IATA Appeals To FG On Airlines’ Blocked Funds
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has appealed to the Federal Government of Nigeria on resolution of airlines’ blocked funds.
IATA’s Area Manager, West and Central Africa, Dr Samson Fatokun, made the appeal in Abuja, when he led a team to pay a courtesy visit on the Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika.
According to him, Nigeria has been the country with the highest amount of airline blocked funds in the world for over a year.
“We would like to thank you for your continuous support for the growth of air transport in Nigeria and for the actualisation of its role as catalyst for the growth of the Nigerian economy.
“IATA and global airline community will like to appeal for your special intervention for the resolution of airlines` blocked funds issue in Nigeria.
“As at January 2023, airlines `blocked funds in Nigeria have increased to $743, 721,097 from $662m in January 2023 and $549m in December 2022”, he said.
Fatokun said increasing backlog of international airlines blocked funds in Nigeria had sent a message against Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Nigeria.
According to him, potential investors are reading from the plight of airlines that they may not be able to repatriate their funds from Nigeria, at a time when Nigeria is expecting more investments.
“Foreign airlines fly into Nigeria within the legal framework of the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA), signed between their countries and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“It is agreed in those BASAs that Nigeria will facilitate the repatriation of the funds of the other party`s airline. Nigeria flouts this contractual obligation by not facilitating enough the repatriation of airlines’ funds”, he said.
He said some airlines had decided to reduce number of their frequencies or seats made available for sale in the Nigerian market to mitigate increasing backlog of their funds in Nigeria and its impact on their cash flow.
He stated that this reduced person and cargo access to Nigeria, and e-commerce that relied on aviation for speedy delivery would be impacted in the country.
“Moreover, going by the law of demand and supply, the reduction of airline inventories in the Nigerian market will lead to ticket fare increase which would further burden average Nigerians and take air travel away from the reach of many Nigerians”, he stated.
On her part, the National President, National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA), Mrs Susan Akporiaye, also urged the minister to help facilitate resolution of airlines’ blocked funds.
“The downstream sector of aviation industry (Travel Agencies, Ground Handling Companies) rely heavily on airlines capacity to grow or remain in business.
“Should the airlines be compelled to further reduce their capacity, those businesses would be negatively impacted, leading to job loss.
“The negative indirect impact will also affect ground transportation (taxi, car hire), hotels and restaurants output”, she said.
Responding, the Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, said he would use his office and personal relationship with President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that airlines’ funds blocked in Nigeria were totally cleared.
He said efforts would be made to ensure clearance of the funds before the end of the current administration.
Sirika, however, frowned at reactions of some international airlines, regarding the blocked funds.
“We do know that we need your services as you also need our market. Things can be resolved by dialogues like this, which I think is better. “he said.
FG, Experts Urge Action On Maternal, Child Deaths
The Ministry of Health alondside experts in the health sector have sued for collective action to address the high maternal, neonatal and child health challenges in the country.
They spoke at the Health Summit organised by the African Centre of Excellence for Population Health and Policy (ACEPHAP), Bayero University Kano (BUK), and the Centre for Infectious Diseases Research (CIDR) in collaboration with Rand Corporation USA, with support from Marks Family Foundation.
Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, insisted on Partnership to bringing to minimal the rate of the menace in the country.
Represented by the Director, Child Health, Family Health Department, Stella Nwosu, Ehanire said, “all hands must be on deck towards improving Nigeria’s maternal newborn and child health indices as government could not do it alone”.
A professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the College of Health Sciences, BUK, Hadiza Galadanci, revealed that Nigeria had the highest number of maternal deaths accounting for over one-quarter (28.5%) of all estimated global maternal deaths in 2020.
Also speaking, the Director, CIDR, BUK, Prof. Isa Sadeeq, stated that the summit was inspired by the need to proffer solutions to the insecurity and humanitarian crisis facing women and children in Nigeria, especially in the North East and North West.
PCN Orientates Newly Licensed Medicine Vendors In Kwara
The Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN) has organised an orientation and Continuous Education Programme (CEP) for newly licensed patent and proprietary medicine dealers in Kwara.
Speaking at the programme in Ilorin, Mr Babashehu Ahmed, the Registrar of the council, explained that the training is part of the requirements for the issuance of Patent and Proprietary Medicines Vendors Licence (PPMVL).
According to him, the holder shall be required to attend an orientation programme (CEP), at least once, every two years.
Ahmed, represented by Mr Bayode Emmanuel, the Deputy Director, Northcentral Zonal Office, Minna, said it was the responsibility of every newly licensed private propriety Medicine Vendor (PPMV) to participate in the orientation programme.
“The orientation is adult learning programmes in which participants are encouraged to be involved in the learning process”, he said.
He tasked the medicine vendors to operate within the provisions of the guidelines as well as the PCN’s approved patent medicine lists.
Ahmed observed that National Surveys in Nigeria showed that Community Pharmacies and PPMVs were usually the first port of call for health seeking individuals in the rural, underserved and hard to reach communities.
He added that the Federal Ministry of Health in a bid to ensure equitable distribution of quality healthcare had targeted the medicine vendors in order to expand their roles in primary health care.
The Permanent Secretary, Kwara State Ministry of Health, Dr Abubakar Ayinla, said the programme was to ensure that all patent medicine vendors had met all requirements of getting licence to practice that aspect of the profession.
He described patent medicine vendors as group of people that were readily available and close to the communities, whom people utilise by buying medical consumables that were permitted to sell.
Ayinla emphasised the importance of compliance, rules and regulations, standard practice and ethics for vendors to uphold.
“We encourage them to learn, so that they will be able to apply their own learning to the evolving changes that we are seeing in the society”, he said.
The State Director, Pharmaceutical Services, Mrs Barakat Olarewaju, advised the medicine vendors to uphold the laws as approved by PCN.
According to her, vendors must sell only drugs on PCN approved patent and proprietary medicine list.
The pharmacist warned the vendors against prescribing or dispensing medicines, adding that all medicines to be stocked by the vendors must be purchased from premises registered by PCN.
President of Nigerian Association of Patent and Proprietary Medicine Dealer (NAPPMED), Kwara Chapter, Alhaji Abdulraheem Lawal, assured that the association would ensure compliance with laid down rules guiding their profession.
CBN Educates Young Students On Savings Culture
As part of activities to mark the 2023 Global Money Week, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has educated students on the rudiments and significance of future savings.
CBN said the money savings teaching session for young students across the country was aimed at encouraging students to save for the future even in times of little incomes.
The Head, Consumer Education Division of the Consumer Protection Department In CBN, Chinyere Jane Nwubilo, while addressing attendees at the event that was held on financial inclusion by the apex bank, noted that without financial literacy children of young age would not be able to imbibe financial discipline.
Nwubilo said the essence of the financial education session for the students was to educate them on financial discipline to enable them acquire financial capability that would help them to have financial wellbeing.
“We are trying to catch the children young to be able to save, to earn to invest at a very young age. We are celebrating with the rest of the world and CBN is the coordinator of all stakeholders in this celebration.
“The essence is just to inculcate in them the act of saving. They can save from whatever little they have”, she stated.
Nwubilo urged Nigerians to plan their money through savings, budgeting and investment.
She said the event was also organised to teach children on needs and wants to have a secured and stable financial future.
“You will have to separate your needs from your wants so that you don’t spend all your money on wants and not have savings to invest”, Nwubilo said.
On responsiveness of financial institutions in encouraging people into the financial system, Nwubilo said the apex bank has encouraged the financial institutions across the nation to as much as possible, drive down financial literacy with a focus on achieving financial inclusion.
The aim is to get them to understand how to develop saving culture and products that fit their category.
Nwubilo further stated that the department would push for the additionsion of in school curriculum.
“Yes, that is in the pipeline because there is need for us to ensure continuity. So, we are going to have financial education in school curriculum very soon”, she said.
The significance of Global Money Week is an annual event celebrated all over the world and the theme for this year is “Plan Your Money And Plant Your Future”.
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