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Virgin Atlantic May Fold Without State Help-Branson

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British tycoon, Richard Branson, has warned that his part-owned airline Virgin Atlantic will collapse unless it receives financial aid from the United Kingdom government to weather the coronavirus crisis.
“We will do everything we can to keep the airline going but we will need government support to achieve that in the face of the severe uncertainty surrounding travel today and not knowing how long the planes will be grounded for,” Branson said in a letter to employees seen by media.
Airlines around the world are on the financial ropes as government lockdown orders and border closures have forced them to ground most of their planes.
“This would be in the form of a commercial loan — it wouldn’t be free money and the airline would pay it back,” he added after the billionaire faced criticism following the airline demanding that staff take unpaid leave during the COVID-19 outbreak.
“The reality of this unprecedented crisis is that many airlines around the world need government support and many have already received it,” Branson added.
“Without it there won’t be any competition left and hundreds of thousands more jobs will be lost, along with critical connectivity and huge economic value,” the letter went on.
Virgin is reportedly seeking £500 million ($612 million, 564 million euros) in state help.
British no-frills, airline EasyJet, recently secured a £600-million loan from the British government, which is dealing with airlines on a case-by-case basis rather than heeding to Virgin’s demand for a multi-billion-pound state-funded pot for the entire UK airline sector.
In his letter to staff, Branson referred to “lots of comments” about his wealth and a duty to prop up Virgin Atlantic and offer financial help to staff from his own pocket.
But he insisted that figures being published regarding his net worth were based on the value of Virgin businesses before the coronavirus pandemic, rather than “cash in a bank account ready to withdraw”.
He added: “Today, the cash we have in the Virgin Group and my personal wealth is being invested across many companies around the world to protect as many jobs as possible, with a big part of that going to Virgin Atlantic.”

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NOSDRA Blames Drop In Gas Export On Vandalism

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The drop in Nigeria’s gas export by as much as five million standard cubic meters per day (MMSCM/d) has been blamed on the activities of vandals operating in Azikoro community of Bayelsa State.
It was gathered that the drop was sequel to an explosion which occurred at the 24 Ogboinbiri and OB-OB gas pipeline, the gas export feed to the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) plant.
The Director-General and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Mr Idris Musa, confirmed the pipeline blast to newsmen, last Wednesday.
He said that the blast was reported to the agency in the early hours of Tuesday, noting that the damaged facility normally evacuates an average of five MMSCM/d.
Musa said following the notification, a team of officials comprising the Secretary of Azikoro community, the Bayelsa commissioner for Mineral Resources and representatives of NOSDRA visited the incident site early Wednesday.
He said that the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), the operator of the facility, was promptly notified of the incident.
“Due to the high pressure, NAOC was directed by NOSDRA to depressurize the facility preparatory for a Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) which will follow immediately to ascertain the cause and extent of the incident.
“NAOC is already at the incident site, with the agency among other stakeholders working to contain the explosion and secure the incident site preparatory to JIV and other remedial measures,” Musa said.
He said that NOSDRA would conduct the investigations in a transparent manner, and pledged that its findings would be made public in due course.
Meanwhile, officials of NAOC declined comments when contacted for reaction.
Some of the residents near the incident site said that they heard sound of explosions on Tuesday morning in the area.
They also alleged that some small batteries and wires suspected to be used by the vandals to detonate improvised explosive device were found in the area.
The gas pipeline was vandalised three times in April, 2022.

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ANLCA Seeks N200bn Compensation From Bank Over Demurrage 

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The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has called for the payment of over N200 billion compensation on demurrage and storage charges incurred by customs brokers and freight forwarders as a result of Guarantee Trust Bank’s suspension over alleged non-remittance of import duty collected on behalf of the Federal Government .
The foremost customs brokers association insisted that its members have lost about N200 billion in the line of duty.
Speaking in Lagos recently on behalf of the association, the National Secretary of ANLCA, Alhaji Babatunde Mukaila, expressed dissatisfaction over the slow responses by management of GTB on the suspension with Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
Mukaila noted that the association was aware that NCS gave GTBank two weeks notice to resolve their challenges.
The scribe said despite the marching order from the NCS, GTB has not resolved the issue or made alternative arrangement for the interest of their clients.
The ANLCA chieftain said its members won’t bear the cost of demurrage incurred, while insisting  that they won’t let go of the losses.
He recalled that in the past, some banks have had similar problems, but quickly appointed a receiver bank pending the resolution of the matter.
Speaking with representatives from GTBank in Lagos, Mukaila stressed that the approach of the Gtbank  amounts to negligence on their.
“Where there is negligence, someone or group suffers the detriment and as such in every detriment there must be compensation.
He reiterated that the aims and objectives of the association is to protect its members, while asking the bank officials how they intend to mitigate the losses.
Other members of the association in attendance also took turn to  condemn the bank’s attitude and concluded that there will be no stand down on demand for adequate compensation.
In his response, the representative of GTbank, Lanre Kola-Banjo, apologised to the customs brokers, explaining that  the problem was a result of technical fault from the server.
He however debunked that they were given two weeks notice.
Contrarily, he said, “we woke up one morning only to discover that we had been disconnected”.
Meanwhile, he said they have contacted their customers who were directly involved, apologised and explained the circumstance to them.
He further explained that it was after they had been suspended from accessing the NCS portal that they were given 2 weeks to fix the technical problem or face serious sanction.
According to him,”the problem has been resolved since the 9th September”.
He promised to take ANLCA’s demands to the top management of the bank for further action.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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BOT Registration: ANLCA Acquires CAC Certificate

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As further confirmation of recognition, the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) has issued fresh certificate recognising Dr. Taiwo Afolabi and Chief Ozo Chukwura as Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Registered Board of Trustees (BOT), Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) .
The certificate issued recently with registration number 6754, also listed Onyenaechi Offor, Emmanuel Azodo, Eniola Igbaroo, Ayokunle Abel, Aliyu Isa, Shamsudeen Awopeju and Christian Igwe as members.
Chairman of SIFAX Group and proprietor of Marriot Hotel, Lagos, Dr Taiwo Afolabi, was elected the Chairman of the BOT of ANLCA.
Afolabi was chosen by other BoT members in Lagos last year.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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