Minister: 30,000 Nigerians have benefited from Commonwealth scholarships - NAN
Adamu Adamu, minister of education, says no fewer than 30,000 Nigerians have benefited from the Commonwealth scholarship awards since its inception in 1959.
The award is the UKâ€™s primary scholarship scheme focused on supporting British international development goals. It is designed to attract outstanding talent to UK universities whilst also supporting sustainable development overseas.
Adamu said the idea behind the scholarship was to make scholars acquire the requisite knowledge and skills, and return to their home country to make a meaningful impact in their various fields of study.
The minister was speaking on Tuesday during the launch of the 2021/2022 nomination interview of Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP) in Abuja, where he was represented by Sonny Echono, permanent secretary of the ministry.
He noted that majority of the award holders had returned home to make significant contributions to the development of Nigeria, mostly in the tertiary institutions.
â€œEducation is critical to the achievement of the present administrationâ€™s transformation agenda, which is expected to accelerate economic growth, engender social change, create a stable polity and improve on the quality of life of the Nigerians,â€ he said.
â€œThis can only come to fruition through human capital development.
â€œConsequently, the education sector has been saddled with the responsibility of propelling our country to the realisation of her development goals so as to become one of the top economies of the world and improve access to tertiary education.
â€œI have no doubt that all candidates in this nomination interview have done research on Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC), its mission, vision and guidelines among others.â€
The minister said applications have been limited to PhD candidates, based on instructions from the CSC, and that they would be graded based on academic merit, quality of research proposal and development impact on the completion of the study as PhD candidates.
Ndajiwo Asta, director of the Federal Scholarship Board, said as a result of the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, candidates for 2020 were advised to defer their scholarship to 2021.
Asta explained that in 2020, there were 336 offers made to the 54 commonwealth countries with an average of six candidates per country.
She said 4,424 candidates applied through the electronic application system (EAS), adding that Nigeria received 24 awards.
â€œThe awards are very limited in number compared with the large number of applications received each year,â€ she said.
â€œThis year, approximately 350 candidates applied through the EAS.
â€œThe value of the award per awardee depends on the field of specialisation and it is adjudged to be sufficient, with provision to spouses if indicated, thus makes the award scheme the most competitive and prestigious in the world.â€
U.S. Embassy invites Yoruba, Hausa teachers for FLTA program - P.M.NEWS
By Muhaimin Olowoporoku
The U.S Embassy in Nigeria has invited applications from Nigerians wishing to teach Hausa or Yoruba language and culture to American students in U.S. universities and colleges.
Successful applicants will be participating in the Foreign Language Teaching Assistant Program (FLTA).
The US consulate made the announcement in a post on its website urging qualified Nigerians to apply.
The post read â€œThe Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Mission Nigeria invites applications from qualified Nigerians wishing to teach Hausa or Yoruba languages and cultures to American students in U.S. universities and colleges.â€
The application is in line with the missionâ€™s Foreign Language Teaching Assistant Programme (FLTA).
The programme according to the mission is to give opportunity for participants to refine their teaching skills, increase their English language proficiency and extend their knowledge of the cultures and customs of the United States.
Successful applicants are going to teach language courses, supervise language labs, and lead language table discussions.
They may also act as resource persons in conversation groups, cultural representatives, attendants in language laboratories, coordinators of extra-curricular activities, guest speakers in civilization courses, head of language clubs, houses, tables, and much more.
Ekiti cancels sponsorship of pilgrims to Mecca, Jerusalem - THE CABLE
by Haleem Olatunji
The Ekiti state government says it will no longer sponsor pilgrimages to Mecca and Jerusalem.
Bisi Egbeyemi, the deputy governor, said the development is in line with the federal governmentâ€™s decision to end sponsorship of pilgrims, thereby saving funds for development purposes.
In a statement on Tuesday, Odunayo Ogunmola, the deputy governorâ€™s special assistant on media, quoted Egbeyemi as speaking when he hosted members of the state Muslim pilgrims Welfare Board.
The board members led by Babatunde Onipede, its chairman, were on a courtesy visit to the deputy governorâ€™s office which supervises the agency in the state.
In his remarks, Egebeyemi said the state no longer engages in sponsoring pilgrimages, adding that no allocation is made for it in the budget.
He asked those interested in visiting Mecca and Jerusalem for pilgrimage to seek private sponsorship.
â€œBoth the Federal Government and the State Government have said they will not spend their money on pilgrimages again and that is why there was no budgetary allocation to it,â€ he said.
â€œAnybody wishing to perform his religious obligation of going to the holy land must do so with his own personal savings and that was what I told the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) when their executives made a similar request because we must be fair to all.â€
Egbeyemi said the boardâ€™s demand for office furniture and utility vehicles are legitimate and would be looked into.
In his address, Onipede commended Fayemi and his deputy for the appointment of board members.
He said the board was not functioning as it ought to during the administration of Ayodele Fayose, former governor of Ekiti.
â€œIt was not functioning as a Board during the Fayose administration; it was just lying fallow there and was not run like a Board,â€ he said.
US travellers must wear face masks at airport security or risk being denied boarding - THE INDEPENDENT UK
Travellers passing through US airports will soon be required to wear a mask if they want to pass through security.
From 2 February, passengers over the age of two can be denied entry through Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints if theyâ€™re not wearing a face covering.
Failure to comply could also result in a fine.
The new rule remains in place until 11 May, although children under two and those with a disability that prevents them from wearing a mask will be exempt.
â€œPassengers who refuse to wear a mask will not be permitted to enter the secure area of the airport, which includes the terminal and gate area,â€ said the TSA.
â€œDepending on the circumstance, those who refuse to wear a mask may be subject to a civil penalty for attempting to circumvent screening requirements, interfering with screening personnel, or a combination of those offenses.â€
On 29 January, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made it mandatory to wear a face mask on planes, plus public transport such as buses and subways, building on a previous executive order made by President Joe Biden.
â€œTSA will fully comply with the Presidentâ€™s Executive Orders, CDC guidance and the DHS National Emergency determination to ensure healthy and secure travel across all transportation sectors,â€ said a TSA spokesperson.
â€œThis will help prevent further spread of Covid-19 and encourage a unified government response.â€
Commercial airlines in the US already required passengers to wear a face covering at all times on flights.
There have been several high profile cases of travellers being kicked off aircraft after failing to wear their masks correctly.
On 24 January, a family of 20 was removed from a flight in the US after one passengerâ€™s mask slipped under their nose.
The group of 10 adults and 10 children had boarded the American Airlines service from Salt Lake City to Dallas to catch a connecting flight to Hawaii when the incident occurred.
According to one family member, Scott Wilson, they had boarded the aircraft and were settling into their seats when the mask of one of his relatives accidentally slipped beneath their nose before they pulled it back up.
A member of crew saw and instructed the entire family to get off the plane, according to Mr Wilson.
American Airlines said in a statement: â€œOn Sunday, 24 January, passengers travelling on American Airlines flight 1214 from Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) were reported to be noncompliant with our mandatory face covering policy, which requires face coverings be worn properly over the nose and mouth.
â€œPer procedure, the customers involved were asked to exit the aircraft before departure and the flight departed for DFW shortly after.â€
Vaccination havens: the countries welcoming immunised travellers -
BY Helen Coffey
International travel may be off the menu for most of us during Englandâ€™s third lockdown, but there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon.
For those lucky enough to have received an approved coronavirus vaccine, some tourism-hungry countries have announced that their borders will be flung wide to the immunised traveller.
The airline industry is getting in on the action too, and is pushing for the World Health Organization (WHO) to confirm that itâ€™s safe for people to fly without quarantining if theyâ€™ve had a Covid-19 vaccine. Getting the go-ahead from the WHO is a key step towards developing a global â€œdigital travel passâ€ to enable safe international travel, according to the International Air Transport Association (Iata).
Vaccine or no, Britons are currently still banned from all leisure travel, whether domestic or international, while the UK struggles to reduce transmissions of Covid-19.
But once restrictions are lifted, here are the destinations welcoming vaccinated holidaymakers.
Estonia has become the latest nation to offer quarantine exemption for travellers who have recovered from Covid-19 or who have been vaccinated against the virus.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs currently imposes 10 days of quarantine on arrivals from abroad, with exceptions made only for low-risk European countries â€“ Bulgaria, Finland, Greece, Iceland and Norway.
Arrivals from the UK are required to spend two weeks in self-isolation â€“ though this can be halved by taking a free Covid test after seven days.
The government in the capital, Tallinn, has now eased its rules for people who are presumed to have acquired some immunity to coronavirus either through infection or vaccination.
The ministry says: â€œStarting from 1 February, the 10-day self-isolation and Covid-19 testing are not mandatory for individuals, including those arriving from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland or a third country, who: (1) have suffered from Covid-19 and no more than six months have passed since they have been declared cured; (2) have undergone Covid-19 vaccination and no more than six months have passed since its completion.â€
According to the Foreign Office, proof of recovering from Covid-19 should be a doctorâ€™s certificate that includes the time, location, methodology and result of the analysis, as well as the details of â€œthe institution that conducted the analysisâ€.
Vaccinated travellers will need to provide â€œan immunisation passportâ€, even though there is no international agreement on such a document, or a vaccination certificate with a similar level of detail to the doctorâ€™s certificate.
The Seychelles is planning to kickstart its tourism industry by getting rid of quarantine requirements altogether for incoming visitors who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
The country will be welcoming fully vaccinated visitors from anywhere in the world with immediate effect, although they must still also present a negative Covid PCR test result taken with 72 hours of travel.
There will be no need for quarantine for vaccinated travellers â€“ up until now, visitors had to self-isolate at their hotel for 10 days on arrival.
To be considered as vaccinated, visitors must have received both doses of any of the four main vaccines â€“ Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna and Janssen â€“ and waited two weeks after the second dose for the inoculation to take effect.
As proof, visitors will need to submit an â€œauthentic certificate from their national health authorityâ€.
As of 1 February, all international tourists can enter Georgia (the country, not the US state) as long as they have received both doses of their Covid-19 vaccine and can provide proof.
Georgia is the first country to fully remove entry restrictions for vaccinated passengers - no testing pre-departure, no testing on arrival, and no quarantine.
â€œAs for foreign visitors, they will be able to enter Georgia unconditionally if they submit a full course of any type of covid-vaccine, which means two full doses, if they present a document at the border,â€ according to the countryâ€™s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Since May 2020, Georgia has had an international flight ban in place for most of the world, but this too will be lifted from 1 February, allowing multiple airlines to resume flights,
Romania has announced that travellers who have received both doses of the coronavirus vaccine will not need to quarantine on arrival, effective immediately.
In a document issued earlier this month, the countryâ€™s National Committee for Emergency Situations (CNSU) announced that people coming from countries or areas of high epidemiological risk, or who have come into direct contact with someone whoâ€™s tested positive for Covid, are exempt from quarantine measures if they are fully vaccinated.
That means theyâ€™ve had two doses of the vaccine, and at least 10 days have passed since the second dose was administered before arrival into Romania.
Incoming visitors will need to show proof of this through a â€œdocument issued by the health unit which administered it, from Romania or from abroadâ€. Thereâ€™s no indication which of the vaccines will be acceptable.
The CNSU said that itâ€™s made the decision based on the fact that thereâ€™s been a downward trend in infections in Romania and that thereâ€™s a â€œneed to create the necessary socio-economic conditionsâ€ to benefit the national economy.
The changes will apply to visitors from the UK, who have up to now been required to quarantine 14 days as well as show evidence of a negative Covid test (either PCR or antigen test accepted) taken within 48 hours of travel.
According to the Icelandic authorities, â€œall those who present a valid international vaccination certificate for full vaccination with an approved vaccine against Covid-19 are exemptâ€ from the testing and quarantine requirements put in place for all other arrivals.
However, Iceland has stressed that having a vaccination doesnâ€™t override the current travel restrictions â€“ only individuals who are already authorised to travel to Iceland may enter the country. Icelandâ€™s borders are only open to residents and citizens of EEA countries and Switzerland. Since the end of the Brexit transition period, the UK is considered a â€œthird countryâ€ and therefore citizens cannot travel to Iceland â€“ whether vaccinated or not â€“ unless they have a valid exemption, such as having Icelandic family member.
In December, Cyprus became the first European Union Member State to announce it was planning to abolish entry requirements like testing and quarantine for travellers who get vaccinated against Covid-19.
However, the government plan is not set to come into force until March, when vaccinated travellers will not need to meet other Covid-related entry rules as part of a bid to restart tourism.
Cyprus Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos revealed the plan in the Cyprus Mail.
â€œThe amended action plan is expected to further boost the interest of airline companies to carry out additional flights to Cyprus, improve connectivity and increase passenger traffic,â€ he said.
Those who have not been vaccinated must continue to meet testing and quarantine requirements to enter Cyprus.
Dubai shuts all bars and pubs for a month - THE INDEPENDENT UK
BY Cathy Adams
The move is one of a slew of restrictions introduced this month aimed at reducing cases in the city, which have climbed steadily in recent weeks.
Cinemas, plus entertainment and sports venues, will have their capacity restricted to 50 per cent.
Hotels, as well as hotel swimming pools and beaches, must operate at 70 per cent capacity.
Shopping malls will also operate at 70 per cent capacity.
Restaurants and cafes will remain open, but must shut by 1am.
â€œEnhanced precautionary measures will be stringently enforced,â€ according to the Dubai government.
â€œThe measures seek to further enhance efforts to combat Covid-19, and protect the health and safety of all citizens, residents and visitors.â€
The emirate already requires the wearing of face masks in public places, including outdoor spaces.
Last week, the United Arab Emirates was placed on the UKâ€™s â€œred listâ€ of countries, for which mandatory hotel quarantine is expected to be introduced later this month.
It joined another 32 countries, including Portugal, South Africa and much of South America, after the government announced plans to ramp up travel restrictions in a bid to stop new Covid-19 variants from entering the country.
The travel ban means all flights from Dubai and Abu Dhabi have been grounded until further notice.
Last week, Dubai tightened its entry requirements, axing the free testing on arrival option for British visitors.
A handful of Britons are currently stranded in Dubai for the foreseeable, including a number of influencers.
FG approves N1.3bn surveillance equipment for Lagos, Abuja airports - PUNCH
BY Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja
The Federal Executive Council on Wednesday approved a contract worth about N1.3bn for the design, supply, and installation of PTZ long-range tarmac camera surveillance system at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, disclosed this to State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja after a meeting of the council presided over by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
Mohammed briefed the journalists on behalf of the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika.
â€œThe total sum of the contract is N1,278,594,250. This is in order to upgrade and provide security and safety for the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, especially to avoid incidence on the air site and runway,â€ he said.
Mohammed added that the council approved a contract worth N783,521,275 inclusive of 7.5 per cent VAT for the procurement of two hydrographic survey boats for the National Inland Waterways Authority.
The minister who briefed journalists on behalf of the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, said the contract was awarded in favour of Messrs First Index Project and Services Limited with a completion period of six months.
Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, on his part, said the council approved N35bn for the building of a power station by the Nigerian Export Processing Zone Authority in Akamkpa, Cross River State.
Adebayo said the contract for the power station, which to power the Calabar Export Processing Zone, was awarded to Messrs Mutual Commitment Nigeria Limited.
According to him, the exact contract sum is N35,411,119,159.47 and the contractor will finance 75 per cent of the project, which is in the sum of N26,558,339,337.10 while the NEPZA would finance 25 per cent which translate to N8,852,779,792.37.
He said the council approved a payback period of 10 years of the contractorâ€™s portion.
Adebayo said on completion after 11 months, the plant will be operated by the contractor for five years during which it will build local capacity that will take over the running of the plant.
He said, â€œThe whole intention of the upgrade of the two zones is to create zones with world-class standards. The Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment is desirous of making Nigeria a manufacturing hub, especially now that we have signed on to the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.
â€œSo, by putting 24-hour power in the two processing zones, it will make it more attractive to foreign investors to come and set up manufacturing concerns here in Nigeria.â€
Difficult weekend awaits motorists as Third Mainland Bridge closes again - BUSINESSDAY
Another difficult commuting weekend awaits motorists on Third Mainland Bridge and the adjoining roads as Lagos State government says the bridge will be totally closed between midnight of Saturday, February 6 and 7pm on Sunday, February 7, 2021.
The total closure which will last for 19 hours on the Oworonshoki-bound lane of the bridge means vehicles will be diverted to adjoining roads and that will, expectedly, worsen traffic situation on those roads.
Apart from the long hours motorists will be spending on the roads, commuters will have to pay more as they did last weekend when they spent upwards of six hours commuting from Obalende to Oshodi, and paying N700 instead of N300 they used to pay for the same trip.
The state government explained in a statement on Wednesday that the closure of the bridge was to enable the contractor to remove the last expansion joint on the affected lane.
Fredric Oladeinde, the state Commissioner for Transportation, explained further that the closure was vital to enable the contractor to move their equipment to the Oworonshoki-bound lane within the given period without any interruptions that could be caused by vehicular movement on the bridge.
â€œThe rehabilitation process is being done assiduously to ensure set deadlines are met,â€ Oladeinde assured, advising motorists from Ogudu, Alapere and Gbagada to use Ikorodu Road, Jibowu and Yaba as alternative routes, while Iyana Oworosoki bound traffic from the Lagos Island, Iddo, Oyingbo, Adekunle and Yaba should use Herbert Macaulay Way, Jibowu and Ikorodu road as alternative routes.
He assured that traffic management personnel would be deployed along the affected routes to minimize and address any traffic impediments during the closure and appealed to residents to cooperate with the state government as the ongoing repair works on the bridge was for the safety of all and sundry.
â€œThe Governor Babajide Sanwo Olu-led administration will not relent in ensuring safety on Lagos roads,â€ the commissioner assured.
2021: National carrier, others may dictate the pace - THE SUN
By Chinelo Obogo
Year 2020 has, no doubt, been the worst year for the aviation industry in many decades. In Nigeria, an already financially challenged industry has to contend with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and an economic recession which experts say is the worst since 1983. Many domestic operators have had to cut cost by sacking staff, slashing salaries and reducing flight frequencies to avoid collapse.
The Federal Government recently intervened by providing N5 billion bailout, though experts say the amount is insufficient. But as the sector tries to recover, this report x-rays events expected to happen this year which will shake up the industry by providing jobs, curtailing capital flight, easing the leasing process for domestic airlines, encouraging foreign investment, improving aircraft maintenance turnaround time and generally develop the aviation sector.
AMCON to float new airline Early last month, the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) appointed the former Director of Flight Operations of Arik Air, Captain Abdullahi Mahmood as the Chief Executive Officer of Aero Contractors following the stepping down of Captain Ado Sanusi as Managing Director on December 31, 2020. AMCON took over the management of Aero in February 2016 and Arik Air in February, 2017 due to the huge debts owed to both local and foreign creditors, with a view to repositioning them.
As many in the industry wondered what would become of Captain Sanusi, information emerged that he has already been penciled down by AMCON to take over Nigerian Eagle, a new airline which would be floated by the agency, while Captain Roy Ilegbodu would continue as Arik Airâ€™s CEO.
Nigerian Eagle was incorporated on July 11, 2019 with share capital of 1,000,000,000 units and shareholders are AMCON, 499,999,999 units, while Omokhide Alaba has one unit and is very likely to begin commercial operations by the second quarter of the year.
In order to get an Air Operating Certificate (AOC) from the NCAA, Daily Sun gathered that three aircraft would be brought in for Nigerian Eagle and four more would be added when it starts domestic operations.
AMCON took over the management of Arik Air in February 2017 when the airline had 26 aircraft but before then, Arik bought Boeing 737-700, Boeing 737-80, Bombardier Q400 and Bombardier CRJ as brand new aircraft and still has pending orders from the plane manufacturers for seven Boeing 787-9 and 12 Boeing 737 max. Industry sources say that Nigerian Eagle and would commence with domestic operations before veering off into international flights but there have been concerns raised over what would become of Arik Air and Aero after AMCON floats the new airline.
Presently, Arik Air doesnâ€™t have up to eight operational aircraft, while Aero has even less and the AMCON Act gives the agency immunity against litigation. The head of corporate communications of AMCON, Jude Nwauzor, says both airlines would still be operational as AMCON has no plans to liquidate them, or else, there would have been no need to appoint a new MD for Aero.
While confirming that Captain Sanusi has been designated to head the new airline, Nwauzor said the agency has other aircraft that would be deployed from other airlines and not necessarily from Arik Air. For Aero, one of its assets is its functional Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO), an essential requirement to ensure that aircraft are maintained in pre-determined conditions of airworthiness to safely support passengers and cargo.
Daily Sun learned that the Ibru family which originally owned the airline, acquired about 40 percent stake after AMCON took over it and are being kept in the loop over the happenings but that there are no plans to take over the facility. New airlines United Nigeria, Cally Air, Green Africa are also expected to commence operations in the second and third quarter of the year.
The chief executive officer of United Airlines, Obiorah Okonkwo, a businessman and owner of The Dome Entertainment Limited, Abuja, told journalists that what has delayed commencement of operations is the one-year rehabilitation of the Akanu Ibiam Airport, Enugu, where the airline is based. He said that as soon as normal flight operations resume at the airport, the company will take off with five aircraft already on the ground. The routes the airline will operate are Lagos, Abuja, Asaba, Owerri in addition to Enugu and Port Harcourt.
The airline recently carried out a demo flights from the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, to Sam Mbakwe International Airport, Owerri. It has already received its Air Operator Certificate (AOC) from the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and Aerokeys has undertaken the training of its crew. Cally Air is a proposed joint venture between the Cross River State government and Dana group, owners of Dana Air.
The state Governor, Ben Ayade, told journalists that the venture is part of his effort to increase tourism in the state. Using the stateâ€™s Dash 8-200 5N-GRS, the airline plans to start flights later in the year that would operate from its Calabar hub and fly to Lagos, Abuja and Obudu where the stateâ€™s famous Obudu Cattle Ranch resort is located. Presently, only Ibom Air and Air Peace flies to Calabar. Green Africa airline, owned by Babawande Afolabi, has submitted applications to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for its AOC to commence operations.
In October 2020, the airline entered into a partnership with First City Monument Bank (FCMB), which yielded $31 million in a combination of standby letter of credit and rolling working capital and in December 2020, it sent its pilots on a type-rating training and recruited cabin crew members. The airline earlier ordered 50 A220-300s aircraft from Airbus which it plans to launch as it commences operations later in the year.
MRO The establishment of an MRO and aviation leasing company would be one of the most crucial achievements of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration and would be a huge boost for the industry. According to the Ministry of Aviation, the establishment of both facilities would curtail capital flight, ease the leasing process for domestic airlines, encourage foreign investment, enhance technology transfer to Nigerians, improve aircraft maintenance turnaround time and generally develop the aviation sector.
The Ministry said that there is presently no aviation leasing company in the entire African continent and the existing ones are controlled by major international lessors who are usually reluctant to lease aircraft to African airlines because of the risks involved. For the MRO, the Ministry said the plan is to have an independent facility which would be sited at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and would cater to the West and Central African market and will also service the proposed national carrier and the leasing company.
It said most airlines take their aircraft oversees for maintenance and the cost is ernomous. The leasing company would be structured as a joint venture between the FG and the private investor, where in the short term, aircraft would be leased from international lessors and sub-leased to African airlines but the long term plan is to acquire, own and lease aircraft directly to African airlines.
The MRO would have the capacity to service narrow and wide body aircraft and the government would support this venture by establishing a free zone at the airports. Already, the Ministry has announced the Consortium of A J Walters Leasing Limited and Glovesly Pro-Project Limited as the preferred bidder to establish the leasing company; while the Consortium of A J Walters Aviation Limited, EgyptAir Maintenance & Engineering (EGME) and Glovesly Pro-Project Limited as the preferred bidder to establish the MRO. A J Walters Leasing (AJW Leasing) is the leasing subsidiary of A J Walter Group.
The company optimises airline fleet strategies by leasing aircraft engines and spare parts. It manages a substantial portfolio of leases and has a customer base of 22 airlines in more than 20 countries. Glovesly Pro-Project Limited is an indigenous and integrated company incorporated under the laws of Nigeria. The company has the capacity to contribute to the challenging and growing requirements in the Aviation industry, communication, power sector, building construction, civil engineering, Road Construction and General procurement.
EgyptAir Maintenance & Engineering (EGME) is a leading MRO in the Middle East and Africa offering Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) services to commercial aircraft, engines and components, with a customer base of over 81 airlines. Glovesly Pro-Project Limited is an indigenous and integrated company incorporated under the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In compliance with the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) guidelines, a delegation from the Federal Ministry of Aviation, ICRC and the Transaction Advisers will conduct a physical due diligence exercise on the preferred bidders at their operational premises.
This will precede negotiations between the Government and the bidders, after which the Full Business Case for each project will be submitted and approved by the ICRC and the Federal Executive Council.
Subsequently agreements will be signed between the preferred bidders and the Federal Government of Nigeria and implementation of the projects are expected to commence by the third quarter of this year. Proposed concession of airports.
The planned concessioning of four major international airports was supposed to kick off this year but the opposition by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Federal House of Representatives may stall the process. Sirika had planned to push ahead with the concession the international airports in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt this year and Kano but the NLC is putting pressure on President Buhari to call for the scrapping of the plans. Aviation unions say that the concession which will see the concessionaire get 60 percent of the revenue sharing formula while the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) gets 40 percent and still has to service the Chinese debt of over one billion US dollars is dead on arrival, providing facts that have spurred their agitation about the plan.
The NLC president, Ayuba Wabba, alleged that the concession would only maximise profit for a few individuals at the expense of tax payers and that the fine lines in the tender documents exempts the would-be concessionaire(s) from improving any facility at the airports in the next 25 years. It alluded to a potential hemorrhage of government revenue, industrial crisis which will follow the massive layoff of workers stating that there is no compelling reason to gift away national assets to private hand who would not improve on what is all through their stay as concessionaires.
The NLC also puts FAANâ€™s current revenue generation into account, stating that the airport manager currently generates enough to pay N70 billion into the coffers of government annually.
â€œAs it is, FAAN currently generates about N100 billion into the coffers of the government yearly. When FAAN expenditure of about N30 billion is removed from the net income of N100billion generated by it, there is a handsome N70billion left to government to re-invest in the maintenance and upgrade of our airports,â€Wabba said.
In response to the unions, the Director, Public Affairs, Ministry of Aviation, James Odaudu, posted a lengthy statement on the official Facebook page of the ministry, saying the ministry does not approve infrastructure concession programme as the role is independently played by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC Establishment Act 2005).
It said the ICRC is Nigeriaâ€™s regulatory agency responsible for regulating all infrastructure concessions and Public-Private-Partnerships in Nigeria. â€œConcessions and public-private-partnerships differ from privatization programmes. In a concession or PPP, the assets remain the property of the government and so are subject to the regulations and processes already outlined. Private programme, which is not at all what this programe is, are driven by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and involve a full or partial sale of equity in the asset, thus a transfer of ownership to private parties,â€ Odaudu said.
â€˜NPA working against our interestâ€™, WLFCA boss - THE NATION
The Chairman of the Lagos State Wharf Landing Fee Collecting Authority (WLFCA), Prince Gboyega Salvador-Adebayo has stated that the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has consistently worked against the interest of the agency.
But notwithstanding this, he said, the Authority has not relented in its zeal to continue the collection of the fees (meant for the local government) as there are plans to work with the Lagos State Ministry of Justice in order to prosecute erring importers.
â€œNPA is our major challenge. I wonder why an agency of government will undermine the Joint Tax Board and the Federal Ministry of Finance. The law establishing this Authority has already been gazette,â€ he said.
According to the Chairman, because of the illegal fees being collected by NPA inside the ports, it has consistently refused to cooperate with his WLFCA, even after a meeting was held last year between the two authorities.
He accused the management of the NPA of not being straight forward, as after a meeting was held between the two bodies last year, NPA changed its position and refused to recognise the WLFCA.