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FG to spend N2.3tn presidential fund on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, three others - PUNCH

APRIL 01, 2022

BY  Okechukwu Nnodim


The Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund is going to complete four critical infrastructure projects worth N2.3tn, the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority stated on Thursday.

A presentation by the NSIA at the 7th Edition of Africa Road Builders event in Abuja, indicated that part of the fund was being deployed for the construction of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Road, Second Niger Bridge and Mambilla hydropower project.

This came as the NSIA delivered 16 security vehicles to the Nigeria Police Force to help boost economic activities on the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Road, following the directives of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

“We were directed by the President to support the work of the police by providing the vehicles for the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano road,” the Managing Director, NSIA, Uche Orji, stated in Abuja.

The NSIA’s report at the road builders’ event stated that the expected impact of the ongoing projects under the PIDF includes job creation and the facilitation of poverty alleviation, among others. The NSIA manages the PIDF.

“The PIDF will complete four critical projects costing a total of $5.6bn

(N2.3tn). The financing of these projects has the potential to yield between 274,000 and 616,000 new direct and indirect jobs,” the report read in part.

It added, “It will boost economic activities and spur an increase in investments, agriculture and trade between the commercial cities due to the improved and quicker access to markets.

“The roads will significantly open the economic corridors leading to massive improvement in manufacturing, trading and commercial activities driven by the ease of movement of people, services and raw materials.”

It stated that the PIDF was established in 2018 to accelerate the execution of critical infrastructure projects, which include the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Second Niger Bridge, and Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Road, jointly referred to as the “ongoing projects.”

“It also included East-West Road Project and Mambilla hydropower project. The East-West Road project was removed from the PIDF portfolio based on the request of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs for its excision to enable MNDA undertake the EWR project as a public works contract,” the authority stated.

He added, “This was approved by Mr. President’s in a directive communicated on June 8, 2020. The development of Mambilla is yet to commence. NSIA has undertaken a value engineering exercise to determine design efficiency, cost optimisation and enhance overall project viability.”

For the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the report stated that Julius Berger Nigeria Plc and Reynolds Construction Company were the contractors, putting the project cost at N311.4bn, while stating that N99.6bn had been disbursed.

It put the estimated completion date for the project at July 2022, adding that the percentage completion for sections 1 and 2 were 87 and 73 per cent, respectively. The Lagos-Ibadan Expressway is located in Nigeria’s South-West region.

For the Second Niger Bridge, the NSIA named Julius Berger Nigeria Plc as the contractor. It said the initial cost of the project was N206.2bn, while there was an additional cost of N88.1bn.

The project is projected to be completed in 2022, as N165.3bn had been disbursed, with a percentage completion of 84 per cent. The Second Niger Bridge is in the South-East.

The Abuja-Kaduna Kano Expressway is also being handled by Julius Berger. It had an initial project cost of N155.7bn, while the revised project cost was put at N655.2bn.

The initial estimated completion date was 2021, while the revised estimated completion was put at 2025. The NSIA said the amount so far disbursed was N307.1bn. The project is ongoing in the North.

The Mambilla Hydropower project has a cost of N1.765tn. It is a greenfield project located in the North-East region of Nigeria.

Anti-migrant vigilante group Dudula stokes tensions in South Africa - REUTERS

APRIL 01, 2022

By Shafiek Tassiem

JOHANNESBURG, March 31 (Reuters) - Shopkeepers pulled down their metal shutters and foreign staff stayed out of sight as hundreds marched through a Johannesburg neighbourhood demanding that migrants leave and that their jobs go to South Africans.

The march through dilapidated Hillbrow, where many African migrants live, was organised by Operation Dudula, a vigilante group whose activities have raised fears of renewed violence against foreigners, a recurring problem.

Dudula means "push back" in Zulu. The group, based in the Soweto township just outside Johannesburg, blames high crime rates on undocumented migrants, who it also accuses of taking away jobs from South Africans and driving down wages.

"We want to see the people of South Africa reclaiming the control of South Africa ... and playing a meaningful role in terms of economic activities rather than being spectators," said Dan Radebe, one of the leaders of the group.

"You cannot sit at more than 50% unemployment rate and still have room to employ illegal migrants," he said.

South Africa's official unemployment rate is at a record 35.3%, though it is even higher by other measures. read more

Campaigners for migrant rights say foreigners are being scapegoated for economic woes rooted in profound structural problems and for the failure of successive governments to convert post-apartheid freedoms into widespread prosperity.

The leader of Operation Dudula, Nhlanhla "Lux" Dlamini wears paramilitary-style camouflage gear and speaks of "taking back" South Africa. He was arrested last week and is facing charges of housebreaking and malicious damage, in connection with an incident at a private home. Dlamini's lawyer has said he is innocent.

Anti-migrant vigilante group Dudula stokes tensions in South Africa

South Africa's anti-migrant campaigners take to Johannesburg's inner city

Anti-migrant vigilante group Dudula stokes tensions in South Africa


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Members of the South African anti-migrant group, operating under the slogan "Put South Africa First", take part in a peaceful campaign to force undocumented foreigners out of informal trading at Johannesburg's Hillbrow, an inner city suburb with a large population of African migrants, in Johannesburg, South Africa February 19, 2022. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

The group has been linked to incidents of violence in townships against foreigners, who come from all over Africa, including Nigeria and countries in southern Africa.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said last week that those behind Operation Dudula were contravening the law.

"We cannot allow a situation where we are going to get people who will embark on vigilantism to deal with a problem, a social problem," he said.

Some civil society groups have staged counter-protests, marching through Hillbrow carrying banners with slogans such as "No To Xenophobia" and "We Are One Africa".

Human rights lawyer and activist Sharon Ekambaram said an increasing number of politicians were making statements hostile to migrants. She cited the recent suspension of a special permit for Zimbabwean migrants as a sign of growing official hostility.

"These are all signs that the state is blaming migrants for the problems in our country and in that climate, the emergence of Operation Dudula is of serious concern, their actions of attacking foreign nationals in various townships," she said.

Zimbabwean national Siyayi Chinemhute, who resides legally in South Africa, said members of Operation Dudula, some armed with guns, sticks and whips, had invaded the community centre in Soweto where he works and lives with his family.

"Some of the group actually came in, went in all over the place, searching all the place and banging the doors," he said, adding that they were chanting "mabahambe" or "they must leave".

"For me as a father, not only to my immediate family but to the broader community, it actually traumatised me because I was thinking to myself, 'what is going to happen now?'."

Reporting by Shafiek Tassiem. Writing by Estelle Shirbon. Editing by Jane Merriman

Nigerian airlines threaten litigation over multiple entries granted foreign airlines - NAN

APRIL 01, 2022

“We are talking about the scarcity of foreign exchange in the country, but the foreign airlines are removing billions of dollars every year from this country."

The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) has threatened to sue the Federal Government over continued multiple entries granted to foreign airlines into various international airports in the country.

The President of AON, Yunusa Abdulmunaf, made this known during its First Quarter Breakfast Business Meeting in Lagos on Thursday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event was organised by the Aviation Round Table (ART) with the theme: ‘Economic Implications of Multiple Entry Points by Foreign Airlines Into Nigeria.”

NAN reports that the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, had said that although the multiple entries granted to foreign airlines was good for the economy, it was putting pressure on the country’s foreign exchange.

Mr Abdulmunaf said that the body has decided to challenge the government in the court of law on the current policy if the multiple entries granted to airlines were not addressed.

The president, represented by Allen Onyema, Vice President of AON, said that the body would in the next few days meet with the aviation minister to deliberate on the issue.

He lamented that billions of naira was being lost annually to multiple designations granted the foreign carriers.

Mr Abdulmunaf warned that if the policy continued unabated, the domestic airlines would die, while the foreign airlines would eventually take over the domestic market.

The AON chief insisted that the multiple designations was one of the greatest disservice to the Nigerian economy and its people.

He said: “All the foreign airlines that come into Nigeria every day, the Central Bank Governor cries about the amount of money being repatriated abroad.

“We are talking about the scarcity of foreign exchange in the country, but the foreign airlines are removing billions of dollars every year from this country.

“Whereas, airlines in the country have been hassled with lots of requests on how to repatriate dollars into the system. Where am I going to get it from?

“Yet, we are creating more avenues for these things to happen by giving multiple destinations to these foreign airlines.

“All the foreign airlines that come to this country, maybe about 20 or 30 of them have not been able to employ more than 150,000 Nigerians.”

Abdulmunaf noted that Air Peace alone employs over 4,000 people directly, adding that it would take foreign airlines another 60 years to generate 4,000 jobs.

Also, Dr Gabriel Olowo, President of ART, said that foreign airlines were gradually taking over the domestic market with continuous approvals for multiple entries.

“The damages of multiple entries into Nigeria are huge. Britain for instance has 21 flights into Nigeria weekly.

“European Union (flights) have 43 frequencies every week into Nigeria. Also, the Middle East has 56 flights weekly into multiple entries into Nigeria.”

Mr Olowo noted that, as things are today, the country had zero participation in the international sector as an industry and the domestic sector was eroded through multiple entries into Nigeria.

African Refugees See Racial Bias as U.S. Welcomes Ukrainians - AP

APRIL 01, 2022

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (PHILIP MARCELO)

(AP) -- Wilfred Tebah doesn’t begrudge the U.S. for swiftly granting humanitarian protections to Ukrainians escaping Russia’s devastating invasion of their homeland.

But the 27-year-old, who fled Cameroon during its ongoing conflict, can’t help but wonder what would happen if the millions fleeing that Eastern Europe nation were a different hue.

As the U.S. prepares to welcome tens of thousands of Ukrainians fleeing war, the country continues to deport scores of African and Caribbean refugees back to unstable and violent homelands where they’ve faced rape, torture, arbitrary arrest and other abuses.

“They do not care about a Black man,” the Columbus, Ohio, resident said, referring to U.S. politicians. “The difference is really clear. They know what is happening over there, and they have decided to close their eyes and ears.”

Tebah's concerns echo protests against the swift expulsions of Haitian refugees crossing the border this summer without a chance to seek asylum, not to mention the frosty reception African and Middle Eastern refugees have faced in western Europe compared with how those nations have enthusiastically embraced displaced Ukrainians.

In March, when President Joe Biden made a series of announcements welcoming 100,000 Ukrainian refugees, granting Temporary Protected Status to another 30,000 already in the U.S. and halting Ukrainian deportations, two Democratic lawmakers seized on the moment to call for similar humanitarian considerations for Haitians.

“There is every reason to extend the same level of compassion,” U.S. Reps. Ayanna Pressley, of Massachusetts, and Mondaire Jones, of New York, wrote to the administration, noting more than 20,000 Haitians have been deported despite continued instability after the assassination of Haiti’s president and a powerful earthquake this summer.

Cameroonian advocates have similarly ratcheted up their calls for humanitarian relief, protesting in front of the Washington residence of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and the offices of leading members of Congress this month.

Their calls come as hundreds of thousands in Cameroon have been displaced in recent years by the country’s civil war between its French-speaking government and English-speaking separatists, attacks by the terrorist group Boko Haram and other regional conflicts.

The advocacy group Human Rights Watch, in a February report, found many Cameroonians deported from the U.S. suffered persecution and human rights violations upon returning there.

Tebah, who is a leading member of the Cameroon American Council, an advocacy group organizing protests this month, said that’s a fate he hopes to avoid.

Hailing from the country’s English-speaking northwest, he said he was branded a separatist and apprehended by the government because of his activism as a college student. Tebah said he managed to escape, as many Cameroonians have, by flying to Latin America, trekking overland to the U.S.-Mexico border and petitioning for asylum in 2019.

“I will be held in prison, tortured and even killed if I am deported,” he said. "I’m very scared. As a human, my life matters too.”

The Department of Homeland Security, which oversees TPS and other humanitarian programs, declined to respond to the complaints of racism in American immigration policy. It also declined to say whether it was weighing granting TPS to Cameroonians or other African nationals, saying in a written statement only that it will “continue to monitor conditions in various countries.”

The agency noted, however, that it has recently issued TPS designations for Haiti, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan — all African or Caribbean nations — as well as to more than 75,000 Afghans living in the U.S. after the Taliban takeover of that Central Asian nation. Haitians are among the largest and longest-tenured beneficiaries of TPS, with more than 40,000 currently on the status.

Other TPS countries include Burma, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen, and the majority of the nearly 320,000 immigrants with Temporary Protected Status hail from El Salvador.

Lisa Parisio, who helped launch Catholics Against Racism in Immigration, argues the program could easily help protect millions more refugees fleeing danger but has historically been underused and over-politicized.

TPS, which provides a work permit and staves off deportation for up to 18 months, doesn’t have limits for how many countries or people can be placed on it, said Parisio, who is the advocacy director for the Catholic Legal Immigration Network.

Yet former President Donald Trump, in his broader efforts to restrict immigration, pared down TPS, allowing designations for Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea in West Africa to expire.

Although programs like TPS provide critical protections for vulnerable refugees, they can also leave many in legal limbo for years without providing a pathway to citizenship, said Karla Morales, a 24-year-old from El Salvador who has been on TPS nearly her whole life.

“It’s absurd to consider 20 years in this country temporary,” the University of Massachusetts Boston nursing student said. “We need validation that the work we’ve put in is appreciated and that our lives have value.”

At least in the case of Ukraine, Biden appears motivated by broader foreign policy goals in Europe, rather than racial bias, suggests María Cristina García, a history professor at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, focused on refugees and immigrants.

But Tom Wong, founding director of the U.S. Immigration Policy Center at the University of California, San Diego, said the racial disparities couldn’t be clearer.

“The U.S. has responded without hesitation by extending humanitarian protections to predominately white and European refugees,” he said. “All the while, predominately people of color from Africa, the Middle East, and Asia continue to languish.”

Besides Cameroon, immigrant advocates also argue that Congo and Ethiopia should qualify for humanitarian relief because of their ongoing conflicts, as should Mauritania, since slavery is still practiced there.

And they complain Ukrainian asylum seekers are being exempted from asylum limits meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while those from other nations are being turned away.

“Black pain and Black suffering do not get the same attention,” says Sylvie Bello, founder of the D.C.-based Cameroon American Council. “The same anti-Blackness that permeates American life also permeates American immigration policy.”

Vera Arnot, a Ukrainian in Boston who is considering seeking TPS, says she didn’t know much about the special status until the war started and wasn’t aware of the concerns from immigrants of color. But the Berklee College of Music sophomore hopes the relief can be extended to other deserving nations.

Arnot says TPS could help her seek an off-campus job with better pay so she doesn’t have to rely on her family’s support, as most in Ukraine have lost their jobs due to the war.

“Ukrainians as a people aren’t used to relying on others,” she said. “We want to work. We don’t want welfare.”

For Tebah, who is staying with relatives in Ohio, TPS would make it easier for him to open a bank account, get a driver’s license and seek better employment while he awaits a decision on his asylum case.

“We’ll continue to beg, to plead," Tebah said. “We are in danger. I want to emphasize it. And only TPS for Cameroon will help us be taken out of that danger. It is very necessary.”

___

Associated Press video journalist Patrick Orsagos in Columbus, Ohio contributed to this story.


Uneasy Calm, Anxiety As Nigeria Air Takes Shape - DAILY TRUST

APRIL 03, 2022

The month of April is here and Nigerians, especially members of the flying public, wait with bated breath for the take-off of the much-advertised...


    By Abdullateef Aliyu

The month of April is here and Nigerians, especially members of the flying public, wait with bated breath for the take-off of the much-advertised national carrier – the Nigeria Air.  This is generating unease among some stakeholders, Daily Trust on Sunday reports.

Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, had promised that the new carrier would take off in April amidst doubt from stakeholders who are not convinced on the sincerity of the Federal Government in following through the normal processes and procedure in establishing the national carrier.

The suspension of the project three months later by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) was an anti-climax in the determination of the Sirika-led aviation Ministry to bring back the national carrier almost a decade after the demise of Nigeria Airways.

According to him, the proposed national carrier is a wholly private sector airline with the federal government having a five percent stake.

He had disclosed that the federal government would hold five percent, 46 percent goes to Nigerian entrepreneurs while the remaining 49 percent would be reserved for strategic equity partners including foreign investors.

He had said, “This airline, if started, and within the first few years will generate about 70,000 jobs. These 70,000 jobs are higher than the total number of civil servants that we have in the country.”

There had been doubts and misgivings over the April target set by the minister, given the rigorous processes involved in the acquisition of the Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) which is the requirement for the commencement of commercial flights by a prospective airline.

However, it was learnt that the process commenced recently and if feelers from the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) are anything to go by, the AOC of the new airline may be ready anytime soon.

During the week, the NCAA published a public notice to intimate the general public of the registration of the proposed Nigeria Air.

“Any person, or organization that has an objection, or representation with regards to this application should do so within 28 days from the date of this application.

“Such objection, or representation should be forwarded to: The Director General Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Domestic Wing Abuja.”

Daily Trust on Sunday reports that this was what the promoters of the airline had failed to do which was responsible for the doubt and mixed feelings trailing the process.

Many stakeholders have also asked the question of the readiness of the Federal Government to fulfil all the requirements for the grant of the AOC after the ATL process has been completed.

Daily Trust on Sunday reports that the AOC takes about five rigorous stages and the most critical aspect is the demonstration flight which would require the prospective airline flying an empty plane for a minimum of 50 hours to some of the proposed destinations. Every domestic airline in Nigeria today went through a rigorous process. Some were said to have died on the way for not being able to fulfil the process.

But stakeholders and observers have been asking questions about the aircraft to be used by the proposed airline especially for the conduct of demonstration flights.

While those driving the process said the new airline has now been registered as a business and is waiting to take off, checks by Daily Trust on Sunday indicate that the carrier is yet to have a website but the committee set up for the realisation of the project is working round the clock to select a core investor for the national carrier.

It was learnt that the core investor which is expected to be a major foreign airline is expected to provide the aircraft for the airline to take off.

Already, Capt. Dapo Olumide, an astute aviator and former Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Nigeria Airways, has been named as the Interim Managing Director for Nigeria Air.    

A source privy to the process told Daily Trust on Sunday that the core investor may be one of the foreign airlines which has indicated interest in helping Nigeria to start the new airline.

Already, Qatar Airways, Emirates, among others have indicated interest in the process. A recent report which suggested that Qatar Airways might have been selected as the core investor by the Federal Government was dismissed by the Ministry of Aviation.

It was however learnt that the core investor would be unveiled in the next few weeks which would put an end to the anxiety and apprehension over the process.

But stakeholders are already agitated over the plan. And the body of domestic airline owners have already expressed their position over the process while giving conditions for the federal government to select any preferred bidder.

One of the conditions given by the AON was that the core investor must deposit $200bn cash to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

In a position paper endorsed by 10 AON members, they observed that while “the national carrier thing is an obsolete idea worldwide, the AON is not opposed to its establishment.”

“It is pertinent to note that there is no prospectus issued for public scrutiny or investment appraisal in the process of setting up the proposed carrier.

“The so-called national carrier is a private airline being promoted as a national entity using taxpayers and government resources. There is no way an enterprise where the Federal Government is said to hold five percent equity can be called a national carrier. Private people should not use the commonwealth of Nigeria for their private business.

“We, in AON, vehemently oppose any decision or action that is tantamount to selling the country’s commonwealth to any foreign airline for free or for peanuts. Both the domestic and international airline operations network and market value when fully utilized are worth over $400bn dollars every five years. Nigeria and Nigerians should be the main beneficiaries of this massive industry.

“Therefore, any foreign airline interested in investing up to 49 percent into the national carrier, which would eventually give the said foreign carrier unlimited access to our grandfather rights to operate both within and outside Nigeria, should be made to pay nothing less than $200bn in cash to be deposited through the CBN.

“The foreign airline’s investment in the national carrier must be through the injection of cash first before any other way. Anything short of the above is like selling off the country’s wealth to another country.

“Bringing a foreign airline to come and dump their redundant excess capacity (aircrafts) on our nation in the name of investing 49 percent in the proposed carrier will do more harm than good to the nation’s economy. This is a road Nigeria has travelled before with so much regrets and shame through the adventure of Virgin Nigeria. History is about to repeat itself.”

But an aviation analyst and a proponent of the national carrier, Mr. Chris Aligbe, said the conditions by the AON amounted to “a wishful thinking.” He said the airlines should be concerned with managing their own airlines, describing them as “busy bodies and interlopers.”

According to him, their position was informed by the fear of the unknown as to what would happen when the airline takes off. He asked them to stop adopting “the dog in the manger” approach.

“Whatever they are saying is coming out of fear that it would be a formidable challenge to them. They should tell us the area they think the process is not transparent. The process is at procurement stage now and it was advertised. Why can’t AON as a group apply since there is a 46 percent stake for Nigerians?

“They don’t have a moral ground to say what they are saying. Why would an investor deposit $200bn? They should concern themselves with running their businesses efficiently and preparing themselves for the competition that will come. They are just afraid of the competition.”

As Nigerians await the arrival of the national carrier, observers say the entry of the Nigeria Air would disrupt the industry and deepen competition provided there is a level playing ground for all operators.

At Last, FG Abolishes Covid-19 Testing For Fully Vaccinated Passengers - DAILY TRUST

APRIL 03, 2022

By  Abdullateef Aliyu

The Federal Government has finally abolished the Covid-19 testing protocols for fully vaccinated passengers arriving or departing the country.

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in a revised international travel protocol issued to all airlines operating international flights into Nigeria said as from 12:01 AM Monday 4th April 2022, all in-bound passengers who have been fully vaccinated are no longer required to have the pre-departure PCR test or a repeat test on arrival.


Director-General of the NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu in the All Operators Letter (DG/05/22) NCAA/DG/11/16/339 dated 2nd April 2022 and addressed to the Accountable Manager of Airlines, informed that the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 has issued a revised Provisional Quarantine protocol for travellers arriving or departing Nigeria dated 2nd April 2022, which becomes effective as from 12:01 AM Monday 4th April 2022.

The NCAA also warned that any airline that fails to comply with the requirements would be fined $3,500 per passenger.

The letter reads: “This All-Operator’s Letter (AOL) is to convey to all airlines operating regional and international flights in and out of Nigeria the revised provisional quarantine protocol for travellers arriving or departing Nigeria issued by the Presidential Steering Committee (PSC) on COVID-19 for their information and guidance.”


For the in-bound passengers, the letter said:  “All passengers who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 are not required to be in possession of a pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test result, or conduct repeat PCR or Rapid Antigen test upon their arrival in Nigeria. Passengers aged 18 years and below will be accorded the same privileges as persons who are fully vaccinated.


“All passengers who are partially vaccinated or unvaccinated are required to be in possession of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result done within 48 hours pre-departure, and conduct repeat COVID-19 PCR test on days 2 and 7 upon arriving in Nigeria. This requirement does not apply to passengers aged 18 years and below.

“Airlines are to board only passengers who have fulfilled the above pre-boarding requirements which are applicable to their vaccination status. Failure by any airline to comply with the above pre-boarding requirements shall attract a penalty of $3,500 per passenger.


“Out-bound passengers: Passengers travelling out of Nigeria are encouraged to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and ensure compliance with the COVID-19 requirements of their destination or transit countries.

“Crew members: Crew members operating regional or international flights into and out of Nigeria who are fully vaccinated are no longer required to be in possession of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result.”

India Tops Nigeria’s Foreign Trade – NBS - DAILY TRUST

APRIL 03, 2022

By  Faruk Shuaibu

India was the top trading partner for Nigeria in the fourth quarter of 2021, a report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has disclosed.

>span class="s2">A breakdown of the trade indicated that the largest commodity bought by India was petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude at N774.5bn, followed by natural gas liquefied at N89.8bn and liquefied petroleum gas N6.7bn.

Conversely, Nigeria bought goods from India to the tune of N430.4bn, of which, kerosene type jet fuel ranked highest with a value of N40.1bn.

Trade with Spain ranked second with export valued at N789.2bn representing 13.7 percent of total exports. It stated that the largest exported commodity to Spain was petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude at N624bn. “This was followed by natural gas, liquefied N159.8bn, leather further prepared after tanning/crusting N1.7bn and others.”

On the other side, Nigeria imported goods amounting to N68.2bn with mixed alkylbenzenes &mixed alkylanaphthalenes, valued at N13.2bn as the highest traded commodity during the period under review, followed by motor spirit ordinary valued at N13bn, gas oil valued at N8.0bn “gypsum; anhydrite whether or not coloured, with/without small quantities of accelerators 7.9bn and others were imported from Spain.”

Also, export to Netherlands was valued at N425.9bn making 7.4 percent of total export. Major commodities exported during the period were petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude N383.6bn.

Fermented Nigerian cocoa beans worth N25.2bn and superior quality raw cocoa beans at N8.8bn were exported.

On the other hand, import from Netherlands was valued at N416.5bn followed by motor spirit ordinary worth N353.3bn, herrings N6.2bn and kerosene type jet fuel valued at N6.2bn.

Export to France was valued at N485.4bn indicating 8.4 percent of total exports in the fourth quarter of 2021.

The report said the value of trade was largely dominated by exports of petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude valued at N473.8bn, Oil-cake and other solid residues resulting from the extraction of soya beans were bought from Nigeria at the value of N8.4m, Cocoa butter, fat and oil N1bn.

Conversely, the value of imports from France stood at N137bn. The largest import commodity from France was motor spirits N73.8bn, malt (not roasted) N3.1 bn and anti-malaria drug valued at N2.8bn.

It added that China remains a major trading partner of Nigeria with a N244.2bn export representing 4.2 percent.

The exported products were petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude valued at N92.8bn, Natural gas for N71.6bn, followed by propane, liquefied which was valued at N21bn.

“In terms of imports from China, goods worth N1.652trn were imported within period under review. Top ranked was “Rolled iron steel, width 600mm, other painted, varnished or coated with plastics ranked first with a value of N88.2bn. This was followed by machines for the reception, conversion & transmission or regeneration of voice, images or and other instruments, appliances and machines for measuring or checking, of voice, image valued at N59.2bn and N54.6bn respectively.

The report added that All commodity group import index increased by 0.47 percent between October and December 2021.

“This was driven mainly by an increase in the prices of products of textiles and textile articles.

For the all-commodity group, import price index grew due to the prices of vehicles, aircraft and parts of vessels. Similarly, increases in the prices of prepared foodstuffs, beverages, spirits and vinegar and tobacco led to the rise.

However, the all-commodity group export index averagely decreased by -0.33 percent between October and December 2021 due to decreases in the prices of chemical and allied industries mineral products and animal and vegetable fats and oil.

Conversely, the all-commodity export index “increased marginally by 0.03. This was driven by decreases in prices of live animals; animal products and animal and vegetable fats and oils and other cleavage.”

Entire Shanghai Placed Under Lockdown - BLOOMBERG

APRIL 03, 2022

(Bloomberg) -- Shanghai’s 25 million residents are almost all under some form of lockdown as the financial hub scrambles to tame a relentless surge of the coronavirus’s highly contagious omicron variant.

The eastern half of the mega Chinese city remains under tight movement restrictions despite the end of a four-day sweeping lockdown Friday morning, according to a government statement Saturday. That means the entire population of the metropolis is currently under some form of quarantine as the two-part lockdown shifted to the western half of Shanghai on Friday.

Residents in the western part of the city, where about two-thirds of its population live, began their four-day lockdown at 3 a.m. local time on Friday after the program ended in the east. During the restrictions, residents are barred from leaving home unless they are going out for mandatory mass Covid tests.

Shanghai has emerged as the epicenter of China’s worst virus outbreak since the early days of the pandemic. The city’s daily infections shot up from less than five at the beginning of March to more than 6,300 Friday, official data show Saturday. 

The spread of the highly transmissible omicron strain to Shanghai -- home to the world’s largest container port and country headquarters of many domestic and overseas companies -- is the biggest test yet for President Xi Jinping’s dual goals of eliminating the virus while minimizing the economic and social impacts of a Covid Zero strategy.

The Cost of China’s Covid Zero Strategy: New Economy Daily

While the lockdown of Shanghai’s east officially ended at 5 a.m. local time Friday, not all residents will be able to leave their homes immediately under a what the local government described as a tiered quarantine regime.

The rules require anyone living in a building where a Covid case has been reported to stay confined in their home for two weeks. Residents of other buildings in the same compound as the block where a positive patient was reported will be subject to seven-day home quarantine.

Residents living close to locked-down compounds will be confined to their neighborhood for a week, and limited to sending one person from each household out once a day to fetch necessities delivered to them.

As of Saturday, all of the almost 9 million residents of the eastern half of the city were still subject to some form of restrictions, according to the official statement. Nearly 40% of Saturday’s newly reported infections in the city came from the eastern part, known as Pudong.

The worsening outbreak in Shanghai is further weighing on the world’s second-largest economy and threatening to disrupt global supply chains.

FG May Name Concessionaires For 4 Airports This Week - DAILY TRUST

APRIL 04, 2022

By  Abdullateef Aliyu

Barring a last-minute change, the Federal Government may name the concessionaires for the four international airports this week, Daily Trust gathered at the weekend. 

The airports are the Murtala Muhammad International Airport (MMIA), Lagos; the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja; Mallam Aminu Kano Airport, Kano and the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, Rivers State.

Buhari had during the commissioning of the new terminal of MMIA in Lagos directed the ministry to fast-track the process. 

It was learnt that Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), a Singaporean firm, and 11 other local and international firms expressed interest in the concession.

Daily Trust reports that the Ministry was supposed to name the concessionaires by the end of March seven months after it opened bids for the concession.

However, it was delayed due to some unforeseen circumstances, according to sources privy to the process. 


Daily Trust reports that the shortlisted companies are expected to sign a non-disclosure agreement before their names would be unveiled. 

A source who spoke with our correspondent on the condition of anonymity said, “The Ministry is being meticulous in the whole process and barring any last-minute change the preferred bidders would be known this week.”

BA and easyJet cancel hundreds of flights amid Covid staff sickness - THE GUARDIAN UK

APRIL 04, 2022

Some passengers stranded amid travel chaos at some of UK’s biggest airports


EasyJet and British Airways have been forced to cancel flights because of high levels of Covid-19 infections among staff, in a reflection of rising UK case numbers after the removal of almost all pandemic restrictions.

EasyJet has cancelled 222 flights since Friday because of coronavirus absences. It said it had made efforts to offset staff shortages by rostering additional standby crew on the weekend but was forced to make “additional cancellations for [Sunday] and [Monday]”.

A total of 62 flights scheduled for Monday have been pulled, most of which were announced at short notice on Saturday.Read more

An easyJet spokesperson said: “As a result of the current high rates of Covid infections across Europe, like all businesses easyJet is experiencing higher than usual levels of employee sickness.

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“We have made 62 pre-emptive cancellations for flights to and from the UK for [Monday] which represents a small proportion of [Monday’s] total flying programme which was planned to be more than 1,645 flights. We cancelled the majority of these [on Saturday].”

British Airways has cancelled about 100 flights, although only about five were last-minute cancellations directly related to staff absence, a spokesperson said. The rest of the cancellations had already been made for different reasons and the airline was aiming to keep cancellations to high-frequency routes such as Paris and Madrid.

The UK government has reported that an average of 84,000 people tested positive for coronavirus daily in the week to 24 March, but separate data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) last week suggested that as many as one in every 13 people in the UK were infected by the virus, a record level.

The ONS said the rise in infections was led by the Omicron coronavirus variant BA.2, while the removal of restrictions and reversion to pre-pandemic behaviours such as socialising in larger groups and wearing masks less have also been cited by some scientists.

“We’re not immune to it – like any other business,” said a spokesperson for British Airways, which is owned by FTSE 100 conglomerate International Airlines Group.

Some holidaymakers reported being stuck abroad with no explanation or alternative route home offered by the airline. It comes after passengers were stuck in long queues at Heathrow airport on Sunday morning as the Easter holidays got under way.

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The airport attributed the congestion to Covid checks required by destination countries and “high passenger volumes”.

The Home Office confirmed there had been a “technical issue” with the checkpoints which has since been resolved, and said the problem had not caused queues to exceed the “standard length” at Heathrow.

Manchester airport has experienced similar problems in recent weeks as it has struggled to cope with delays because of increased traveller numbers amid staff shortages.

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