Posts tagged as: nigeria

Nigeria: Govt Resorting to Tax Relief to Fund Road Construction – Fashola

By Chineme Okafor and Nnenna Akuma

Abuja — Following its claims of huge reduction in its revenues from the oil industry, and the resultant paucity of funds to conveniently carry on with its infrastructure development plans, the federal government tuesday said it would now begin to look towards tax recovery funding schemes to build and reconstruct roads in the country.

The Minister of Power, Works, and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, disclosed this during a progress report meeting in Abuja with contractors handling major road projects for the government.

Fashola said the government would as a new push to revive Nigeria’s infrastructure, offer companies operating within tax reliefs to allow them undertake key road projects in the country.

He explained that companies with the capacity and willingness to reconstruct existing or build new roads in the country would be encouraged by the government to go ahead, and subsequently claim tax relief as recompense for their investments.

Fashola also disclosed that the N100 billion Sukuk bond which the government recently launched would be channeled to fund works on 25 major road networks which fall within the A1 to A4 arteries.

By definition, a sovereign Sukuk is an ethical-based investment in which rent is based on the investment bi-annually and the principal sum paid at the end of a tenor.

However, in his response to a question on details of the government’s recent agreement with Dangote Group for the rehabilitation of the Oshodi to Toll Gate highway in Lagos, Fashola said shortly after presentations from the contractors: “Our discussions with the Dangote, yes, we have an offer now beyond what they have done as voluntary which is two kilometres of the Wharf Road, it is an offer to take up the entire length from Creek Road, Liverpool Road, through Apapa, Tin Can, Oshodi, Mile 2, all the way to the Toll Gate.

“This is going to be done under a tax recovery order that exists under the Companies Income Tax (CIT) Act. It is not something that is new, but it is something we are going to use more of. Another company Lafarge, is also using that in Cross River State to build a road.”

The minister explained that the government was well at home with using tax reliefs to get companies to rebuild the country’s road infrastructure, saying: “We welcome other like minded individuals and companies who have that kind of money to intervene in certain roads, and claim tax relief back.”

“What it really means technically is that government is spending in advance the taxes that it should collect to quickly respond to places where there is pain because some of these companies, if they make profit should pay tax at the end but the government is saying if they spend some of the tax on public infrastructure, they will get some relief. We commend and welcome this initiative.

“That is the long term solution to the lock down in Apapa. There will be some discomfort, but as we begin work on that area, people should expect some relief,” he added.

On the Sukuk bond, Fashola equally stated: “Sukuk is coming and if it is fully utilised, at least 25 major roads will have some interventions. The truth is that this country is now earning less from what it earned some four years ago, the major revenue source is oil, we are just diversifying to earn money from other sources like agriculture but we are trying to do the best we can with the limited resources that we have.

“The Sukuk addresses in part our strategy for providing finance. This is the first ever Sukuk that the federal government is issuing. All we are targeting is to see if we can raise N100 billion, that won’t cover all of Nigeria’s roads but we can target certain roads and if you look at the 25 roads, they are the integral part of the A1 to A4 roads – Lagos to Sokoto highway, Warri to Katsina, Port Harcourt to Potiskum, and Calabar to Maiduguri-they all originate from our ports and end at the boundaries.”

The minister noted that the government was also undertaking repair works on 41 roads across the country that had gone bad from the heavy rains and other weather related issues.

He said the meeting was to keep in touch with contractors on the progress of their jobs, especially with considerations to the next couple of months when most of the roads in the southern parts of the country would be heavily engaged.

“We are looking at a 10-week window starting from around the end of September to the middle of December when your workers would go on annual leave and what kind of contingency arrangements you would be making so that the operational staff will be on ground to deal with emergencies.

“In addition to the major construction works that are going on, we also have rehabilitation works using specific contractors to improve motorability, and we have been working on 41 roads across the country covering each zones and trying to make remediation to them as a result of what has happened during the rainy season. We are getting ready to conclude procurement on that,” Fashola stated.

Similarly, he asked shipping firms in the country whose operations at the Lagos Port could be disadvantaged by the repair works on the road leading into the port to consider using other ports in the country.

According to him, “This morning, I read that the Association of Licenced Custom Agents is complaining about the Lagos Port, we hear you loud and clear, we have responded and started work but bear with us because the construction will cause some discomfort but we will have a better experience by this time next year when we finish what we are doing.

“But what we can also do is to for now move our cargoes through other ports because if cargoes are not destined for Lagos, and are headed up north or to the east, then the Warri and Onne ports are there. The Calabar Port is also there so the inconvenience will be reduced.

“We have all of these assets, let’s also be flexible about using them. I have spoken to the MD of NPA about this. We appeal to shippers to also bear in mind that we are constructing in built up areas, and so their flexibility will help us improve service delivery.”

Tekno and Eazi Show Didn’t Live Up to Hype

By Andrew Kaggwa

The Tekno Miles and Mr Eazi concert that took place at Lugogo Cricket Oval on Friday was one of the most anticipated concerts this year.

From the way it was initially launched to the final press conference, the organisers, Talent Africa, alongside their sponsors, Bell Lager, promised heaven in a concert.

And you couldn’t blame them. Tekno, born Augustine Miles Kelechi, is one of the most exciting artistes from Nigeria at the moment, receiving a wide rotation of at least one of every twenty songs played off channels like MTV Base, Trace TV, Hip TV, Sound City and Afro Music, among others.

Since the release of his debut single, Holiday, in 2013, Tekno has slowly been a rising star in Nigeria. But for the rest of Africa, many started following the skinny artiste after the release of songs like Duro, Pana and Diana, among others.

Oluwatosin Oluwole Ajibade alias Mr Eazi, on the other hand, is a Ghana-based Nigerian artiste who pioneered Banku music, a fusion sound of Ghanaian bounces, highlife and Nigerian chord progression and patterns.

Much as he too has been around since 2013, it’s only after the release of his Skin Tight that he received international acclaim, later signing on with Wizkid’s Starboy Entertainment.

The two artistes have taken Africa by storm in the past year and to imagine a cocktail of them both was expected to be nothing less than the party of the year.

Much as the audience was cheering the list of curtain raiser acts that included Ykee Benda and Cindy, the energy was set to die with the appearance of the night’s hosts, Mc Kats and Anita Fabiola, who were not cut for the job.

Fabiola lacked the mettle to excite the crowd. She struggled to keep up with Mc Kats and it only got worse when he left her to do the rest of the job by herself.

You can imagine the looks on the producers’ faces after she announced Bebe Cool as the next performer yet he had been lined up as a surprise act!

Silk Events’ sound system couldn’t save the day, either. After being tremendous for half of the show, things just got messed up with some of the speakers going off during Mr Eazi’s performance and barely recovering.

With songs like Skin Tight, Dance For Me and Leg Over, he and the band got the audience dancing, but in bits. Being a new artiste on the scene, he lacked a catalogue to keep such an audience entertained all through.

Tekno, on the other hand, having had a slew of club bangers like Pana, Go, Diana and Yawa, could have owned the night.

Coming from a bad performance in Kenya just a week back, the artiste could have managed to get East Africa trust him even more, thanks to his stage presence.

However, performance lacked the feel. It’s like he was there just to finish the job and leave, as he kept signaling his DJ and band, ‘next song’ even before the crowd screams were down. The show ended a few minutes to midnight with Fabiola letting the crowd down once more – intentionally.

“Do you still need more of Tekno? I am sorry that can’t happen!”

Nigeria: 90% Deaths in Hospitals Caused By Health Workers’ Attitude – Teaching Hospital Chief

Photo: Muthoni Njoki/Capital FM

Over 90 per cent of deaths recorded in Nigerian hospitals are due to poor attitude of health workers.

Thomas Agan, the Chief Medical Director (CMD), University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH), said this during an interaction with journalists on Tuesday in Calabar.

He said some health workers were not taking the lives of patients seriously, in spite of their professional training and work ethics.

“Over 90 per cent of deaths in our hospitals are due to our attitude,” Mr. Agan, who doubles as the Chairman, Committee of Chief Medical Directors of Federal Tertiary Hospitals in Nigeria, said.

“Until the healthcare givers in our hospitals begin to realise that the health of the patient he/she is handling could be his own, his wife or siblings and all that, things will not go well.

“Until we realise that we would be held accountable to every challenge we create, things will not go down well,” he said.

While decrying the frequent crises in the health sector, the CMD said that the health sector was supposed to be a place of succour, not only to the rich, but to ordinary Nigerians.

He attributed incessant strikes in the health sector to disagreements and professional rivalry among the various unions, adding that at the end, it is the Nigerian people that are suffering and dying.

“It is unfortunate that the health sector has been characterised with strike actions over the years. For me, welfare issues are necessary in life, but incessant welfare requests from the healthcare providers tend to undermine the sector itself.

“I feel really pained that the situation has not been adequately taken care of by both staff and the government. And each time any union declares industrial dispute, you cannot quantify the number of people that usually lost their lives.

“Our oath, for instance, says we should preserve life from conception to death. This means that the life that is entrusted into your hands must be preserved.

“I am happy that the strike by resident doctors has been suspended. I have never believed in using strike to solve problems and I will never subscribe to strike in its entirety,” Mr. Agan said.

Nigeria

IMF Puts Global Cost of Bribery At U.S.$2 Trillion Annually

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has estimated that the annual cost of bribery — just one sub-set of corruption –… Read more »

Nigeria: TCN Appoints Focal Persons to Interface With the DISCOs

In an effort to resolve and minimize technical challenges, expand the load and promptly attend to Distribution interface issues, the Management of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), has appointed Focal Person tointerface with DisCos in order to ensure that the DisCos take more power to the consumers.The Focal Persons were inaugurated recently at the TCN Corporate Headquarters, Abuja.

In a statement signed by the General Manager (Public Affairs), Ndidi Mbah, TCN noted that management decided to appoint interfaceFocal Persons in order to upscale power delivery to distribution load centers nationwide.

The appointeesinclude; Engr. L. C. Okalla, AGM (T), Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), Engr. Jude Agupusi, AGM (SO), Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHEDC), Engr. A. O. Balogun AGM (T), Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBDC), Engr. C. Iwuamadi, AGM (T) and Engr. S. O. Omoragbon, AGM (SO) for Eko and Ikeja Distribution companies respectively.

Others are, Engr. Balarabe Abdullahi, AGM (SO), Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDC), Engr. M. S. Nuhu, PM (T), Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company (KEDC), Engr. A. O. Labaran AGM (SO), Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) and Engr. M. I. Tijani AGM (SO), Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC), while Engr. M. D. Ahmed, PM (T) Jos Sub Region and Engr. Tijani Ahmadu PM (T), Jos and Yola Electricity Distribution companies respectively.

According to the statement, the Terms of Reference, for the Focal Persons are to liaise with DisCos daily as representatives of TCN on all DisCos/TCN interface issues, resolve the issues as soon as they occur.

The statement further emphasized TCN’s commitment towards improving her wheeling capacity and at the same time maintaining cordial relationship with all the stakeholders in assuring that Nigerians enjoy a more stable electricity supply.

The meeting was attended by Executive Management, Regional General Managers, Regional Operations Managers and other key staff of TCN.

Nigeria

18 Terrorists Killed As Troops Repel Boko Haram Attack in Sambisa Forest

Troops of 26 and 28 Task Force Brigades repelled an early morning daring attack by fleeing Boko Haram terrorists on… Read more »

Nigeria: Road Construction – Stakeholders Brainstorm On Economics of Innovative Solutions

Against the background of the need for adequate road infrastructure which is central to Nigeria’s economic growth and core of good governance and public welfare, stakeholders in the nation’s construction industry, weekend, gathered at the Road Construction Summit 2017, put together by cement giant, Lafarge Africa Plc, in partnership with BusinessDay newspaper to find practical and innovative solutions to construction of roads in the country.

The theme of the one-day summit which held in Lagos was “The Economics of Innovative Solutions to Road Construction in Nigeria”.

In his presentation, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola who was the guest speaker, noted that Lafarge Africa Plc has sent a clear message by its innovative strides arising from research as presented by its engineers at the summit that the company wants to go far in terms of infrastructure development, pointing out that it is time for the federal government to raise its game as regards infrastructure development using innovative solutions such as concrete.

Fashola who disclosed that with respect to construction and related activities, GDP in the sector had been negative since Q2 2015, but turned positive for the first time in Q1 2017, growing by 0.15 per cent and continued to positive growth into Q2 2017 by 0.13 per cent, said the reversal in construction has to do with civil works especially due to federal government’s capital expenditure.

He stated “Clearly what has worked well in other parts of the world can work well in Nigeria. Infrastructure expenditure drives the real economy, stimulates production and industrial activities which employ people and includes them. This is the economics of road construction. If proof of this is required, I will share some more data.

Economic recovery

“During the implementation of the 2016 budget we paid 103 construction companies executing 192 projects which employed 17,749 people directly and 52,000 people indirectly. What this means is that the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan is working. This much the president of the Manufacturers Association attested to when he asserted that this was a plan that had their members input.

“So, the growth and exit from recession means that hope has been restored, and if we persevere and persist, the number of people who recovered lost jobs and those who will find new jobs, will gradually increase. The process to continue this has commenced with the provision of funding under the 2017 budget in the sum of N90 billion.

“Of this, N47.169Billion has been paid to 62 contractors working on 149 projects to continue works on roads and bridges and keep people at work and sustain production in works. Similar payments are being made to supervising consultants and to contractors in Housing and Power Sectors of the Ministry. With this background, I now go to the innovative side of road construction and economics, and what this government is doing. We inherited a tax incentive policy for individuals to benefit from tax remission, to recover investment made in public infrastructure like roads, which other members of the public can utilize.

“I am pleased to inform you that we have just concluded an agreement using the tax incentive order to hand over the Apapa area comprising Creek Road, Liverpool Road, Marine Beach to Mile 2, Oshodi, Oworonshoki to the Lagos end of the Toll Gate on the Ibadan Expressway to Dangote Group for construction using concrete.

“As for the agreement with Dangote, we are now awaiting the Design of the 35 km stretch excluding the portion that has been completed, about 7 km, by the previous administration around Mile 2 area. From the design, we will determine the cost and the scope of works which we hope can be executed quickly. As this Government promised, we will solve the Apapa and Port congestion problem.

“I can only tell you that the solution is now on the way. Can any well-meaning and right thinking person argue that these are not innovative; or that they will not help road construction? If you remember, the numbers I have shared earlier about jobs created, and demand for petroleum products and mining products given only by using government funding under the 2016 budget, you will see the possibilities that lie ahead and improving those numbers when private capital comes into road construction under the tax relief order as proposed to be amended to complement government’s spending.”

Speaking earlier, Chairman, Lafarge Africa Plc, Mr. Mobolaji Balogun pointed out that importance of good and sustainable roads anywhere in the world cannot be over emphasiesed, adding that strong economic growth of any nation depends on sustainable infrastructure.

Balogun who said roads are the core of infrastructure provision in the country, noted that this was what informed the partnership between Lafarge and BusinessDay to organise the summit, adding that the government alone cannot do it.

In his remarks, Managing Director, Lafarge Africa Plc, Mr. Michel Puchercos, said road network in Nigeria is the largest in West Africa, pointing that road infrastructure in Nigeria as it stands today, cannot meet the demand of the people, hence the need to strategise on the sustainable way to meet the demand.

Puchercos said the burden of road construction is too much for the government alone to shoulder, adding that bearing this in mind, informed his company’s decision to partners BusinessDay to hold the summit. He said his company is willing to partner the government on infrastructure provision, as the company has capability to handle road projects with its concrete solution to road construction.

Namibia: E-Waste a Nuisance in Africa – Environmental Expert

By Albertina Nakale

Pretoria — An environmental expert says electronic waste has become a nuisance in Africa, and points at the overwhelming number of second-hand and refurbished electronic products dumped in African markets as a reason for concern.

It is estimated that in Namibia the Windhoek area alone produces approximately 300 tons of electronic waste every year, while the national electronic waste amounts to between 1,500 and 2,000 tons per annum. Electronic waste, or e-waste, is described as discarded electrical or electronic devices.

The environmental expert James Mulolo, who is the Africa Institute project coordinator, spoke to New Era on the sidelines of a workshop on improving chemicals management in English-speaking African countries last Friday in Pretoria, South Africa.

According to United Nations statistics, the global community produces a total of 50 million tons of electronic and electrical waste every year – if filled into trucks it would reach halfway around the globe.

Africa Institute is an environmentally sound management organization dealing with hazardous wastes and development of national plans or policy on various hazardous waste streams, including the disposal and storage of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) waste.

It aims to strengthen the capacity of its members in implementing the conventions on chemicals as waste clusters by mobilising different academic and research institutions located in member states.

Countries served are Angola, Botswana, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

“E-waste is a challenge. There are new phones every year and you must get rid of them but you don’t know how to get rid of them. There are various precious metals in the phones that people who want to do smelting would want to extract – gold, palladium and all these rare metals. So, what they do is burn these products and in the process, they produce dangerous fumes called dioxanes. And this is where the problem is,” Mulolo said.

Many countries still handle broken electronic equipment as waste only, while others process it to the benefit of the environment and economy, proactively managing its volumes of e-waste.

He said since e-waste is a challenge, African countries should think of re-cycling such waste. He suggests that countries could restrict the importation of second-hand electronic equipment by specifying that products that are, for instance, five years old and above will not be allowed into the country.

This, he says, will help avoid electronic products being dumped on the continent that will only work for a short time and then be discarded into the environment.

Another intervention he mentioned is that manufacturers or companies selling these products could be encouraged to have a take-back policy whereby people return unwanted products to avoid dumping once they no longer need them.

“If you have a laptop or a phone and you want a new one, then you take back and get a discount when you buy a new one. That way you encourage consumers and those things can be given to re-cycling companies that can make money out of them. Those are some of the ideas that are available on the market. These things are done in Europe and several other African countries and they are working.”

Mulolo said caring for the environment is about things that don’t get headlines in the media, of course unless it’s a disaster.

Therefore, he called on the media to continue voicing their concerns regarding the environment.

Transworld Cargo, a Namibian company, has decided to complement its expertise and logistical facilities by introducing e-waste recycling in Namibia.

Nigeria: 48 Persons Die of Cholera in Borno – MSF

A humanitarian medical organisation, Medecins Sans Frontieres, MSF, said about 48 persons have died of cholera since the outbreak of the disease last month in Borno State.

The organisation otherwise called Doctors without Borders, said that 2,627 cases of the disease were recorded by the state ministry of health.

Anna Cilliers, MSF’s Medical Coordinator said that the organisation had scaled up its campaign to contain the cholera outbreak in Maiduguri, Monguno and Dikwa local government areas of the state.

“As new cases of cholera emerged from Monguno, Dikwa and other parts of Maiduguri, MSF continues to scale up its response in the state. Since the start of the outbreak, a total of 2, 627 cholera cases and 48 deaths were reported by the Borno State Ministry of Health. The state capital Maiduguri alone has witnessed 1,425 cases, while 600 cases in Dikwa and 602 cases in Monguno have so far been reported.

“Early diagnosis and treatment is vital to tackle cholera outbreak. As cases of the disease increased in Maiduguri, we rapidly set up a 100-bed capacity Cholera Treatment Centre (CTU) at Dala area of Maiduguri”.

Ms. Cilliers disclosed in a statement that since August 16, some 491 patients were admitted and 475 discharged at the centre.

She added that the organisation had also set up another 50-bed capacity CTU centre at the Muna Garage Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in the outskirts of Maiduguri, adding that the centre would be upgraded to 100-bed capacity in the coming days, if the conditions warranted it.

The medical coordinator lamented that the disease has begun to spread to other camps in the surrounding area and into the city.

To contain the situation, MS. Cilliers said, MSF operated an Oral Rehydration Point (ORT), where patients could access sugar and salt solution to help them to overcome severe dehydration.

“Patients arriving here in critical condition are taken directly in our ambulances to the cholera treatment centres”.

The statement also quoted Felix Kouassi, another MSF Medical Coordinator, as saying that a 110-bed capacity treatment centre was established at Monguno to combat the disease.

Mr. Kouassi noted that patients with suspected cholera cases were isolated to curtail spread of the disease.

“We are worried that the number of beds currently planned may not be enough as cases continue to rise in the town.”

According to him, the organisation was working closely in coordination with state ministry of health, World Health Organisation (WHO) and other humanitarian organisations on prevention and treatment of cholera, as well as providing training to health workers.

“Our facilities operate 24 hours basis providing free services. People with symptoms of cholera, acute diarrhoea, loose stools and dehydration should seek treatment immediately.

“We remain alert and through our community health workers continue to monitor spread of the outbreak and ensure rapid respond,” he added.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the state government has commenced a five-day cholera immunisation campaign in the affected communities.

About 900, 000 persons were targeted for vaccination against the disease in the exercise while community sensitisation on environment, sanitation and hygiene has also been conducted to control the disease.

(NAN)

Nigeria: NCAA Grants FAAN Aerodrome Certification

By Anthony Awunor

Lagos — The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) yesterday confirmed the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) as the certified aerodrome operator for the provision of required airport services, facilities, systems and equipment at Murtala Mohammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, in line with international standards and recommended practices.

The certificate which was presented to the managing director/CEO of FAAN, Engr. Saleh Dunoma by the director general of NCAA, Captain Muhtar Usman at the NCAA headquarters in Lagos Monday attracted the presence of aviation stakeholders including agencies, directors, General Managers of aviation parastatals, management of MMA2, media amongst others.

Speaking during his opening remarks, Capt. Usman said that the current drive towards the certification of Nigerian airports is very significant not only as a requirement by International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and NCAA regulations, but even more importantly as one of the critical safety targets set by the Abuja Ministerial Declaration of July 2012, that mandated all African states to certify their international airports.”

Confirming that the Lagos airport has been very safe, the DG stated that, it is has been endorsed for Boeing 747 jumbo 400 and that the airport has category 9 firefighting for day and night operations.

“Our airports have been very safe because we take in domestic and international operations day and night. It has category 9 firefighting facility. The certificate issued today being 18th September 2017 will expire three years from now”, he said.

Usman who said that certification is an enabler for the attainment of a regional hub which Nigeria desires for Lagos and Abuja added that one of the objectives of ICAO Aerodrome Certification Programme is to assist States to effectively implement the critical elements of a safety oversight system in accordance with Annex 14 Vo. 1, and other relevant ICAO specifications.

Other benefits, according to Usman are “to signify to aircraft operators and other organisations operating at the aerodrome that, at the time of certification, the aerodrome meets the specifications regarding its facilities and operations, and that it has, according to the certifying authority, the capability to maintain these specifications for the period of validity of the certificate. The certification process also establishes the baseline for continued monitoring of compliance with the specifications”.

Advising stakeholders, Capt Usman warned that while Nigeria is still basking in the euphoria of the issuance of the first aerodrome certificate, we should not lose sight of the additional responsibilities that past certification bestows on the Regulatory Authority as well as Certified Aerodrome Operator for sustenance of the certification achieved.

On their part, Usman said that NCAA is required to immediately commence the implementation of a post certification surveillance plan for the continuous monitoring of airport services, facilities, procedures and manpower levels to ensure that the acceptable level of safety is not infringed on.

Another task NCAA owes the industry is to ensure compliance with ICAO and national regulations at all times in her safety oversight responsibilities just as it is expected to impose sanction where necessary or suspend certificate to enforce compliance with standards.

FAAN according to Usman has the utmost responsibility of operating the MMA in accordance with ICAO standards and Recommended Practices, and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations, as well as any special conditions on which the certificate is issued.

“FAAN is also required to promptly notify the NCAA of any changes in aerodrome services, facilities, procedures or staffing levels that can affect the certification of the aerodrome. Likewise, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency is required by Para 2.13.1 of Amendment 35 to ICAO Annex 15, to publish in the Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP) the certification status of all Nigerian aerodromes, showing: aerodrome name and ICAO location indicator; date and if applicable, validity of certification; remarks , if any”.

Promising that the certification of Abuja airport is in the final stage, Usman affirmed that NCAA is committed to the certification of all Nigerian International airports in line with national Regulations, ICAO SARPs, as well as the AFI Regional Safety Targets.

In his briefs on Aerodrome Certification of MMA, director, Aerodrome and Airspace Standards (DAAS), Mohammed Odunowo said the first attempt to get Aerodrome Certification of MMA started in 2006, stressing that despite concerted efforts made by FAAN, the certification could not be achieved.

According to Odunowo, the expected benefits of aerodrome certification include: enhancement in the provision of safety critical aerodrome facilities, services, procedures and personnel; enhancement in Collaborative Decision Making amongst airport stakeholders, especially between the Aerodrome Operator and the Civil Aviation Authority; enhancement in safety and efficiency of flight operations as a result of improved facilities and services; facilitatation of the development of regional hubs through improved capacity, safety and efficiency and Attract the inflow of capital investment into airport development and management e.g. concessioning, etc.

“While we celebrate the successful completion of the certification of Murtala Muhammed Airport, we should however not lose sight of the fact that Abuja, Kano, Port Harcourt, Enugu and Kaduna airports are also awaiting certification. Consequently, we wish to urge all concerned, to intensify efforts towards the timely certification these outstanding international airports”, Odunowo said.

The DAAS said that the certification of MMA is premised on some special conditions that the aerodrome authority is required to address within the acceptable timeframe as provided in the agreed corrective action plan.

He equally pointed out that the sustenance of aerodrome certification is dependent on the availability of a post certification Surveillance, Compliance and Enforcement Plan.

“NCAA has developed a comprehensive surveillance plan for continuous monitoring of the agreed level of safety performance in aerodrome facilities, services or procedures, as well as compliance and enforcement measures, when necessary”, he added.

Advising government, the DAAS pointed out that the certification of aerodromes as well as the sustenance of such certification requires continuous funding, just as he solicited for the cooperation and support of the management of NCAA and FAAN in not only sustaining the certification of Lagos, but also the certification of outstanding international airports.

In his response, managing director of FAAN, Engr. Saleh Dunoma expressed his happiness saying “I am so happy and humbled that I don’t know what to say. Those of us that know the history of certification of airport in Nigeria will agree with me that it has always been like “starting and abandoning; starting and abandoning”. The greatest beneficiaries are the airlines operators. I want to assure that it is a long process. We have been on it for the last two and half years. A lot of resources have been put in it. We want to make sure that the certification is sustained. We have to come out with a system that will work. We assure the DG that we will sustain it”.

Thanking ICAO, NCAA, ACI and airline operators, Engr. Dunoma assured that FAAN focused on MMA first, being the busiest airport. On Abuja airport, he said a lot has been done to certify the airport, adding that the remaining items to be closed on Abuja will be done in a short period of time.

Nigeria: CBN Gives Banks Four-Week Ultimatum to Open Fx Teller Points

By Obinna Chima

Piqued by the failure of the banks to comply with an earlier directive asking them to open teller points for retail foreign exchange (FX) transactions at various locations, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued a four-week deadline for them to comply or face stiff sanctions.

Banks that fail to comply with the directive before October 13, would among other severe sanctions be barred from all future CBN FX interventions.

The central bank stated this in a circular signed by its Director, Banking Supervision Department, Ahmad Abdullahi, a copy of which was obtained by THISDAY yesterday.

In a bid to ensure that FX was easily accessibly by travellers, the central bank had directed all banks to open FX outlets to sell dollars and other hard currencies at major airports.

The CBN had explained that the initiative would also ensure that transactions were settled at much more competitive exchange rates.

However, the circular revealed that most banks were in breach of the directive.

It said: “The attention of all banks is drawn to the CBN Circular dated March 3, 2017 with reference number: FMD/DIR/CIR/GEN/08/006 wherein all authorised FX dealers were directed to, among others:

“Open a teller point for retail FX transactions (PTA/BTA and SME) including buying and selling, in all locations in order to ensure access to foreign exchange by their customers and other users, without any hindrance,” it read.

In addition, the banks were expected to have an electronic display board at all their branches, showing rates of all trading currencies, and customers must insist on processing FX transactions (for all the above windows) based on a display rate.

Continuing, the circular added: “The objective is to create awareness among members of the public regarding the availability of such facilities in branches of the banks at clearly disclosed prices.

“Unfortunately, our observation has been that most Deposit Money Banks are in breach of the above directives.

“You are, therefore, given a period of four weeks up to October 13 to fully comply with the above directives or face stiff regulatory sanctions, including but not limited to being barred from all future CBN foreign exchange interventions.”

Since February, the CBN has sustained its intervention in the interbank FX market, which has helped in eliminating currency speculators and pushed FX demand away from the parallel market.

CBN spokesman, Mr. Isaac Okoroafor recently said the CBN had taken measures to check the activities of speculators and shield the currency from attacks, while also maintaining the value of the naira.

Okorafor maintained that authorised dealers have enough funds to meet the FX needs of customers and urged all to adhere to the extant guidelines on the sale of FX in the market.

He advised those in genuine need of FX to continue to approach their respective banks for purchase, adding that the CBN remained optimistic that the Nigerian currency will fare strongly against other convertible currencies.

In this regard, the CBN yesterday sustained its interventions in various segments of the interbank FX market with the injection of $545 million, the largest weekly injection by the central bank in recent weeks.

Giving a breakdown of the Bank’s latest intervention, Okorafor said the retail Secondary Market Intervention Sales (SMIS) got the largest intervention of $285 million.

Other components of the released figures included $100 million offered for Wholesale SMIS, $90 million for the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) window and $70 million for invisibles such as basic travel allowances, tuition fees and medical payments.

According to Okorafor, yesterday’s intervention underscored the CBN’s avowed commitment to ensure a liquid interbank FX market where all genuine requests will be met in line with extant FX guidelines.

He expressed optimism that with the accretion in the nation’s foreign reserve, the Bank would continue to fulfil its mandate of safeguarding the international value of the naira.

He further disclosed that the Bank’s management also remained optimistic about achieving a convergence between the forex rates at both the inter-bank and BDC segments of the market.

Nigeria: Niger Boat Mishap – 12 Bodies Recovered, Buried

By Laleye Dipo

Minna — Twelve bodies of the victims of last Sunday’s boat mishap have been recovered from the River Kaduna in Munya Local Government Area of Niger State.

While 10 of the victims were women, the other two were a male adult and an eight-year-old boy.

The 12th body was yet to be identified as at press time.

It was gathered yesterday night that the bodies were recovered by the combined efforts of men of the marine police at Shiroro dam and some local divers in the areas.

The bodies were buried at the river bank in Kuduru, according to tradition and culture in the area.

Nine of the victims believed to be Christians were buried separately near each other while the three Muslims were also buried separately.

The Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, was represented at the burial by his Chief of Staff, Alhaji Mikhail Emitosahi, who described the incident as unfortunate and urged the people to see it as an act of God.

Nigeria

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