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Continued increase in air fares unacceptable – NANTA

NANTA
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The National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) on Thursday said the continued increment in the price of local and international air fares was unacceptable to Nigerians and the trade association.

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Mrs Susan Akporiaye, NANTA’s National President, during a media briefing in Lagos, urged the Federal Government to engage necessary stakeholders in the aviation industry on the development.

According to her, the increment is hostile to the survival of Nigerian aviation downstream sector.

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Akporiaye said It was disheartening that Nigerians had to buy tickets to the tune of N3million and be charged as high as N1million to change travel dates, even on tickets bought before the problem began.

“This is unacceptable, exploitative, and hostile to the survival of Nigerian aviation downstream sector.

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” We call for sanity and return to the best inventory practices and deployment.

” We urge government, as a matter of urgency, to open further windows of engagement by calling for a meeting with all parties involved,” she said.

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Akporiaye said such parties include the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Minister of Aviation, Minister of Finance, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, the International Air Transport Association and NANTA.

“We appreciate government for the release of some funds for the aviation industry and we hope this problem will be attended to promptly,” she said.

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Akporiaye said the nation was going through one of the most difficult times in its travel economy.

She said there were issues of foreign exchange scarcity, unbelievable local and international travel fare increases, visa restrictions and threats of deportation at the slightest whims of some foreign countries.

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The NANTA president said that businesses must be considered, as they were on the verge of total collapse and staff in the industry might be forced into the streets.

She advised the foreign airlines to have a rethink, knowing well that Nigeria remained a high net worth destination for them to do business.

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” We request that the foreign airlines pause and have a rethink on this that we find exploitative.

” They are advised to restore inventories across board and think of the good days when they flew in and out of Nigeria, enjoying the best patronage from us and Nigerian travelling public.”

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She said the delay in the repatriation of funds of foreign airlines in the country assumed an embarrassing scenario when IATA labeled Nigeria as a debt bearing nation.

According to her, NANTA embarked on empathy visits to all the foreign airlines to share in their pains.

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She said NANTA rubbed minds with the airlines on engaging government through the Ministry of Aviation and the Central Bank of Nigeria to readily find solutions to payment and release of the trapped funds.

She noted that in the course of these strangulating circumstances, the airlines withdrew lower inventories across board, selling at the highest possible openings as a way to cushion their funds being trapped.

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” Amidst the challenging exorbitant option for our clients and other travelling publics, not excluding the threat to job losses and closure of shops by most of our members, we held on to optimism that our government will respond.

” Just recently, the federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria released about 265 million dollars to service this trapped funds and to which IATA hailed Nigeria for taking strategic measures to end the problem.

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” Sadly, that gesture resulted to foreign airlines visiting the Nigerian travelling public with most exploitative response in the name of protecting their business.

” Their response, which we could describe as ‘High Fare Pandemic’, is solely targeted at Nigeria and Nigerians, and cannot be seen anywhere in Africa, even in countries where they also have their funds being trapped.

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” This problem must be resolved promptly,” she said. (NAN)

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Nigeria Considers China’s C919 Plane For New Airline

C919 passenger jet
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Nigeria would consider buying China’s newly-certified C919 passenger jet as it grows the country’s fledgling carrier, Nigeria Air to 30 planes by around 2025, Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika said on Saturday.

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Sirika said the new airline would have a mixture of Airbus (AIR.PA) and Boeing (BA.N) planes, but added the carrier is also willing to look at the Chinese narrowbody jet, which Chinese regulators certified on Friday.

“We haven’t looked at that C919. But if it’s as good as the others then why not,” he said on the sidelines of the United Nation’s aviation agency’s triennial assembly in Montreal, Canada.

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On Friday, China hailed the development of its first medium-haul passenger jet as the embodiment of the country’s drive towards self-sufficiency, with safety approval awarded to a plane that aims to challenge Western aircraft giants for orders.

The first C919 aircraft, designed to compete with popular single-aisle models made by Airbus and Boeing, will be delivered by the end of the year, state Xinhua News Agency said.

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It remains unclear when the plane might be certified by the United States or Europe, opening the way to sales in most foreign markets, but industry analysts say it will be up to a decade before China can seriously tackle the existing Boeing-Airbus duopoly.

“China and Nigeria (have a) very cordial and friendly relationship with mutual benefits,” Sirika said.

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For decades, China has loaned billions of dollars to Africa to build railroads, power plants and highways as it deepened ties with the continent while extracting minerals and oil.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, is the top importer of Chinese goods, hoovering up $23 billion worth in 2021.

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Nigeria’s poor transport and power networks have stymied economic growth for decades, holding back the distribution of wealth in Africa’s biggest economy where 40% of people live below the national poverty line.

However, the country is growing its aviation sector, where traffic is now above pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels, Sirika said. The airline is one of President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2015 election campaign promises. (REUTERS)

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Naira Collapses To N730/$ At Parallel Market

Naira, CBN
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The Nigerian naira has collapsed to a new record low, trading at a minimum of N730/$1 on Thursday morning at the open market, a 0.69 percent drop from the previous day.

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This is according to information from the black market operators interviewed on Thursday.

According to the traders, the fall can be attributed to the continuous scarcity of forex and increased demand in the market.

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The fall in the exchange rate is following the move by the apex bank to raise the interest rate to a 20-year high of 15.5%, representing 150 basis points increase from the 14% stated at the previous MPC meeting.

The rate at N730/$1 is the highest on record, while traders told Nairametrics Research that they sell dollars for as high as N735/$1 and buy between N725/$1 and N730/$1.

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Today marks exactly 14 months since the CBN discontinued the sale of forex to Bureau De Change operators, and the naira has been on a free fall since then, with liquidity tightening in the market.

A cursory look at the data tracked by Nairalytics, the exchange rate was trading at N518/$1 before the ban and has depreciated by a margin of N212/$1 in a little over a year.

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Similarly, at the peer-to-peer cryptocurrency exchange, the exchange rate fell to N735/$1 against the US dollar on Thursday morning from N733.4/$1 recorded in the previous session.

The exchange rate at the official Investors and Exporters window closed at N436.37/$1 on Wednesday, 28th September 2022, a slight depreciation of 0.01% as against N436.33/$1 recorded on Tuesday, 27th September 2022.

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A total of $119.49 million in FX value was traded at the official market on Wednesday, which is 20.17% higher than the $99.43 million that exchanged hands on Tuesday.

So far during the week, a total of $297.02 million has been traded at the official market, edging towards the $524.35 million that was traded in the previous week.

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The Central Bank has been able to maintain the stability of the currency in the official market by constant intervention, which has helped the country’s foreign reserves.

According to the data from the CBN, Nigeria’s foreign reserve has already lost over $2 billion year-to-date to stand at $38.36 billion, from over $40 billion recorded as of the end of last year.

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World Bank Launches Pandemic Trust Fund, Confirms Extreme Challenges In Developing Countries

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The World Bank Group has launched a new trust fund for Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness, and Response (PPR).

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The President, David Malpass said the United States-backed support will assess and strengthen health preparedness throughout the developing world.

The economic expert delivered a speech on Thursday at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) ahead of the 2022 WBG-IMF Annual Meetings.

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Noting that a tough reality confronts the global economy, Malpass said a series of harsh events and unprecedented macroeconomic policies are throwing development into crisis.

The chief assured of World Bank’s commitment to alleviate poverty and boost shared prosperity, announcing that support for developing countries, especially for climate-related finance, reached $31.7billion in 2022.

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He hinted that the Group’s upcoming Poverty and Shared Prosperity report suggests that the deterioration in development progress began well ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Malpass noted that developing countries were facing an extremely challenging near-term outlook due to the shocks in recent years.

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The factors include higher food, fertilizer and energy prices, rising interest rates and credit spreads, currency depreciation, and capital outflows.

Malpass said global energy production may take years to diversify away from Russia, prolonging the stagflation highlighted in the World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects.

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“Many developing countries are also struggling in governance and rule of law; debt sustainability; climate adaptation and mitigation; and limited fiscal budgets to counteract the severe reversals in development from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic – which alone led to over six million deaths – geopolitical conflicts, and extreme weather events have hurt countries and people worldwide, with the poor bearing the brunt, especially women and girls.”

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“Developing countries are being hit by more severe climate-related disasters. Man-made greenhouse gas emissions are causing climate change, which in turn is having tragic impacts on development.”

“Adaptation by countries and people harmed by climate change and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions are urgently needed,” the President added.

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Stressing that the urgency is clear in daily news reports of inflation, climate change, famine, civil protests, and violence, Malpass said the World Bank is fully engaged in the challenges and eager to work on solutions.

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