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WBG President Decries Economic Crisis On Developing Countries

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Ahead of this year’s Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group (WBG), President of the WBG, David Malpass, say he is “deeply concerned” about the impacts of overlapping economic crises on developing countries.
Malpass stated this during a pre-event media briefing, saying he looked forward to discussing solutions with key stakeholders during the Spring Meetings, which began on Monday.
The World Bank chief listed the likelihood of interest hikes and rising prices of essentials such as energy, food and fertilizer as a major challenge facing the global community with hard impacts on the developing countries.
His concern came less than a week after a joint statement by the IMF, WBG, World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warned of an impending food crisis and called for coordinated assistance for developing vulnerable countries.
Malpass told the media that existing crises plus the war in Ukraine, China’s COVID-related shutdowns “are pushing global growth rates even lower and poverty rates higher.
“We’ve lowered our 2022 growth rate to 3.2 per cent from 4.1 per cent before. People are facing reversals in development for education, health and gender equality. They’re facing reduced commercial activity and trade. Also, the debt crises and currency depreciations have a burden that falls heavily on the poor.”
He observed that his recent visit to Senegal and Morocco exposed him to the challenge of energy and fertilizer price hike in the two countries like elsewhere in the developing world, stressing that “this is an intense problem.
“Food crises are bad for everyone, but they’re devastating for the poorest and most vulnerable. There are two reasons. First, the world’s poorest countries tend to be food-importing countries. Second, food accounts for at least half of total expenditures in household budgets in low-income countries, so it hits them hardest,” the WBG President said.
Stressing the content of last week’s press statement, he charged countries to take immediate actions to encourage the production of food, energy and fertilizer. He reiterated the importance of removing barriers to trade and production of food and other essential commodities.
“Global trade is still facing quotas, high import tariffs, high export tariffs, expensive food price subsidies and even export bans on food products. These should stop. The international community needs to immediately step up emergency assistance for food insecurity and help bolster social safety nets. From the World Bank’s standpoint, we are providing roughly $17 billion per year to strengthen food security – a big part of the global effort,” he disclosed.
Malpass spoke on other responses from WBG to tackle the impacts of war and COVID-19 and urged the developed countries to extend a helping hand to the poor who have been hit hardest by the multiple crises.
He pointed out debt and inflation as “two big problems facing global growth”, at the moment, saying they have thrown countries into severe financial stress. He added that “60 per cent of low-income countries are already in debt distress or at high risk of it”.
He called for the implementation of the Common Framework, including establishing a timeline for forming creditors’ committees, suspension of debt service payments/penalty interest, expanding eligibility and engaging commercial creditors at the beginning of the process. He envisages that the debt crisis would worsen in the year.
On inflation, he advised: “Policies need to be adjusted to enhance supply, not just increasing demand. Markets are forward-looking so it’s vital for governments and private sectors to state that supply will increase and that their policies will foster currency stability to bring down inflation and increase growth rates. This is especially important as global supply chains shift away from dependency.
“Central banks need to use more tools under current policies. The inequality gap has widened materially, with wealth and income concentrating in narrow segments of the global population. Interest rate hikes, if that’s the primary tool, will add to the inequality challenge that the world is facing.
Central banks can use more of their tools, not just interest rates. Capital is being misallocated now. One of the focal points should be using all the central bank tools so that capital is allocated in a way that helps increase supply. That will be an effective way to address inflation”, he said.

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NSIB, AAAU Sign MoU On Air Safety Training

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As part of efforts to curb mishaps in the aviation industry, the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the African Aviation and Aerospace University (AAAU) to deepen training on preventing and reducing accidents in Nigeria’s air transport.
Director, Public Affairs and Consumer Protection of NBIS, Mrs Bimbo Olawumi Oladeji, in a statement, said NSIB granted AAAU access to its facilities to facilitate an efficient exchange of resources and expertise.
According to the statement, the Director-General/Chief Executive Officer of NSIB, Captain Alex Badeh, who spoke at the ceremony held at the NSIB Training School, noted that the MoU sets the stage for facility sharing, capacity building, and collaboration between the Bureau and AAAU.
“I am confident that this MoU will enhance the effectiveness of our collaboration and commitment to promoting safer skies and operational excellence in the aviation industry in Nigeria and beyond”, Badeh said.
Registrar of AAAU, represented by the Director of Physical Planning and Works, Engineer Masud Aliyu Yerima, was also quoted in the statement, saying, “The journey of AAAU’s establishment and progress would have faced considerable challenges without NSIB’s generous support”.
He commended Badeh for his exemplary leadership and steadfast dedication in propelling NSIB to greater heights, and affirmed AAAU’s readiness to engage in mutually beneficial endeavours with NSIB.
“This partnership marks a significant milestone in fostering a culture of safety and excellence within Nigeria’s aviation sector, and both NSIB and AAAU are poised to leverage this synergy for the benefit of the industry and the nation at large.
“The African Aviation and Aerospace University, AAAU, is the first Pan-African university dedicated to aviation, aerospace, and environmental science.
“Addressing two critical needs within the continent’s industry, AAAU tackles the research and development gap in Africa’s aviation and aerospace sector while simultaneously cultivating a skilled workforce to propel it forward”, the statement added.

By: Corlins Walter

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Naira Rebound, Air Peace’s Expansion Deepens International Route Competition 

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he commencement of flights operations on the London route by an indegenous Carrier, Air Peace Airline, and the recovery of the local currency have sparked fresh competition on international routes.
Air Peace, Nigeria’s outstanding indigenous airline, may face a prolonged market battle with many foreign airlines with decades of experience in the industry following its entrance on the Nigeria-London route.
Some of the industry’s experts say the airline required support from the government and a strategic approach to stay competitive.
Analysts have also stated that the strategic move has garnered high praise from stakeholders in the aviation sector, considering that Nigerians were paying exorbitant prices to travel from Nigeria to London, but that sustaining this momentum will require more than just offering low prices.
On March 31, 2024, the 11-year-old airline made a bold statement with its inaugural flight, using a Boeing 777 aircraft, offering a capacity of 274 seats and carrying 260 passengers from Lagos to London.
It sold its tickets for N1.2m, a price way lower than the rates offered by most foreign airline operators plying the same route.
Just two weeks after entering the market, Air Peace’s Chief Executive Officer, Allen Onyema, complained on Arise TV that foreign airlines were undercutting prices in an attempt to push Air Peace out of the market.
Onyema said, “We are aware that there are devilish conspiracies. All of a sudden, airlines are pricing below the cost. One airline is advertising $100  and the other $350. If you peel up your entire aircraft and carry people on the wings, it is not even enough to buy fuel.
“Why are they doing that? Their government is supporting them because Nigeria has been a cash cow for everybody. The idea is to take Air Peace out, and the moment they succeed in taking Air Peace out, Nigerians will pay 20 times over. It would happen, God forbid, if they were able to take Air Peace out”.
It was gathered that an economy ticket for a flight scheduled for April 29, 2024, from Lagos to London costs about N679,375 on Ethiopian Airlines, an operator with 75 years of experience.
Air Peace priced the same ticket at N1,090,750. The difference is that on Air Peace, it will be a 6-hour non-stop flight, while on Ethiopian Airlines, it will take 16 hours with one stopover.
Last Friday, Ethiopian Airlines reduced the price of its London ticket by 0.77 per cent to N1,628,660 from  N1,641,249 two weeks ago.
In the same period, Air France’s price dropped to N1,687,824, nearly halving from last month’s N2,482,138.
On March 4, 2024, Lufthansa offered the Lagos-London route for N1,966,165. Qatar Airways provided the same ticket for N2,016,824, and KLM priced it at N2,448,740.
This continuous decline in air ticket prices was also driven by the strengthening of the naira against the US dollar and the payments of airlines’ trapped funds by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, had confirmed that the Federal Government, through the CBN, had cleared all the trapped funds (foreign exchange backlogs) to the tune of about $160m.
Beyond the ongoing price war, the Air Peace Chairman had also lamented the challenges with ground handling and space allocation at the London Gatwick Airport, adding that no airline has faced such obstacles before.
He noted, “On the inaugural flight out of London, 24 hours before departure, the management of Gatwick Airport moved us to another checking area instead of the designated one.
“The area they provided had a malfunctioning carousel, forcing us to manually transport luggage 50 meters away, causing delays”.

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PH Airport Users Lament Down Turn In Flight Operations 

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Users and business operators at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, have decried the downward trend in flight operations at the airport.
Some of the users and operators told The Tide that flight operations at the airport, rather than go upward, have steadily been irregular, and diminishing steadily.
A regular air passenger of the airport, Simeon Echeonwu, in a chat with The Tide, said many airlines, both domestic and international operators, that usually operate at the Port Harcourt airport, have stopped operations, whereas others that are still operating are no longer very stable as before.
Echeonwu noted that airlines such as Aero Contractors, United Nigeria, and Green Africa airlines, now operate about one flight, twice a week, unlike before that they flew every day on Lagos and Abuja to Port Harcourt.
Also speaking, former Chairman of the FAAN Accredited Car Hires Association, Clifford Wahunoro, lamented that the down turn in Operations has affected the business of car hires.
“If you have noticed, I have not been regular at the airport for some time now, because business is no longer flowing at the airport as before. I will not fold my hands and be sitting down doing nothing, so I have to look for other things, so I come when I think there will be something.
“You can see that between 12noon and 1pm, after that segment of flights, when you have few flights arrival, many people will close for the day, and when you wait till evening, flight like Dana may come very late at night, and sometimes, it will not arrive, and by that time, many people will not like to book for commercial vehicle”, he said.
Meanwhile, a travel agent, who wished to be anoyimous, decried the rate at which the airport is going down in terms of flights operations, noting that Port Harcourt airport ought to be competing with the other major airports like Lagos and Abuja.
He queried if such was a calculated attempt to bring the airport to its kneel in terms of flight operations, while other major airports have steady flow of flight operations both for domestic and international.
TheTide observed a continuous distortions in flight movement at the airport. Some of the airlines, like Max air, which many passengers patronize, have completely stopped operations, and no new airline has been added.
Apart from the Air Peace Airline that has maintained some level of stability in operations, other few operators have been involved in either steady rescheduling of flights, cancellation and regular delay, resulting in poor and unpredictable flight movement, which affects or determine other businesses in the airport.

By: Corlins Walter

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