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Remittance: CBN May Sanction Erring Foreign Airlines

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The last may have not been heard on the disputed fare
disparity in the aviation industry as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over
the weekend requested all foreign airlines authorised dealers to submit
information on tickets sold by the airlines in the country in the last 12
years.

The apex bank said it would not hesitate to sanction any
agent that fails to comply with the directive of the federal government.

Central Bank Director, Trade and Exchange Department, Mr.
Batari Musa in a memo to agents titled. “ Request for information on foreign
airlines remittances for the period 1999 to December 2011” said the information
between January 1999 and December 2011 should be submitted to the  department of the apex bank “both in hard and
soft copies”.

It was gathered that about N222 billion was repatriated by
foreign airlines to their home countries in 2011. In all, foreign airlines like
BA, Emirates, Virgin Atlantic, Air France, Delta Air, Qatar Airways, Egypt Air,
Kenya Airways and Turkish Airways repatriated over N222 billion in one year
while the indigenous carriers continued to carry crumbs.

A document received from one of the agencies had indicated
that British Airways, which has been flying into the country for over 70 years
raked in N31,538,141.518 the year under review.

Other airlines like Emirates earned N21.5 billion on ticket
sales Virgin Atlantic, N11.8bn, Air France, N10.8 bn, KLM N10.5bn, Delta Air,
N7.1bn, Qatar Airways N6.7bn, South African Airway, N5.7bn, Egypt Air, N4.8bn,
Kenya Airways N2.8 bn and Turkish Airlines N1.8bn

Altalia N931.3 million, Liberia N769.1m, Saudi Arabian
Airlines which only flies into Kano from Jeddah grossed N846.1bn and China
Southern Airlines, N769.1m among others.

It would be recalled that President Goodluck Jonathan
recently directed all agencies in the aviation industry and other government
agencies in various sectors of the nation’s economy to henceforth remit 25
percent of their gross income into the federation account.

The agencies affected in the aviation industry include, the
Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) Nigerian Air Space management
Authority (NAMA), Nigeria civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Accident and
Investigation Bureau (AIB) and Nigerian Metrological Agency (NIMET)

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COVID-19: Arik Airline Sacks 300 Staff

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At least 300 staff of Arik Air have been relieved of their appointments by the airline’s management.

This was announced in a statement by the airline on Friday.
It blamed the sacking on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
The press statement was titled, “Arik Air management declares 300 staff redundant”.
The company explained that a redundancy package would be provided for the affected workers with the help of the aviation unions.
The statement read in part, “Arising from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to the constrained ability of the airline to complete heavy maintenance activities and return its planes to operations, stunted revenues against increasing operational costs, the management of Arik Air (In Receivership) has declared 300 staff members redundant to its current level of operations.
“The leadership of the impacted unions has been contacted to negotiate a redundancy package for the affected staff.”
The airline added that over 50 per cent of its workforce of over 1,600 staff have been on furlough in the past six months.
In a separate statement also forwarded to our correspondent by its Public Relations and Communications Manager, Banji Ola, the airline apologised to passengers whose travel plans were disrupted by the protest carried out by the National Union of Air Transport Employees on December 3, 2020.
The picketing disrupted operations in Lagos and prevented the airline from processing passengers at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Domestic Terminal 1 and 2.

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S’East Leaders Laud FG Over EndSARS

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South-East leaders on Saturday, lauded the Federal Government on the matured and responsive manner it handled all issues relating to the EndSARS protest and agitation.
The leaders of the zone, which included Governors, Senators, House of Representatives members as well as traditional, religious and youth leaders, gave the commendation in a communiqué issued after their meeting with a Presidential delegation in Enugu.
The presidential delegation was led by Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, who is the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We thank President Buhari for the speed and restraint with which he handled the EndSARS protest, which has engendered peace throughout the country, especially the South-East.
“We, therefore, request the President to look into demands of various groups and youths with a view to resolving them,’’ the statement, which was read by the Chairman of South-East Governors’ Forum, Governor Dave Umehi, said.
It also called for joint operation by security agencies and local vigilant groups into all forests in the zone to flush out criminals and killer herdsmen with AK47 rifles.
“But we pledge our commitment to continuous coexistence with peaceful herdsmen who have been living peacefully with us.
“We stand for an indivisible and united Nigeria, built on love, fairness, equity and justice. We believe that under this platform – NIGERIA; we are bigger and stronger,’’ it said.
It also called on the Federal Government to continue its support and diplomatic push for the former Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to be elected as the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
The statement thanked the Federal Government for the timely interventions in Akanu Ibiam International Airport rehabilitation as well as intervention in road infrastructures in the zone.
“We are grateful for the attention given to the second Niger Bridge and completion and inauguration of the Zik’s mausoleum.
“However, we urge the Federal Government to give attention to the completion of the current road projects within the zone,’’ it said.
The statement said that the states in the zone will provide money for the compensation for those affected by the EndSARS protest, help to rebuild police stations and their logistics; while engaging the youths constantly to forestall any violent development in the zone.
“We have plans to set up various empowerment programmes to gainfully engage the youths. The governors also plan to mainstream the youths in their governance to give them a sense of belonging.

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Minister Hails Meeting With S’East Leaders

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The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has described as “extremely fruitful” the meeting which a presidential team had with leaders and stakeholders of the South-East.
“The meeting of the presidential delegation with South-East leaders was very useful,’’ Mohammed told journalists on Sunday in Enugu.
The delegation, led by Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, met for more than eight hours in Enugu with selected South-East leaders.
Mohammed said that it was quite instructive that all the groups which took part in the meeting believed in the unity and oneness of the country, pointing out that they clearly spelt out this in their presentations.
“We listened clearly and carefully to all the positions and demands and we are going back to report directly to President Buhari,’’ the minister said.
He noted that the Federal Government had been spreading development and infrastructure to all parts of the country, simultaneously and equitably.
“We want the South-East people to be confident that the Federal Government is spreading development and infrastructure to all parts of the country equitably and will never marginalise any zone in the ongoing development and infrastructure agenda.
“This is what I want to assure Nigerians living in the South-East,’’ Mohammed noted.
According to the minister, when the team gets back to Abuja it will see what can be done immediately concerning some of the positions and demands made by the South-East leaders.
The presidential delegation met with South-East governors, statesmen, elders, religious and traditional leaders, as well as market women and youth leaders.

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