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FAAN Laments 95% Revenue Fall, Hikes Service Charges By 100%

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The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), yesterday, said that its revenue has dropped by over 95 per cent in the wake of the lockdown declared to curtail further spread of Covid-19.
Its Managing Director, Rabiu Yadudu, said this at a press conference in Abuja while responding to a question on why FAAN decided to effect a 100 per cent increase in Passenger Service Charge at this time.
The increase of PSC from N1,000 to N2,000 per passenger for domestic flights, Yadudu said, would take effect from September 1, and had been communicated to all airlines.
“The increase is a matter of necessity. Our revenue is down by over 95 percent. In that case, we will do whatever we can legitimately to ensure we carry out our duties.
“We need to survive. There is no better time than now for FAAN to do this,” he said.
Describing airport management as capital intensive, Yadudu noted that FAAN has not increased PSC since 2011 despite all the huge capital investments at the nation’s airports.
He said the current N1,000 charge was no longer realistic and that it did not correlate with realities of cost-related inflation rate which the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) put at 12.82 per cent.
The managing director said FAAN, until late 2019, was collecting naira equivalent of PSC at an official rate of between N305.50 and N344.38 to a dollar while airlines were collecting at subsisting market rate of about N362 to a dollar.
He added that the Federal Government is increasing its direct deduction from FAAN to 40 per cent from 2021.
He said with such deduction, FAAN will have a shortfall of over N16billion on overhead cost, hence, the authority decided to engage the government in order to be exempted from the deduction.
Yadudu said, “It has, therefore become imperative to review the Passenger Service Charge from N1,000 to N2,000 per passenger.
“This review which takes effect from September 1, 2020, has already been communicated to the airlines.
“We, therefore, implore stakeholders, airport users and the general public to bear with us as FAAN is laden with so much overhead cost of operation.”
The managing director said as the nation prepares for the resumption of scheduled international flights, new advisories for airlines and air travellers would be rolled out.
He said the advisories would be made public as soon as they are ready.
While answering a question on the latest on the latest on the alleged violation of Covid-19 protocols by VIPs at the nation’s airports, Yadudu said the task was being handled by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the they nation would hear from the authority as soon as it is ready.
He also said the NCAA was working with the Ministry of Aviation and airlines on the planned resumption of scheduled international flights.
“Don’t let us assume all airlines will be ready by that time. We are opening our door, it is left for the airlines to come through the door,” he said about the resumption in international flights.

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Stakeholders Meet To Assess Nigeria’s Preparedness For AFCFTA

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Stakeholders are expected to converge in Lagos today to take a look at the Nigeria’s preparedness to maximize the gains of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). 
The Tide learnt that stakeholders will be converging at the instance of a popular online newspaper, Primetime Reporters, to assess the progress made so far by the Federal Government through the National Action Committee on AfCFTA agreement.
The event which is the Third Annual Lecture and Awards of the online medium has as its theme: “Assessing Nigeria’s Preparedness to Maximize the Gains of AfCFTA.” 
The event will also witness conferment of awards on eight eminent Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in various fields of human endeavours.
The Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of Primetime Reporters, Mr. Saint Augustine Nwadinamuo, made this known in a statement made available to The Tide in Lagos on Monday.
According to him, the event will hold at the National Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos beginning from 10.00am.
Nwadinamuo said that the event would be chaired by a renowned legal practitioner, Barr. Osuala Emmanuel Nwagbara of the Maritime and Commercial Law Partners, Lagos, while the Director General, Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr. Muda Yusuf, would be the lead paper presenter.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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EFCC Nabs 419 Kingpin Over N250m Fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has arrested a leader of a deadly 419 syndicate, Abayomi Kamaldeen Alaka (a.k.a Awise) over an alleged attempt to swindle an innocent Nigerian of N250 million. 
The Tide learnt that the syndicate operates from a shrine at Ashipa Town, near Abeokuta, Ogun State.
According to a statement made available to The Tide in Lagos on Sunday, by the EFCC, Awise’s arrest followed a petition by his victim, Juliet Bright who lost N250m to the fraudster after she was tricked to provide money for sacrifices and invocations to heal her of an ailment.
The statement said Bright was introduced to Alaka by one Akinola Bukola Augustina (a.ka. Iya Osun) whom she met on Facebook in the course of her search for solutions to her health challenge. 
What drew her to Augustina was the latter’s post under the name, Osunbukola Olamitutu Spriritual Healing Centre.
 Once Bright contacted Augustina, the latter promised to heal her if she could pay N16 million. 
The victim paid the money through an Access Bank account belonging to one Mohammed Sani, who later turned out to be a Bureau De Change Operator.
After paying the money without receiving healing, Augustina transferred the victim to other members of the syndicate, notably Awise. 
Bright revealed that she met Awise at his shrine in Ashipa Town and was hypnotized and subsequently transferred various sum through bank accounts and in cash to the suspect and his syndicate members, until she lost N250 million to them.
Despite all the monies collected from her, her health conditions has never improved.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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Expert Wants Farmers To Grow Plant Produce For Export

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An expert in Quarantine Agriculture, Dr Vincent Ozuru, has advised Nigerian farmers to give more attention to growing plants produce that could be exported.
He said that plant like the hibiscus, popularly known as Zobo is on high demand in some countries around the world, today.
Ozuru who gave the advice while speaking to aviation correspondents at Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, noted that some plants produce, particularly hibiscus, had yielded huge revenue to the Federal Government through export.
According to him, Nigeria exported about 1,983 containers of hibiscus to Mexico alone in 2017 and earned $35 million within nine months of that year.
The agricultural quarantine expert explained that the export of the plant had a setback as a result of storage pest discovered by the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service in some consignments.
“The issue has now been taken care of and the export is resuming again, and all matters have been resolved with the stakeholders across the value chain.
“Mexico is the largest importer of Nigerian hibiscus, and our farmers should brace up to the challenge.
“The good news is that Nigeria has a vast growing belt in hibiscus, and the harvest is available all year round.
“We need to take advantage of this opportunity to earn foreign exchange for ourselves and for the country at large, even with the commitment of the present administration to diversify the economy”, he said.
Ozuru called on Nigerian farmers to show more commitment to the growing of export produce and also endeavor to get ready information on it in order to increase their income.

By: Corlins Walter

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