency deposits in local banks, increased after the central bank started “to fix the status of the currency,” Amer said.

‘Greed and speculation’

The pound weakened in the black market after the devaluation because of “greed and speculation,” and the central bank will take more measures to organise the market over the coming three months, he said, without giving more details. Egypt doesn’t suffer from a currency crisis but a “crisis in regulating the exchange market.”

Amer said the central bank also plans to sell stakes in three banks it owns or partially controls by the end of 2016. It will sell The United Bank to a strategic investor and raise Banque du Caire’s capital by selling a 20% stake on the stock market.

The central bank and Kuwait investors also plan to sell 20% each of their stakes in the Arab African International Bank, Amer said.

For Nigeria,meanwhile, barely a week ago Unilever’s Africa President Bruno Witvoet joined the growing number of business leaders pushing for a different direction, saying  it would be misguided for the West African giant to persist with currency policies that have led to a record difference between the naira’s official and black-market rates

Speaking at a conference in Abidjan, Ivory Coast’s commercial capital, Witvoet said; “It would be very insane to continue like this for months and months.” Clarity on what the “right rate” would help businesses “make more sensible decisions,” he said.

READ: Unilever says it’s ‘insane’ if Nigeria currency policy stays

Both Sisi and Buhari are former generals and military rulers of their countries. Buhari has reinvented more successfully as a democrat, having won the presidency in March last year in Nigeria’s first election in which an opposition leader defeated the incumbent.

Sisi, was elected in a vote boycotted by the Opposition in 2014, having earlier masterminded the military ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood government led by president Mohamed Morsi.

He has since overseen what critics say is the most extensive and extreme crackdown on Islamist opponents and secular opposition.

On the economy though, he has shown greater ambition and guts than Buhari. The coming months will indicate if he will also have the last laugh.

M&G AFRICA, BLOOMBERG NEWS

Sabongari Market Fire ; 3, 800 Shops Burnt, 15 injured

The Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Alhaji Muhammad Sani Sidi, has disclosed that a total of 3, 800 shops were razed following the fire incident at Sabon Gari Market in Kano.

He said “Based on the report, more than 3, 800 shops and quite a number of buildings were razed by the inferno”.

Speaking on Sunday when Visited the scene of the inferno, Alhaji Sani explained that 15 persons sustained injuries during the incident.

He pointing out that they had all been taken to hospital for treatment.

According to him, “It is unfortunate that from the record more than 90 per cent of the market has been burnt.

He said the agency in collaboration with the state government was working to ensure that the victims were treated and discharged from the hospital.

“Assessment is still ongoing and the state government has mobilised over 100 trucks to clear the rumbles”, Sidi said.

The Director General noted that lack of access roads had prevented fire fighting vehicles from gaining smooth access into the market.

ThisDay

UAE Ambassador meets Chris Ngige

UAE Ambassador meets Chris Ngige

The UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, Mahmoud Mohammed Al Mahmoud, has met with Nigeria’s Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, who congratulated him on his new post.

During the meeting, they discussed bilateral relations and cooperation regarding the Nigerian labourers working in the UAE. The minister pointed out that there are new and promising projects for investment in the agricultural sector.

WAM/Hazem/tfaham

Petrol queues to end in two weeks –NNPC

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has urged Nigerians to exercise patience with the Federal Government as regards the current petrol scarcity in the country.

The corporation said it was working hard to ensure that petrol queues were cleared within the next two weeks.

The Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Mr. Garba Deen, in a statement on Friday, said, “Our immediate concern is to make petrol available through the interventions and processes put in place so that the queues will disappear within the next one to two weeks.”

The corporation explained that as of 4pm on Friday, one petrol cargo containing 42 million litres had completely discharged, while two more cargos with a combined “Remaining on Board” of 44 million litres were being discharged at the time.

It said another petrol cargo containing 44 million litres berthed on Friday and was awaiting discharge.

The corporation said, “We have enough products lined up to ensure that the supply gap which created the problem is bridged. In order to ensure effective distribution, we are working with the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, oil majors and over 1,000 NNPC staff, nationwide to ensure we overcome the obstacles in the distribution of the products.

“While not resorting to excuses, we would like to re-emphasise that this present management of NNPC and indeed the government inherited huge and complicated problems with respect to importation, distribution and pricing of petroleum products.”

It said Nigerians would recall that the sum of N522,258,934,505 meant for payment of fuel subsidy, covering the last quarter of 2014 and the entire 2015 was approved by the Senate in December 2015 in order to pay for subsidy arrears inherited by this government.

The firm, however, stated that “for long term solutions, the NNPC and the government are working to put in place machineries to ensure that our refineries are fixed and working optimally, while the pipelines which have been under attack for some time now are repaired.”

It added, “The direct sale direct purchase arrangement for crude would commence in the first week of April and all these coupled with the fact that the President has given his support to increase the crude supply to NNPC to ensure local sufficiency of products will go a long way to solve the problems in the short and long term.”

-punchng

Easter: NNPC discharges one cargo of petrol

NNPC logo

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said it has discharged one cargo of 44 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) to ensure availability of the product across the country.
This is contained in a statement signed by Mr Garba Deen Mohammed, Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, on Friday in Abuja.

“Our immediate concern is to make petrol available through the interventions and processes put in place so that the queues will disappear within the next one to two weeks.
“As at 4 p.m today, one PMS cargo containing 42 million litres has completely discharged.

“Two more PMS cargos with a combined ‘Remaining on Board’ (ROB) of 44 million litres are currently discharging while another PMS cargo containing 44 million litres is berthed and awaiting discharge,” it said.

According to the statement, the corporation have enough products lined up to ensure that the supply gap which created the problem is bridged.

It added that in order to ensure effective distribution, NNPC would work with Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), oil majors and over 1,000 NNPC staff nationwide to overcome the obstacles in the distribution of the products.
It noted that for long term solutions, the NNPC and the Government were working to put in place machineries to ensure that the refineries were fixed and working optimally.

It added that the pipelines which had been under attack for some time now were repaired.

“The Direct Sale Direct Purchase (DSDP) arrangement for crude would commence in the first week of April,” it said.

It further stated that the President had given his support to increase the crude supply to NNPC to ensure local sufficiency of products.

This, it said, would go a long way to solve the problems in the short and long term.
It assured that while the Easter celebration last, the NNPC would continue to work hard to bring the fuel scarcity to a speedy end.

“We urge Nigerians to continue to be patient because the difficulties being experienced as a result of the situation will soon be alleviated.

“We would like to assure all Nigerians that the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, and everybody else associated with this situation is working tirelessly round the clock to ensure relief is brought to Nigerians.’’

-dailypost

Filling Stations, Banks Others To Pay Fire Safety Fees In Osun

Aregbesola

Filling Stations, banks and multinational companies in the state of Osun are now mandated to pay for Fire Safety Inspections, certification and other precautionary levies in line with national fire safety code.

This is contained in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) jointly signed by the State Chairman, Task Force on Revenue Collection on Fire Services,   Oguntola Toogun , Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information, Home Affairs, Tourism and Culture, Mrs Olajumoke Bello, Director , Fire Services,  Mr. Michael Ogundipe  and South West Head,  Federal Fire Services,  Mr.   S.A Aderemi and Officer in Charge of Federal Fire Service in Osun , Mrs   B.O. Komolafe.

The MoU agreed that both Federal and State Fire Personnel would jointly organise and administer fire prevention and training of staff of organisations and establishments within the state.

Also, the Federal Fire Service is to carry out fire safety inspections, certification and others of NNPC stations and other Federal parastatals and establishments in the state.

The MoU further stated that the State Fire personnel are to carry out Fire Safety Inspections, certification and other levy collections in all establishments in the state except NNPC stations and Federal establishments.

The inspection of multinational companies like GLO,  MTN ,ETISALAT, banks and others will be done by the state fire personnel and that the sealing of premises that violate safety precautions as contained in the National Fire safety codes  can be done by both Federal and State fire personnel.

The MoU therefore enjoined all filling stations, federal establishments and multinational organisations in the state to comply with these directives.

-THISDAYLIVE

Agbakoba Wants FG to Appoint Minister for Maritime Industry

A Lagos based maritime lawyer and former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. OlisaAgbakoba, SAN has urged the Federal Government to appoint a minister to solely oversee the maritime industry.

Agbakoba stated that the appointment of a minister for the maritime industry would enable issues concerning the sector to be given the needed attention for the benefit of the economy.

The lawyer advocated this in his office in Lagos and submitted that the maritime industry should be separated from transportation sector because it was a large sector on its own.

He maintained that there was need to separate the maritime industry from other aspects of the transportation sector which included ports, terminal operators, maritime transportation, cargo and freight, seafaring, haulage and others where huge amount of revenue were generated apart from crude oil.

He expressed dismay that a lot of money was being lost in the maritime industry because there was no minister at the federal level specifically devoted to the industry.

According to him, stakeholder in the maritime industry had called for the review of all legal, institutional and regulatory frameworks, implementation of policy for Inland Container Depots, cabotage regime, pending bills, Nigeria Shipping Policy of 1987 and establishment of a national carrier.

Agbakoba stressed that the opportunities would boost the economy, job, build capacity in shipping, huge revenue generation other industries such as steel, agriculture, oil and gas and manufacturing which were tagged as Maritime Action Plan (MAP) to be presented to President Muhammadu Buhari.

While appealing to the Federal Government to appoint a substantive minister for the sector, he said due to the dependence on oil, agriculture, manufacturing and shipping sectors had been neglected which negatively affected the economy.

He noted that the maritime stakeholders were now under the Nigerian Shippers’ Council as the ports economic regulator in order to devise the plan called MAP 2015 and look at critical sectors.

He also urged that arbitrary increase in port charges by terminal operators which made the ports uncompetitive should be stopped and stakeholders must address the constraints of disbursement on Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) in the interest of the economy.

Managing Partner Arbitration and ADR in Agbakoba’s chamber, Mrs. Priscilla Ogwemoh said the chamber had canvassed for issues like the MAP and many others which needed urgent implementation in the industry to boost the day-to-day activities in the port and there should be workshops/conference in place.

She added that the maritime operation co-ordinating board could address many issues in the industry by encouraging them to come back to life.

-thisdaylive