FAAN Moves to Make Nigeria Major Player in Cargo Freighting - THISDAY
BY Chinedu Eze
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has put measures in place to make Nigeria a major player in cargo freighting, create more jobs for Nigerians in the sub-sector and boost its revenue from cargo imports and exports.
Nigeria's economy is described as import oriented because with over 200 million population, the country depends more on imported goods than products manufactured locally and that means huge demand in forex for imports, but ironically international carriers and others benefit more from goods import into the country than Nigerians.
Nigeria also has so much to export and earn revenue but these potential exports have remained unexploited and there are so many barriers put on the way to fully take advantage of the benefits in export and import of cargo through the nation's airports.
This unfavourable scenario is what FAAN has moved to correct by ensuring that Nigeria maximally benefits from cargo freighting and to also boost Nigeria's export and galvanise the opportunities offered by the sub-sector.
This was the reason the Managing Director and Chief Executive of FAAN, Captain Rabiu Hamisu Yadudu, on December 4, 2022 inaugurated Aviation Cargo Road Map Development Committee to drive the agency's objectives towards the development of the sub-sector.
Yadudu explained that the decision to set up the Committee was prompted by FAAN management to address the challenges identified to be hindering the agency's capacity in processing enough cargo freighting at the nation's airports.
Before inaugurating the committee late last year, he observed that the challenges facing cargo freighting in Nigeria "were articulated in the Communique issued at the end of the first Aviation and Cargo Conference in 2021, codenamed "CHINET '21 and reechoed in CHINET 2022."
"I am happy today, because these challenges were identified by the various organisations represented in this Committee, I am about to inaugurate. My happiness is doubled or even tripled because looking at the array of names that constitute the membership of this Committee, I have no doubt, we made the right choices," he said.
Yadudu expressed hope that the committee would drive the development of implementable Aviation Cargo Road Map that would address the identified challenges with a view to moving the cargo business from the current level to a desired sustainable level in the short to long-term.
The FAAN boss expressed the desire that the Road Map address the ways by which Nigeria's aviation cargo processing and facilitation would increase in volumes to rank the country among the first or at least the second in Africa before or by the year 2027.
"Currently, we are in the fifth position in Africa, having facilitated only 204, 649 tons of cargo in 2021. The first airport facilitated only 363,204 tons in the same year. And in domestic cargo we facilitated only 8,895 tons in 2021.
"By our projections of 25 per cent on year-on year incremental basis, we expect to be ranked first or second in Africa by or before the year 2027. With you, certainly, we can achieve this," he said.
Yadudu disclosed that most administrative bottlenecks to cargo freighting advancement identified by the various organisations in the sub-sector were being considered at the ministerial level.
"I can assure you that administrative challenges already identified will be rectified for more efficiency in our operations and logistics," he assured.
He gave the terms of reference for the actualisation of the Road Map to include: to articulate action plans that meet international best practices and assign timelines for facilitation of cargo processing at our airports and to articulate guidelines that meet international best practice for Public-Private Partnership in developing modern cargo infrastructures and facilities for optimum air-cargo facilitation that meets destination country's standard.
Yadudu also wanted the committee to articulate programmes and incentives that will encourage mass participation of local airlines in domestic cargo facilitation; to articulate mechanisms that would bridge the turn-around time in cargo facilitation; to articulate solutions to lack of adequate insurance coverage in the cargo value chain and to proffer any other suggestions that might help to achieve the desired goal in cargo business at the nation's airports.
Yadudu who expected the committee to present its report within the first quarter of 2023, appointed Ambassador Ikechi Uko as the coordinator.
Currently cargo freighting in Nigeria is dominated by international carriers that feed the cargo in the belly of their passenger aircraft or airlifted by cargo freighters, but Nigeria is yet to take advantage of its potential to export many products from the country, from farm produce to so many others that are demanded by Nigerians in Diaspora and others.
So there are many challenges the Committee must find their answers in the short time given to it to deliver. These include what Nigeria produces for export.
Other questions include what are the existing markets for Nigerian products? What are the challenges with production? Why do Nigeria exports not meet destination requirements? How can Nigeria increase production? What is the possibility of transforming Nigeria's raw materials currently being exported?
THISDAY investigations reveal that one of the major challenges facing air freighting of goods is extortion. Officials of government agencies like Quarantine, NAFDAC, Nigerian Immigration Service, Customs and others constitute obstacles to easy movement of goods to the underbelly of the aircraft that airlift them to various destinations. Using government bureaucracy and laws, these officials rigidly insist on certain conditions that must be met before they would allow these goods to be exported; but when bribed, they relax all the rules.
Experts said many goods were freighted from Nigeria's airports that were not documented and that Nigeria as a country, exports more goods than the records show. So if Nigeria is determined to boost non-oil exports to earn foreign exchange and meet international obligatory payments, it has to change its attitude towards exports because currently its approach to export is wrong. These are part of the enormous challenges before the committee, which it must find solutions to.
Experts also said what happened in the farms, logistics chains, airport and seaports, was far from what is expected, which the committee must address.
Nigeria’s aviation sector underperformed since 2015 –ASRTI - THE SUN
By Chinelo Obogo
Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI), an apolitical think-tank, has said that using President Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign promises as key performance indicators (KPI), the industry underperformed between 2015-2023. President of the ASRTI, Dr. Gabriel Olowo, in his opening address at the Business Breakfast Meeting which held on Thursday at Ikeja with theme: “Aviation in Nigeria beyond the 2023 General Elections, Challenges and Prospects”, said the future of the Nigerian aviation industry largely depends on how the country deals with the numerous challenges currently impeding its development.
The group which gave an appraisal of the aviation sector in the first quarter of 2022, evaluated the response rate to the topical issues treated in its past meetings from 2015 and the score sheet showed that only six percent of its recommendations were implemented, while 42 percent are a work in progress and 52 percent remained unscratched in eight years.
Among the pending issues, Olowo said the failure to establish some aviation agency boards as stated in the Civil Aviation Authority Act (CAA), violates Section 29: 1 of the Act as contained in Section 11:1 of the 1999 Constitution.
He also queried issues of avoidable negligence in the industry including but not limited to who takes responsibility for the financial losses airlines and service providers incurred during the recent strike that disrupted business activities at the airport? He said questions calling for answers amidst the avoidable negligence includes: “Who takes the responsibility for the financial loses airlines and service providers incurred during the recent strike that disrupted businesses at the airport?
“Poor communication and crisis management exacerbated the strike’s collateral damages. A domestic carrier reportedly lost N500 million due to MM2’s shutdown. We strongly condemn the strike and management’s inadequate response. With apologies, adequate compensation should be provided for all parties affected. Regrettably, if the plan of change is not higher than the pain of remaining the same, people don’t change,” he said. He described some promised projects like the national carrier is at a stillbirth status, while the National Maintenance and Repair Organisation (MRO) is ‘unborn’. He said airport concessioning is inconclusive but the Civil Aviation Authority Act review was successful along with that of the Nigeria Transportation Investigation Board (NTSIB).
He also drew attention to well celebrated terminals and their unresolved issues stating, ”The New Airport Terminal Building in Lagos commissioned by the President last year has inadequate space at the aircraft apron for parking, ditto one in Abuja obstructing the control tower.
“The light rail line in Abuja does not connect to the airport terminal building either. Were there no plans before these projects were executed? One can only hope the newly commissioned Blue and Red Line Rails in Lagos would share links with the airport terminal buildings,” he said.
In a related development, political economist, Pat Utomi, said that if the Labour Party (LP) is voted into power, it will sack any airport manager that does not measure up to international standards after six months. Utomi who is part of the campaign team of the presidential candidate of the LP, Peter Obi, disclosed this during the ASRTI breakfast meeting, saying that there is no reason why Nigerian airports should not be properly managed to provide common services that meet up to international standards.
“If we get into government, we would fire any airport manager if in six months, the airport he manages does meet standards seen in other parts of the world. What is so difficult about having a toilet that is clean that people can use at our airports? Our politics should be about detailing how things happen and how people should be held accountable if it does not happen. We travel all over the world and come back to see something different. This will no longer be allowed,” Utomi said.
Speaking on some of the plans of the party for the aviation industry, Utomi said the party plans to build many cities in Nigeria and link these cities using intermodal transport systems. He said there has to be rail systems and small propeller aircraft and airports linked to these hubs, adding that the aviation industry has to be positioned to drive these developments.
“This is no longer the moment for politics of transactions. It is time to redeem the nation. When people know there are consequences for their actions, then they will begin to do the right things,” he said.
Planes Came Dangerously Close for 30 Seconds in Texas Near-Miss - BLOOMBERG
BY Bloomberg News,
(Bloomberg) -- A FedEx Corp. widebody cargo jet came within several hundred feet of colliding with a Southwest Airlines Co. plane in Austin, Texas, early Saturday and the two planes remained in close proximity for at least 30 seconds, flight data show.
The FedEx Boeing Co. 767-300, which had been cleared to land on the same Austin-Bergstrom International Airport runway where the Southwest 737-700 was taking off in heavy fog, aborted its touchdown and began climbing above the smaller plane. The details, gleaned from a Bloomberg review of tracking data from Flightradar24, offer new insight into the seriousness of Saturday’s incident, which didn’t result in any injuries.
At one point, the two planes were separated by less than 25 feet laterally as the FedEx jet flew above the Southwest aircraft, which had reached a speed of about 150 miles (241 kilometers) per hour while it accelerated for takeoff, according to the data. Seconds later, as the Southwest plane lifted off, the two were less than 50 feet apart laterally and about 625 feet apart in height.
“No question the airplanes were much too close,” said John Cox, a former airline pilot who is now a safety consultant. “It’s a very rare event to have these airliners so close.”
The US National Transportation Safety Board announced on Saturday it was investigating the incident, which occurred at about 6:40 a.m. local time. It’s the second serious runway near-collision in recent weeks. The Federal Aviation Administration is also reviewing the two incidents.
It’s difficult at this early stage in the investigation to determine the precise risk of the two planes colliding, Cox said. He praised the FedEx pilots for aborting their landing seconds before touchdown, apparently realizing that the other jet was on the runway.
As the FedEx jet neared the runway a voice said on the air-traffic radio frequency, “Southwest abort.” But the pilots on the passenger plane continued. A recording of the air-traffic radio calls was posted on the LiveATC.net website.
‘On the Go’
“FedEx is on the go,” one of the cargo jet pilots radioed the tower moments later, using aviation terminology for calling off a landing.
A controller earlier had cleared the Southwest jet to take off and warned pilots on both planes there was nearby traffic. It wasn’t clear why both planes were directed toward the runway at the same time.
The two planes remained within 550 feet of each other laterally for 33 seconds, according to the Flightradar24 data, as the FedEx jet climbed slightly faster along the runway. Typically, planes would be separated by about 3.5 miles laterally and 1,000 feet vertically while flying near an airport.
Southwest Flight 708 arrived in Cancun about two hours later, according to Flightradar24. The FedEx jet circled the airport and landed in Austin about 12 minutes after the incident.
See also: Southwest’s scheduling targeted by regulators after meltdown
A Southwest spokesman said the airline didn’t have additional information to share on the incident. There were 123 passengers and five crew members aboard, according to the company.
A FedEx spokesman referred questions to the FAA and NTSB.
On Jan. 13, an American Airlines Group Inc. widebody jet rolled across a runway at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York as a Delta Air Lines Inc. plane accelerated for takeoff.
--With assistance from Thomas Black.
Renunciation of Nigerian citizenship - THE SUN
The Federal Government, last week, revealed that about 309 Nigerians renounced their citizenships in the last 16 years (2006-2021) with over half of that number recorded last year. The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, alongside the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Shuaib Belgore, disclosed this in Abuja during a media briefing coordinated by the Presidential Media Team. That 150 Nigerians renounced their citizenship in 2022 alone indicates that the country is drifting dangerously.
Though the Interior Ministry did not state the reasons that necessitated the soaring number of Nigerians that rejected their citizenship, the minister disclosed that Nigerian youths constituted the majority. He described the trend as “very worrisome and counterproductive.” Figures from the Ministry of Interior show a surge in passport application every month seeking to migrate to other countries. This speaks volumes about the leadership failure in the country. The development reflects the frustration and disillusionment of many Nigerians.
Undoubtedly, the growing number of Nigerians repudiating their citizenship has added to the numerous challenges confronting the country. Nigeria is at a tipping point now, with collapsing education and health sectors. The Nigerian situation is not inspiring to the citizens, especially the youths. Every passing day, hope is fading in the country. In fact, renouncing one’s citizenship is one of the most sensitive decisions anyone can make. Those concerned must have weighed the options available before renouncing their citizenship. But for many Nigerians, young and old, it has become increasingly tough to cope with the seeming hopelesness in the country. Nigerians are daily migrating to countries in Europe and America because of the economic hardship at home. The “Japa” syndrome is also predicated on the vision of a better life abroad.
Trapped fund: Nigerian travel agents lose $500m in 1yr – NANTA - BUSINESSDAY
…says 70% tickets originating from Nigeria sold by foreign agents
BY Ifeoma Okeke-Korieocha
Travel agents under the auspices of National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) say they have lost about $500m revenue between February 2022 and date as a result of a significant drop in ticket sales, as foreign airlines whose funds are trapped in the country are denying them business opportunities.
Airfares have risen to almost 400 percent to all international destinations as foreign airlines operating in Nigeria blocked all low ticket inventories on their websites and have since continued to sell the highest inventories, making it difficult for passengers to buy affordable tickets through local travel agents.
The airlines also stopped travel agents in Nigeria from issuing tickets emanating from other countries into Nigeria in a bid to reduce the amount of money that would be trapped in Nigeria.
The development has seen Nigerian travellers by-pass local travel agents to purchase tickets from agents in Ghana and other African countries due to skyrocketing fares as a result of the $550 million blocked funds.
“Agencies are now forced to fold, leave the country or try to use neighbouring countries to sell to their customers. Nigeria travel market continues to be at the losing end with the airlines being indifferent to the plight of travellers and as a body we are left with no option than to call on the government to be more strategic, deliberate and direct in resolving this multifaceted dilemma,” Susan Akporiaye, president NANTA said during an interview session on Friday.
Akporiaye said that international airlines were seeing full flights to Nigeria but local travel agents sold less than 30 percent of all the tickets that originated from Nigeria.
She said since the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) started remitting foreign airlines’ trapped funds, no significant impact was achieved as airlines continue with even higher fares as though they determine what happens in Nigeria.
BusinessDay’s checks show that currently, a prospective Nigerian traveller needs about N3 million to purchase an economy ticket while date changes on some airlines go as high as between N1.5m and N18m.
The NANTA president said the situation has crippled travel agents, drove clients away, and made Nigerians travel across our borders at huge security risk to connect cheaper flights.
She accused the foreign airlines of taking advantage of the trapped funds to exploit Nigerians, adding that countries also facing trapped funds crisis still access ticket inventories.
“The reaction of the foreign airlines is grossly unfair to the Nigerian travelling public and to us as a nation with a seeming disdain to the existing cordial business relationship. This gravely threatens our survival as travel practitioners in Nigeria.
“The suffocating profiteering practice by the majority of the foreign airlines is unbelievable and unexplainable in a Nigeria market that is ranked by many indices of International Air Transport Association (IATA) as one of the best in Africa as well as the best post-COVID recovery rates across Africa and the Middle East. The Nigerian market should be applauded, but the reverse is the case,” Akporiaye said.
She said the airlines ought to respect and appreciate the impact of the traffic the Nigerian market offers and seek better ways to ensure there is mutual benefit in tandem with the current reality.
She said the trade rules were obnoxious and not consistent with global best practices, and the fares unjustifiably high, all in reaction to trapped funds. She called on the government to wade into the situation and bring normalcy to the sector.
“We hold the stand that the government still retains the responsibility to commit to agreements with airlines to protect the sector and call the airlines to order when there are obvious excesses from them that puts the entire industry in jeopardy; because the current fare structure and practices are exploitative to Nigerian travellers as well as agencies who provide a reasonable number of jobs for our country.
“This heavy cost to Nigerian travellers is unnecessary. We strongly request the airlines to open inventories to tally with what obtains in similar markets,” she said.
In December 2022, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) ranked Nigeria tops among five markets with blocked funds
IATA revealed that the top five markets with blocked funds (excluding Venezuela) are: Nigeria: $551 million, Pakistan: $225 million, Bangladesh: $208 million, Lebanon: $144 million and Algeria: $140 million.
In the last one year, foreign airlines have been finding it difficult to access their funds from tickets sold in the country as a result of foreign exchange scarcity and have resorted to buying dollars from the black market for as high as N700 to a dollar against CBN’s N429 to a dollar rate.
The trapped funds have since February last year grown from $100 million to over $ 550 million, making it very difficult for airlines to operate seamlessly.
“People are travelling back to Nigeria, even though our sales are not showing the volume, it is cheaper for people to buy tickets outside Nigeria than buy from Nigeria because the naira exchange rate is very high. The airlines are opening cheaper ticket inventories outside Nigeria but closed these inventories in Nigeria.
“If you enter the aircraft coming into Nigeria, they are still full. People are coming home and the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority is losing five percent on every ticket that is not bought from Nigeria. If we are losing five percent and the plane is full, it means Nigeria is like a dumping ground,” Bankole Bernard, managing director/Founder Finchglow Travels and former NANTA president, said.
MTN Nigeria Opens Prestige Lounge At MMI Airport - LEDERSHIP
As part of efforts to appreciate customer loyalty, continued patronage and support, MTN Nigeria has launched a state-of-the-art lounge at the Murtala Mohammed
International Airport in Ikeja, Lagos. The exclusive access facility located at the E-wing of the departure lounge is open to top-tier MTN customers (Platinum and Gold Prestige members) and provides access to complimentary amenities such as food and snacks, fully-stocked bars and free WiFi connection.
Speaking on the launch, MTN Nigeria CEO, Karl Olutokun Toriola said: “Nigeria is without a doubt one of the major gateways to the African continent. We, at MTN Nigeria recognise our role as corporate citizens and we continue to provide comfort and ease for our customers as well as visitors and esteemed guests to our country as they go about their business in and out.”
The launch of the MTN Airport lounge further demonstrates MTN Nigeria’s commitment to ensuring its customers have access to all the tools of a modern, digitally connected world which is in line with the company’s vision of leading the delivery of a bold, new digital world to Nigerians.
As States Fail, Africa Becomes Terrorism Epicenter, UNDP Says - BLOOMBERG
(Bloomberg) -- The inability of states to provide basic services and security and create jobs across much of Africa, ranging from the Sahel zone in the west to Somalia in the east and Mozambique in the south has made the continent the global epicenter of extremist violence, the United Nations Development Programme said.
In 2021 sub-Sahara Africa accounted for 48% of all deaths from violent extremism and 21% of attacks, the UNDP said in its Journey to Extremism in Africa report released Tuesday. A third of those deaths were in just four countries — Somalia, Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali. Between 2011 and 2020 more than 50,000 people died as result of extremist violence on the continent.
“In the absence of the state institution providing for the basic services of, you know, security, rule of law or functioning courts, people essentially turn to these violent extremist groups,” Achim Steiner, administrator of the UNDP, said in an interview. “They provide in whichever form an alternative.”
While the spread of extremist groups is creating mounting problems for Africa, with deaths from terrorism rising tenfold in the Sahel since 2007 and economic costs between 2007 and 2016 estimated at $97 billion, the collapse of state services in countries such as Burkina Faso and Somalia threatens the world.
“We are at a point where development is imploding and the conditions that actually drive violent extremism are growing exponentially,” Steiner said. “More and more people are actually, you know, trying to get out of their own country that they call home.”
In addition to migration, both to developed countries and overburdened neighboring states, letting extremist groups flourish could see them export the violence globally, as had happened with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, he said.
The UNDP report was based on interviews over two years with 2,196 people, three time as many as in a 2017 study carried out by the program. Of those, 1,000 were former members of violent extremist groups, some of whom were forcibly recruited and others who joined voluntarily.
Recruitment factors included a lack of education, isolation and the brutality of government forces. Most of those interviewed were former members of Boko Haram in Nigeria, al-Shabaab in Somalia and Jama’a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin, or JNIM, the al-Qaeda-affiliated coalition in West Africa.
Still, while the majority of the extremist groups focused on in the study are Islamists, religion is a secondary factor, providing a “platform and also a narrative,” Steiner said. If more money was directed to development rather than fighting extremists, with sub-Saharan military expenditures amounting to $20.1 billion in 2021, fewer people would be pushed into extremist groups, the UNDP said in the report.
Already the economic impact of the violence can be seen. Much of northern Nigeria, Mali and Burkina Faso are inaccessible because of the security threat and TotalEnergies SE has halted a $20 billion natural gas project in Mozambique after an attack by Islamist militants.
“We need to have a much more fundamental reflection on what is working, what is not working,” Steiner said. “These essentially nation state collapses that we are witnessing are ultimately going to have a cancer-like effect on, on not only neighboring countries, but ultimately the global sense of human security.”
(Updates with desire for security in first paragraph)
UPDATED: Nigeria Air will fly soon, minister insists three months to exit - PREMIUM TIMES
Many Nigerians have criticised the Muhammadu Buhari administration for seeking to start a new national carrier after the former carrier, Nigeria Airways, collapsed largely due to corruption.
Nigeria’s aviation minister, Hadi Sirika, Wednesday insisted the controversial national carrier, Nigerian Air, will soon commence operations.
Mr Sirika, who spoke to journalists after the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council, said the regulatory approval to get the national carrier flying is at the final stage.
“Nigeria Air will soon start flying, we’ve got the aircrafts ready, they’re painted in the colours. We’ve crossed all the Ts and dotted the Is. We’re at stage five of the AOC issuance by the NCAA. Once that is done, the airline will begin to fly,” Mr Sirika said.
“So there are five stages, we’ve done stages 1,2,3,4 and we are now at stage five, once the AOC is given, the aircraft is ready to start to fly.”
When the minister was asked to be specific on the timeline, he insisted it would be ‘soon’.
“Well, because the issuance of the AOC is in the hands of NCAA, but I know it will be very soon, with an emphasis on soon. So as soon as we get the AOC, then we fly,” he said.
Many Nigerians have criticised the Muhammadu Buhari administration for seeking to start a new national carrier after the former national carrier, Nigeria Airways, collapsed largely due to corruption.
The government, which has only about three months in office, has, however, said the new carrier would only be partly government owned and would be managed by a private partner.
However, some local airlines in Nigeria have sued the federal government, asking the court to stop the new national carrier as it would get unfair advantages over other airlines.
Last November, a Federal High Court in Lagos issued an order of interim injunction restraining the Nigerian government from proceeding with the establishment of its proposed national carrier.
In the originating summons of the suit, the plaintiffs formulated five questions for the court to determine, one of which is to determine “whether the entire process for the sale and transfer of shares of the 1st defendant to the 2nd defendant and its consortium by the 3rd and 4th defendants is in line with the provisions of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (Est.) Act, 2005, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Convention, the National Policy on Public Private Partnership (N4P), sections 76-81 of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act, and does not affect the entire process including the selection, approval or grant to the 2nd defendant and its consortium by the 3rd and 4th defendants is not invalid and thereby entitling the entire process to fresh bidding exercise?”
The case is still in court.
Agusto: Naira likely to appreciate to N650/$ at parallel market in 2023 - THE CABLE
Agusto & Co, Pan-African credit rating agency, projects three percent economic growth for Nigeria in 2023.
The agency’s projection is contained in its recently released report titled ‘2023 Outlook: Nigeria, a Nation on the Precipice’.
“Agusto & Co has a slightly more optimistic forecast, at 3%, and believes GDP growth will be supported by election spending, improved oil output (to 1.3-1.4mbpd) and still high oil prices ($88pb) but will be constrained by low investment and productivity,” the report reads.
“How quickly Nigeria can stem rampant oil theft and vandalism will be crucial to boosting foreign exchange earnings and providing the CBN with enough ammunition to intensify its interventions in the forex market.
“However, we expect high global interest rates to continue to limit capital inflows and add to currency pressures in 2023.”
The agency said that Nigeria’s insecurity challenge is expected to continue to be a major issue in 2023.
It said the problem would require a two-pronged approach – deploying resources to military artillery, personnel and intelligence; while also confronting the more deep-seated problems of pervasive poverty, high unemployment and extreme levels of inequality.
NAIRA LIKELY TO APPRECIATE TO N650/$ AT PARALLEL MARKET
In the report, Agusto said that all three leading presidential candidates, on the surface, appear willing to ‘allow’ for a more market-determined exchange rate.
It said a successful election would ease frayed nerves and bolster investor confidence.
The agency forecasted a gradual downward adjustment of the official exchange rate to N480-N500/$ and a simultaneous increase in FX supply, which would signal a willingness to shift ground and would likely trigger an appreciation of the naira in the parallel market to N650-N680/$.
INFLATION TO DROP TO BETWEEN I5% and 17>#/b###
Agusto projected that inflation would reduce in 2023 to 15 percent-17 percent because of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s monetary policy pragmatism as well as the easing of global commodity prices from their peak in 2022.
“This is despite the impact of predicted floods and widespread insecurity on food production, as well as elevated energy prices, election-related spending, exchange rate pressures, and cost-reflective rates (petrol and electricity),” the agency said.
PETROL SUBSIDY PAYMENTS TO GULP N5TRN IN 2023
Agusto forecasted that Nigeria’s total subsidy bill would reach N5 trillion in 2023, thereby limiting expenditure on crucial infrastructure needed to galvanise economic growth in the medium to long term.
It said that doing away with subsidy would be inflationary and is likely to trigger severe backlash from unions and many sections of the wider public.
It, however, encouraged the outgoing administration to eliminate subsidy as it would make way for further and more fundamental fiscal reforms.
London Is the World’s Second Most Expensive City for Driving - BLOOMBERG
(Bloomberg) -- Driving a petrol-fueled car in London costs more than in any other city in the world except Hong Kong, according to a new ranking, partly due to the capital’s congested roads.
Running a petrol car cost £2,512 ($3,070) last year, about £550 more than in 2021, location technology business TomTom said Wednesday. Fuel prices, which surged due to the war in Ukraine, meant that London ranked higher than other European cities like Paris, Oslo and Zurich as well as any city in North America.
Higher prices at the pump did not deter people from using their cars, however.
“Despite the rising costs of driving globally, it continues to be a major mode of transport in most cities,” said Andy Marchant, a traffic expert at TomTom. People may have become used to driving over the pandemic, especially those who moved further away from the office.
In London, Mayor Sadiq Khan is expanding a zone that charges drivers of high-polluting cars, in an attempt to improve air quality. Congestion and vehicle types meant that Londoners commuting by car emitted more than drivers making comparable journeys in other cities, TomTom said.
Claire McDonald from Mums for Lungs, a campaign group in south east London, urged people to ditch their cars. “It’s always better not to drive and to take alternative forms of transport,” she said.
Electric cars cut running costs in half if drivers use slow charging, while still saving about £500 per year for fast charging, the data showed.
“If you just take the pump price and the plug price, EV is the cheaper option but if you take into account the price for EV cars then the trend switches,” said Marchant.
Congestion was also the driving force in Hong Kong topping the overall ranking.
When it comes to diesel cars, however, London tops the list with a yearly cost of £2,334. The report also showed that people lost 5.5 days to congestion driving in the UK capital with an average speed of 14 km/h in the center.