‘Flight Ticket Sales In Dollars’ll Reduce Trapped Funds Backlog’
There are indications that sale of air tickets in dollars would reduce the backlog of trapped foreign airlines funds in Nigeria, as part of efforts to address the issue.
This development, according to aviation analysts, would put an end to trapped funds in the country and also address the fear of foreign airlines, reducing their frequencies in the country.
An aviation analyst, and flight despatcher, Simeon Uchendu, in an interaction with aviation correspondents, said foreign airlines contribute over 70 per cent of aviation earnings in the country.
He noted that due to the significant rise of their funds trapped in the country over the past one year, they are mulling massive reductions in their frequencies to Nigeria.
According to him, foreign airlines collect Naira for their tickets, and exchange the same for foreign currencies for their operations but they have been lamenting their inability to get the exchange executed through the official foreign exchange market due to the scarcity of foreign exchange resources.
From the revealed analysis on breakdown of the trapped funds as of December 2022, the fund stood at $549 million, and that this later rose to $662 million in January 2023 and is currently at $744 million, which is an increase of 11 per cent when compared to the previous month.
This development, he said, led to suspension of operations by foreign airlines, like the United Arab Emirates flag carrier, the Emirates Airline operating over 21 flights, which suspended its operation indefinitely in Nigeria in October 2022.
Also in a chat with the Director of Research, Kenrich Travels Limited, Mr. Francis Ihenacho, he stressed that the suspension of operations in Nigeria by Emirates Airlines has a spiral effect on the allied services in the country to the airline.
“Apart from the Maintenance Repair and Operate (MRO) firm, other allied organisations to Emirates like hotels, catering services, car hire, security, expatriates, fuelers and other backup companies would be affected by the decision of the airline to quit the Nigerian scene.
“The Federal Government should take a cue from the Zimbabwean government, which allowed the foreign airlines operating in its country to sell tickets in dollars.
“Rather than insisting on naira sales for the airlines, dollar sales would reduce the challenge of blocked funds currently being experienced by the foreign airlines.
“The Federal Government should also merge the black market rate with the official rate, this would reduce the challenge. By and large, we should find a way out of this crisis. Zimbabwe was also affected and it has told the airlines to sell tickets in dollars.
“Even, the fuel suppliers are feeling the pains. Now, the fuel suppliers that refused to collect naira from Emirates are now collecting zero naira and zero dollars.
“So, we are all feeling the pain. I think the Nigerian oil companies should have collected naira, rather than insisting in dollars from Emirates and today, everybody on that value chain that gained from the services of Emirates are all down without jobs”, he noted.
By: Corlins Walter
Infrastructure Deficit, Insecurity, Limit Maritime Contribution To GDP – Expert
A Maritime stake holder, and Chairman of Sifax Group, Taiwo Afolabi, has attributed maritime industry’s minimal contribution to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to infrastructure deficit, insecurity on the nation’s waterways, low level of technology adoption, and deployment in the sector.
Afolabi made this known at the 5th Taiwo Afolabi Annual Maritime (TAAM) conference organised by the Maritime Forum of the faculty of law, University of Lagos.
Afolabi noted that other hindrances are foreign exchange bottleneck and inconsistent policies.
“These have limited the ability of the sector to contribute significantly to the country’s Gross Domestic Product GDP.
“If well harnessed, the maritime industry has the potential to become a major revenue earner for the country, particularly with the declining oil revenue.
“The lessons of the last few years as a nation should not be lost on us. The non-oil sector is increasingly becoming the mainstay of the country’s economy. We have funded our national budget in the last few years majorly without proceeds from oil but from other sectors.
“The days of our over reliance on oil is behind us now and it’s about time we focused on transitioning from an oil-dependent economy to non-oil reliance.
“The maritime sector, I can say without any fear of contradiction, will play a crucial role in this economic transitioning if more attention is committed to the industry.
“Judging by the potentials of the industry, we are of the opinion and belief that Nigeria’s maritime industry can rank among the best in the world.
“It will only take careful planning, progressive policies, generous funding, enabling environment, friendly economic policies, manpower development and massive infrastructural development”, he noted.
Loans Repayment Default: DMO Exonerates Nigeria
The Debt Management Office (DMO) has refuted the claim by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) that Nigeria has defaulted in repaying its Chinese loans.
SERAP had in an earlier statement hailed the judgement that ordered the present regime led by President Muhammadu Buhari to account for how it spent $460 million obtained from China to fund the Abuja Closed-Circuit Television project which later was not implemented.
The NGO also quoted a report in its statement saying “Nigeria has failed to repay loans for which penalties stand at N41.31bn”.
But DMO in its refuttal said the statement is ‘false’ as Nigeria has not defaulted in its loan repayment.
It said, “Nigeria is fully committed to housing its debt obligations and has not defaulted on any of its debt service obligations”, DMO said on Monday.
SERAP had sued the Federal Government following a 2019 disclosure by the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed that “Nigeria was servicing the loan”, adding that she had “no explanations on the status of the project”.
She reportedly said, “We are servicing the loan. I have no information on the status of the CCTV project”.
Giving his judgement, Justice Nwite agreed with SERAP that “there is a reasonable cause of action against the government. Accounting for the spending of the $460 million Chinese loan is in the interest of the public. It will be inimical for the court to refuse SERAP’s application for judicial review of the government’s action”.
The presiding justice also said the Minister of Finance is in charge of the finance of the country and “cannot by any stretch of imagination be oblivious of the amount of money paid to the contractors for the Abuja CCTV contract and the money meant for the construction of the headquarters of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB)”, SERAP said.
CBN Names Four Firms To Print Cheques
Nigeria’s apex banking institution, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has named four local firms for the printing of cheques, excluding the Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company (NPSMC) PLC.
The list of the approved firms for the printing of cheques was contained in a circular issued by CBN.
The circular, which was signed by the Director of Banking Services, Sam Okojere, said the approved firms include Superflux International Limited, Tripple Gee and Company, Yaliam Press Limited, and Marvelous Mike Press.
“The re-accreditation of Cheques Printers and Cheque Personalisers is in line with the relevant qualification criteria”, CBN stated.
The circular also revealed that seven banks were approved as personalisers of cheques: they are Zenith Bank Plc, Ecobank Plc, First Bank Ltd, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, Keystone Bank Ltd, Providus Bank Ltd and Wema Bank Plc.
It further disclosed that all accredited printers and personalisers had been duly notified and certificates issued.
The Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company Plc is the sole printer of N200, N500, and N1000 new notes.
Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company Plc and Euphoria Group Limited were accredited and approved on Thursday, 04 December 2014, in a letter REF: BPS/DIR/GEN/CIR/02/033.
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