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Tourists Escape to Cooler Scandinavia Instead of Europe’s Hottest Spots - BLOOMBERG

JULY 03, 2024

(Bloomberg) -- Planning his graduation trip to Europe, Jaeger Lajewski pondered Italy’s renaissance buildings and Greece’s ancient monuments. But with those places now even hotter and more humid than his native New Jersey, he went for less traditional Scandinavia. 

“We wanted to go somewhere a little bit cooler and more temperate,” the architecture graduate from University of Virginia says while milling around the ferries that take tourists out to the Stockholm archipelago. “Going to Italy, Greece or Croatia would have been really, really hot as well. And we wanted to see something different. We haven’t really explored this region of Europe before.” 

From wildfires to extreme heat, global warming has created new threats to Europe’s top summer destinations. This past May marked the 12th-consecutive month of record-breaking temperatures for the planet, with the global average 1.52C higher than pre-industrial levels. Already this year Greece has been forced to close its famous Acropolis during the hottest parts of the day to keep tourists safe from deadly heat. 

Lajewski and his friends aren’t the only ones to forego endless sun in southern Europe for cooler weather up north. It’s a trend that’s become so popular there’s now a name for it, “coolcationing,” promoted by lifestyle magazines and marketers around the world. Vacationers seeking respite from unbearable heat have the potential to bolster Scandinavia’s travel and tourism industry, which added an estimated $124 billion to the regional economy in 2023, up about 6% from the year before.  

The Nordic businesses that spoke with Bloomberg — from tour operators to gift shops — predict this could be a bumper year. Scandinavia is “having a moment” with a 27% rise in bookings compared to last summer, says Misty Belles, spokeswoman for Virtuoso, a network for some 20,000 luxury travel advisers. Sweden, alone, has seen a 47% bump, she says. Italy, by contrast, is only up 3%. Flight searches from UK airports to Copenhagen, Bergen, Norway and Stockholm for this summer are also up by double-digit percentages, according to travel search engine KAYAK.

Research commissioned by the European Union shows that a warming world has the potential to create a tectonic shift in travel on the continent. In its most alarming scenario, where global average temperatures increase by 4C, Greece could see tourism demand slump by more than 7%, compared with 2019. By the same account, Sweden, Denmark and Finland would see demand rise by more than 6%.

While Scandinavia isn’t totally immune to the extreme weather brought on by global warming, debilitating heat waves are still very rare. Temperatures tend to be at least 10C (18F) below southern Europe and a cool breeze is more typical than the choking humidity familiar further south. 

That’s conducive for the wide range of activities on offer. While it’s perfectly possible to spend a week chilling on the beach in Denmark (the best ones are rivaling those in the Mediterranean), more foreigners come for the hiking, reindeers and northern lights. Or to explore the trendy art, design and culture scenes in Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen. Winter tourism is also getting a boost because of the lack of snow in the Alps, with resorts upgrading to meet the standards of an international clientele. 

Still, it is a disturbing reality that climate change is impacting a time of the year many people hope to switch off from life’s stresses. A VisitDenmark survey among more than 9,000 people across seven European countries found that almost half had experienced extreme weather on their holidays last year, including heat waves. Two thirds said they will change their behavior as a result. This could mean booking trips at other times of the year or closer to departure, as well as picking other destinations or even limiting traveling abroad. 

At Copenhagen’s Tivoli amusement park, which opened in 1843 and still sports a roller coaster made of wood, staff say they have seen a change in the usual mix of visitors from nearby Sweden or Norway. More guests from southern Europe, Latin America, the US, UK and Asia are entering through the gates. 

Among those taking in the sights and rides at Tivoli, was a group of tourists from New Delhi. They booked their holiday in early June, when the weather in Copenhagen was mixed, with temperatures between 10C and 20C. 

“We live in heat, we live in so much sun, so we wanted some colder weather,” says Rishi Khan, a textile merchant. “Back home it’s 50 degrees [Celsius]. One day it even reached 52, so we decided to come to Europe to experience cooler temperatures...Denmark was a good choice.”

Over in Stockholm, foreign languages could be heard all around the main tourist hotspots on one sunny morning in late June. English, Spanish, German and French speakers chatted as they meandered through the narrow alleyways of the oldest part of the city dating back to the Middle Ages. Outside the palace, home of the Swedish monarch, a group of Brazilian teenagers were watching a Royal Guards parade with horses and music. 

Climate change isn’t the full story behind Scandinavia’s tourism uptick. Currency depreciation in Norway and Sweden have made those countries more attractive to foreigners. The region is also in many ways benefiting from a rising tide in post-Covid travel around the world. And southern Europe is still attracting more travelers this summer — despite the risks extreme temperatures pose to the human body. The heat-related death of British celebrity doctor Michael Mosley on the Greek island of Symi in early June made grim headlines, but tourists are continuing to flood Athens airport.  

Nordic tourism agencies are keen to pitch their region as a place where travelers can safely explore the great outdoors in the middle of summer. “When you have these heat waves on the continent, the playgrounds are too hot for children to play, attractions are closed and you end up having to stay indoors most of the time,” says Nina Kjonigsen, a spokeswoman for Visit Norway. “People want to be outside during summer and enjoy themselves — to bike, hike, eat, play — so more people are starting to look toward the north.”

At the Aker Brygge harbour in Oslo, a family of four from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, is relaxing on a bench. The sun is out and at 26C, it’s unusually warm. The kids ask for sunblock from their mother, Sara Batterjee, an interior designer. The family usually goes to southern or central Europe for their summer holidays, Batterjee says, but after getting increasingly concerned by extreme weather, they headed to the Nordics for the first time. 

“We came for the amazing scenery, and of course for the weather,” she says. “We went to Switzerland last summer, we had a lot of fun, but it was too hot. So we thought let’s go a bit north to explore more pleasant weather.”

As 2024 is on track to be the hottest year on record, Batterjee says the warmer weather will impact how they travel in the future. “We will come back to Norway, for sure,” she says. “Now we are trying to find the best route, flying from Jeddah.”

Even on the Nordic periphery, in the far north of the Atlantic, Iceland is benefiting from a 49% increase in bookings this summer, according to Virtuoso. Cruise ships are making more frequent stops on routes between Canada, Greenland and Norway, giving a jolt to the local economy, says Johanna Carlsen, who runs the office for Gateway to Iceland. 

“I have also driven many people as a taxi driver who are fleeing the hot climate at home,” says Carlsen. “There is a great increase from South America and the hotter states of the US.”

Bangladeshi-born Shakhawat Hossain agrees. His tourist store in Stockholm’s old town sells everything from hoodies and caps to fridge magnets and cups. He’s run the shop for 10 years and says that business is booming again, largely due to more foreign tourists after a Covid plunge. He expects sales to jump about 15% this summer from last year. 

A few doors down is a Swedish handicraft store. Sales assistant Nour, who didn’t want to give his surname, says that the peak season started much earlier this year, with a lot of tourists from abroad. The boom began with Americans heading over to see Taylor Swift and hasn’t stopped. The pop star held three concerts on May 17-19 in Stockholm as part of the European leg of The Eras Tour.

To be sure, coolcations may be a bit of a misnomer. After all, it can get beachy hot in Scandinavian cities in the summer. When Khan and his friends visited Tivoli, Copenhagen had its hottest day of the year with the mercury exceeding 30C. Also, climate change means average temperatures are rising everywhere — and this is especially true in latitudes furthest away from the equator, which are warming at the greatest rate. Meanwhile, global warming doesn’t just mean heat, but also increased risks for natural disasters like floods and wildfires.

Back in Stockholm, Kazu Hirano, a mechanical engineer from Japan, is admiring the view over the parliament building from the palace. He’s taking in the city for five days with his partner before flying south to the center of the European heat. The conference in Athens he was looking forward to attending no longer appeals.

“It’s going to be really hot!” he says. “I’m worried.”

--With assistance from Sara Sjolin, Heidi Taksdal Skjeseth, Kari Lundgren, Sanne Wass, Nikki Ekstein, Jonas Ekblom, Ragnhildur Sigurdardottir and Kate Duffy.

Binance: Crypto platforms impose 7.5VAT on transactions - PUNCH

JULY 04, 2024

By Justice Okamgba

Cryptocurrency firms operating in the country have started to implement a 7.5 per 7.5-cent Value Added Tax on all transactions carried out on their platforms.

The development came a few months after the Federal Government charged Binance for reportedly failing to pay taxes.

 KuCoin, a cryptocurrency exchange operating in Nigeria, announced on Wednesday that starting July 8, 2024, it would begin charging users a 7.5 per cent Value-Added Tax on transaction fees.

KuCoin disclosed this update in a statement posted on its official X account. The new policy specifies that the 7.5 per cent VAT will be applied to the transaction fee, not the total transaction amount.


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For instance, if a user buys $1,000 worth of Bitcoin (BTC) with a 0.1 per cent fee rate, the transaction fee would be $1. The VAT would be 7.5 per cent of the fee, which is $0.075, resulting in a net transaction amount of $998.925.

“We are writing to inform you of an important regulatory update that impacts our users in the Republic of Nigeria. Starting from July 8, 2024, we will begin collecting a Value-Added Tax (VAT) at a rate of 7.5 per cent on transaction fees in each trade for users whose KYC information is registered in Nigeria,” the exchange said.

KuCoin clarified that the VAT will be applied to all transaction types on its platform and is a regulatory requirement for users in Nigeria.

At the time of this report, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) had yet to release an official statement on the development.

The Founder and Coordinator, of Blockchain Nigeria User Group, Chimezie Chuta, confirmed the development with The PUNCH.

He said the implementation of VAT on crypto transactions by KuCoin signifies the Nigerian government’s recognition of crypto as an asset class.

“I honestly see this as an acknowledgement of crypto as an asset class in Nigeria by the government,” Chuta enthused.

However, Chuta emphasised the need for the FIRS to provide clear guidelines on the VAT applicability of digital assets.

“What I think is needed is for FIRS to provide clarity on digital assets being VATable in Nigeria. FIRS should also issue clear guidelines on the matter,” he said.

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Chuta pointed out that it is not ideal for operators to rely solely on KuCoin’s VAT release to determine their tax obligations.

“There is a need for standardization and clarity,” he added, underscoring the importance of official regulatory frameworks for the burgeoning digital asset sector in Nigeria.

The Federal Inland Revenue Services said the crypto firms were only complying with the Federal Government regulations on VAT.

Reacting to an enquiry, Dare Adekanmbi, Special Adviser on Media to the FIRS chairman, said, “By the decision to inform its clients that VAT will henceforth be charged on transactions on its platform, KuCoin has demonstrated readiness to comply with the extant tax laws in Nigeria and this should be commended.  We at FIRS are glad that corporate organisations are showing readiness to comply with the laws of the country as far as revenue collection is concerned. This is what a responsible corporate body should do without being prompted or press-ganged.

According to the agency, the mantra of the FIRS Chairman,  Zacch Adedeji, is that companies should ensure voluntary compliance with our tax laws.

“FIRS the chairman would always say that the agency is not a law enforcement body that should be running after companies with horsewhip before they pay their taxes. Don’t also forget that the Nigerian market is so huge and these crypto coys are interested in business in the most populous Black nation. With our recent action against one of them, it is pleasing that others who want to expand their businesses or want to enter the country newly have taken a cue from that action,” he added.

The Federal Government initially signaled its intention to tax cryptocurrency transactions in 2022 when the Finance Act was revised to include a 10 per cent tax on profits from digital assets, encompassing cryptocurrencies.

Kucoin, which operates globally, suspended all peer-to-peer (P2P) trading and fast-buy services via naira on May 15, 2024.

This decision came after the Securities and Exchange Commission stopped P2P transactions across all cryptocurrency platforms.

In recent months, cryptocurrency platforms have been subjected to intense scrutiny following the exit of Binance, which was accused by the Nigerian government of manipulating the naira-to-dollar exchange rate.

Binance was charged with four counts of tax evasion, including failing to pay company income tax and value-added tax, alongside its executives, Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla. However, the FIRS later dropped the charges against the executives and named only Binance as the defendant.

The exchange was accused of failing to register for tax purposes with Nigerian authorities and facilitating tax evasion for its users.

The tax issues were part of a broader investigation by Nigerian authorities into Binance’s alleged attempts to manipulate the country’s currency.

World Bank revises Nigeria’s digital ID project as country fails to meet critical targets - BIOMETRIC UPDATE

JULY 04, 2024

Some implementation adjustments have been made to the Nigeria Digital Identity for Development (Nigeria ID4D) project sponsored by the World Bank (WB) and two other international financiers (the French Development Agency and the European Investment Bank).

The project was due to close on June 30 2024 with Nigeria required to have enrolled at least 148 million people for national digital ID. But this and other targets are yet to be met.

In a Disclosable Restructuring Paper on the Nigeria ID4D, the World Bank indicated that readjusting the project became inevitable after two co-financiers said they would discontinue their involvement in the project if the World Bank stopped being the lead implementor.

“The World Bank is the lead implementer for this project which is co financed by French Development Agency (AFD) and European Investment Bank (EIB). Both AFD and EIB have closing dates in 2026 and 2027 respectively. Both co-financers have indicated that they will cancel their financing if the World Bank is no longer the lead financier and implementor of this project,” reads a portion the WB paper.

“As such, it is critical that the World Bank extend the closing date of the project to allow continuity across all co-financers and avoid any disruptions to good progress made so far and to safeguard the positive impact it has had on Nigeria’s digital identity infrastructure.”

Funding to the tune of $430 million was approved for the Nigeria ID4D project in February 2020, with a couple of targets set for the country to meet before the closing deadline of June 30, 2024.

The project was principally meant to expand national ID issuance in Nigeria to simplify access to important services, based on a foundational identity system that is robust and inclusive.

With some of the targets such as the amendment of the NIMC Act and the expansion of the ABIS to allow for more data storage yet to be fully met, the new proposed deadline for the project is now June 30, 2026.

In the paper, the World Bank describes the project journey as “moderately satisfactory” with a 37.37 disbursement rate, pointing out that it faced a 22-month delay at the start of the implementation process for a number of reasons.

This notwithstanding, the Bretton Woods institution acknowledges that the project has also made “considerable progress on project activities” as Nigeria has been able to meet two critical disbursement conditions, which are the putting in place of a personal data protection legislation, and the acceptability of the national identity management system (NIMS). However, with the project extension, the NIMC is expected to design and implement a new NIMS to enable authentication services.

There are hopes that the NIMC Act, whose amendment is expected to “promote an inclusive and non-discriminatory legal and regulatory framework” will see the light of day by September, while the ABIS storage expansion contracted to Idemia is expected by March next year, the WB paper projects.

Other than the failure to meet certain targets for funding disbursement, the World Bank indicates in its paper that the adjustments reflect the changing realities of the moment and underline the Nigerian government’s determination to build digital public infrastructure (DPI) including a trusted and inclusive digital ID as a channel for ensuring quick and convenient access to public services.

The project extension is thus described as “indispensable” for the realization of this goal of having an “inclusive and trusted ID system that will strengthen the transparency, efficiency, and effectiveness of governance and the delivery of public services and programs.”

The Nigeria ID4D, implemented by the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), was conceived with four key objectives, namely to strengthen the legal and institutional framework, put in place a foundational ID system that is inclusive and robust, facilitate access to services through a national identity, and then ensure management and coordination of the system once it’s up and running

IATA Commends Nigeria For Clearing $831m Foreign Airlines’ Trapped Funds -

JULY 04, 2024

By Abdullateef Aliyu

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has commended the Nigerian government for clearing the backlog of foreign airlines’ trapped funds, amounting to over $831 million USD.

IATA’s regional vice president for Africa and the Middle East, Mr Kamil Al-Awadhi, delivered the message during his opening address at the association’s Wings of Change Focus Africa conference holding in South Africa.

The commendation was given in the presence of the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr Festus Keyamo at the event.

Daily Trust reports that Nigeria used to be the only country in Africa holding the largest amount of trapped funds belonging to foreign airlines, owing largely to the liquidity crisis in the foreign exchange market.

Al-Awadhi, according to a statement by Tunde Moshood, SA Media and Communications to Keyamo, highlighted the negative impacts of trapped funds on foreign airlines in various countries and applauded Nigeria for its effective resolution of the issue.

Meanwhile, Keyamo emphasized the critical role of African Foreign Affairs Ministers in the implementation of the Yamoussoukro Declaration (YD) and the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM).

During the plenary discussion, Keyamo advocated the inclusion of foreign affairs ministers in driving the full operationalisation of these initiatives.

He argued that since these ministers were responsible for setting the agenda for the African Union (AU) Summit, it is essential for them to prioritise the YD and SAATM to ensure that political decisions are made to overcome existing challenges.

Despite Efforts to Entrench Transparency, Fraudulent Activities Pervade Passport Offices Nationwide - THISDAY

JULY 05, 2024

BY  Chinedu Eze

Despite the efforts by the Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo to ensure transparent passport processing and to make applicants receive their passports in less than 36 hours after application, the system still encounters delays as obtained in the past, THISDAY investigation has revealed.

Inside sources in the National Immigration Services (NIS) confirmed that fraudulent activities by touts and others still hold sway because of the stringent conditions attached to the process.

Last year, the Minister of Interior promised that from February this year, no Nigerian would wait for more than two weeks before obtaining his international passport and also assured that soon passports would be delivered to the homes of applicants.

So far, none of these promises has been fulfilled even as THISDAY investigation revealed that many Nigerians who request for passports cannot fill the forms online because of their level of education; so, they seek the support of touts and others who carry out the filling of the forms and payment online.

THISDAY learnt that this is common among traders in the markets in Lagos, in South East and among many Nigerians in the northern part of the country.

It was learnt that some applicants who approach passport control officers are assigned loyal NIS officials who in turn charge additional fees.

THISDAY also learnt that the request for local government identification, date of birth in addition to National Identification Number (NIN) for reissuance of passports has made it very difficult for some applicants to obtain new passports.

As a result, they resort to engaging the services of touts who cook up all kinds of documents as local government identity and print them in colour in order to meet that requirement.

An Immigration official explained to THISDAY that the Ministry of Interior wanted to disengage from the foreign organisations that hitherto printed passport booklets for Nigeria and in doing that government has to build new data base, hence the request that applicants should supply all the needed data, even on reissue of passports.

Informed source also told THISDAY despite the fact that the Minister of Interior approved the installation of solar power at passport offices in the country, and approved N2 million to Passport Control Officers (PCOs) in states for purchase of diesel for generators when the solar energy cannot provide electricity, the PCOs and other NIS officials and their collaborators still engage in sleaze.

“The truth is that you do not get your passport before one month, so the idea of getting it in two weeks is not possible. Passport booklets are available but few weeks ago the 10-year booklet was scarce and I have to confirm if it has become available. Truth is that the problem is even worse now in some passport offices. Touts are still doing their thing unchecked. The same racket still goes on in the reissue of passports and nobody is doing anything about it,” an insider told THISDAY.

Another Immigration official from the headquarters in Abuja told THISDAY, “The truth is that there are some Nigerians who are not lettered enough to go online and fill their passport form. If you go to Alaba, Aria Aria in Aba and other places you will see young men and women who can afford travelling to anywhere but they cannot fill those forms online. They engage others to do that for them and they are willing to pay. If you go to the north, most of them cannot fill those forms online; so, their brothers and sisters who are Immigration officials help them to fill those forms.

“Then around the passports officers are cybercafes mostly owned by top officials of Immigration, which are managed by their relatives or friends. There is no way you can trace he cafes to the officials but you will know it is not easy for ordinary person to open such café around Ikoyi Passport Office, for example. So, as long as the conditions given for the obtaining of passport cannot be met by the majority of the citizens, fraudulent activities will continue to go on. Some people who don’t know how to write their names will meet the PCOs and ask, how much is it going to cost? You state you price and help them out. So, government should be realistic about all these.”

Before the new conditions for reissue, applicants were only needed to bring their old passport and their NIN, but now they have to include identification from the local government, birth certificate and the other requirements.

Many of the Nigeria Immigration officials believe that the idea of taking the printing of passports from the old contactors to the new has nothing to do with patriotism, but other people making money from the deal. However, the Minister proved them wrong when he spoke about it when he visited the Lagos airport to inspect the e-gate in May.

 “We realised that the NIS, the data center, was not really there. And of course, we were leveraging on a private company’s data center. Of course, we appreciate them for that assistance, but we think that it is better sometimes to create a permanent solution to problems, rather than quick fixes.  We could have done it in February. It is not a problem doing it. But I tell you, we had to build a data center from scratch, to be able to keep the integrity of our data and our national security intact. It is very key. It is more important to me than what anybody might feel. So it is about national security. And I can assure you, we have completed the data center now, which is one of the biggest we have in Nigeria. 

“It is a tier 4, 1.4 pentabyte data center. It is comparable with anyone you can find anywhere in the world. The command and control center that we have built in Abuja, even International Air Transport Association (IATA), came to Nigeria from the headquarters in Canada and confirmed that this is comparable to even the best in the world. Because we believe, under the renewed hope administration, Nigerians do not deserve what is good, they deserve what is best. What can be compared all over the world. We must not belittle the expectation of Nigerians. So in view of this, we built the data center. We have sorted the passport delivery solution. They’ve done the final presentation in terms of the technology deliverable, because of the ease, we have to integrate it to the available application and, of course, the tracking solution, which will all be embedded in the application that we have at this particular moment, so that you don’t create multiple lines of failure,” the minister said.

He projected that his plan for two weeks processing time for passport and possible delivery to applicant’s home might begin in June, but in the first week of July, the status quo remains.

“So, we are looking at about two, three weeks after 1st of June, maybe 2nd or 3rd week of June, we will be able to start, and we are not starting from everywhere, because sometimes if you overload the system, you can cause the system damage. You can crash the system. You can shock the system. So what we are doing is we are going to start the home delivery for Lagos, for Rivers, just Lagos, Rivers, which is Port Harcourt, Kano, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kano, Abuja, those four places in Nigeria. and of course, the US, the UK in the Diaspora. We are starting with these two countries in the Diaspora, so we use it to do a proof of concept, test it, and see that it works,” the minister further said.

Although, his projection did not materialise as planned, industry pundits assert that there is no doubt that the inister has shown sincere commitment to make passport access easy for Nigerians.

Maersk Warns of Extreme Weather Delays Along South African Coast - BLOOMBERG

JULY 08, 2024

BY Paul BurkhardtBloomberg News

The MSC Loreto container ship leaves the Port of Felixstowe, owned by a unit of CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd., in Felixstowe, UK, on Thursday, May 2, 2024. AP Moller-Maersk A/S, a bellwether for global trade, said a strong start to the year has improved the outlook for container trade demand worldwide. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

The MSC Loreto container ship leaves the Port of Felixstowe, owned by a unit of CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd., in Felixstowe, UK, on Thursday, May 2, 2024. AP Moller-Maersk A/S, a bellwether for global trade, said a strong start to the year has improved the outlook for container trade demand worldwide. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg , Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S warned extreme weather conditions and a storm surge lashing the South African coast are expected to cause shipping delays.

An intense cold front bringing snow to some areas of the country is resulting in damaging coastal winds, rains and waves that threaten infrastructure, the South African Weather Service forecast Sunday. High-speed winds winds could also pose difficulty to navigation in some offshore areas.

There’s been an increase in vessels using the route as ships avoid attacks in the Red Sea. The impact of the disruption has been most acutely felt in container shipping, with about 690 vessels currently sailing around the Cape of Good Hope.

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The conditions “will impact vessel movement and operations” along the South African coastline, over the next few days, especially between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, where the worst impact may occur, Maersk said in a statement on Monday. “Vessels are expected to seek shelter/alter their course to avoid the impacted areas, please expect delays over the next few days.”

South Africa’s state-owned logistics company Transnet SOC Ltd. is already struggling with turning around the performance of its ports, seeking private investment and replacing equipment that’s more capable of operating in extreme weather. The harbors rank among the worst globally, according to a World Bank study whose methodology Transnet disputes.

The South African Weather Service predicted conditions through Monday including waves of up to 10 meters in the southwest, along with gale to strong gale force north-westerly to westerly winds and heavy rainfall. 

FULL LIST: FG Grounds 10 Private Jets’ Operations - DAILY POST

JULY 08, 2024

By Abdullateef Aliyu

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has suspended the permits of 10 private jet operators over illegal operation.

The affected operators which had their Permit for Non-Commercial Flight (PNCF) suspended had failed to undergo a recertification process as directed by the regulatory authority.

This was after revelations that most of the operators were abusing the PNCF and using their jets for commercial flights or what is simply called in aviation parlance as hire and reward.

Daily Trust reports that the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations 2023 Part 18.3.4 forbids holders of PNCF from using their aircraft for CARRIAGE OF PASSENGERS, CARGO or MAIL for HIRE or REWARD (commercial operation or charter services).

    Following the flagrant disregard of this rule, the NCAA had earlier directed all holders of PNCF to undergo re-evaluation which should have been concluded by the 19th of April 2024.

    To this end, the NCAA has suspended the permit of 10 operators.

    Those affected include:

    • Azikel Dredging Nigeria Ltd
    • Bli-Aviation Safety Services
    • Ferry Aviation Developments Ltd
    • Matrix Energy Ltd
    • Marrietta Management Services Ltd
    • Worldwide Skypaths Services
    • Mattini Airline Services Ltd
    • Aero Lead Ltd
    • Sky Bird Air Ltd
    • Ezuma Jets Ltd.

    In a statement by its Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, Michael Achimugu, the NCAA told the public “that it is illegal to engage PNCF holders for commercial purposes.”

    “The NCAA will not hesitate to initiate enforcement actions against any PNCF holder found guilty of illegal operations.

    “Furthermore, NCAA officials have been deployed to General Aviation Terminals (GAT) and private wings of the airports to monitor activities of the PNCF holders,” the statement added.

    Queues Resurface As NNPC Incurs $6bn Petrol Payment Backlogs - DAILY PSOT

    JULY 08, 2024

    Long queues are snaking back at petrol stations across Africa’s biggest economy, raising fresh concerns about shortages as the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd (NNPCL) struggles with a staggering $6 billion petrol payment backlog.

    BusienssDay reports that NNPC owes around $6 billion to international traders for imported petrol as traders said the state-owned company is taking more days to make payment instead of within 90 days. It quoted Reuters as saying that NNPC’s mounting debt, which includes overdue payments exceeding $4 billion-$5 billion for January imports alone as several international petrol suppliers have ceased participating in recent tenders.

    “The only reason traders are putting up with it is the $250,000 a month (per cargo) for late payment compensation,” one industry source told Reuters.

    The payment delays underscore the creeping return of fuel subsidies – scrapped in May 2023 – that sap NNPC’s cash for imports and what it can send to President Bola Tinubu’s government.

    At least two suppliers already stopped participating in recent tenders after hitting self-imposed debt exposure limits to Nigeria, the sources said, meaning they will not send more gasoline until they receive payments.

    NNPC’s suppliers, including international traders like Vitol, Mercuria and Gunvor as well as Nigeria-based trading houses declined to be named because they are not authorised to speak to the media. The trading firms declined to comment.

    BusinessDay’s findings showed traders thrive in risky environments, but they place limits on how much credit they allocate per trade to avoid too much exposure on one borrower. These limits vary by company based on their size and where they operate.

    As a result, Nigeria’s tenders to buy petrol in June and July were smaller, traders told Reuters.

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    NNPC will import via tender about 850,000 tonnes in July, two of the sources said, down from the typical 1 million tonnes in previous months.

    The above development means Nigerians are once again facing long queues and petrol scarcity across major cities, according to findings by BusinessDay.

    Reports indicated that queues have reappeared in Lagos, Abuja, and other major cities across the country. Culled from Business Day

    Houston Will Feel Like 106F as Millions Remain Without Power - BLOOMBERG

    JULY 09, 2024

    (Bloomberg) -- Houston is set for a dangerous bout of heat as more than 2 million homes and businesses remain without power in the area around the nation’s fourth-largest city after Hurricane Beryl’s battering. 

    The region is under a heat advisory, with heat index values — a measure of how hot it feels when humidity is factored in — forecast as high as 106F (41C), the US National Weather Service said, warning of the possibility of illness under the extreme conditions. Actual temperatures will exceed 90F. 

    While those temperatures aren’t unusual for Houston at this time of year, scorching weather and humidity combined with the lack of power will make for brutal conditions, as people won’t be able to turn on air conditioners for a break from the heat. The sweltering conditions and significant power outages are both expected to last for days.

    “It can be pretty uncomfortable, especially without power,” said Bob Oravec, lead forecaster at the US Weather Prediction Center. Real temperatures will likely be in the mid 90s for the next few days, which is typical for this time of year. “It’s average hot, but that’s still pretty hot.” 

    As of Tuesday morning, about 2.3 million homes and businesses were still without power in eastern Texas, concentrated in the Houston area, according to PowerOutage.us. More than 75% of those without power are customers of CenterPoint Energy Inc., the Houston area’s main electric utility.

    Beryl left the Houston metro area — home to roughly 7 million — a morass of flooded streets, downed trees, darkened traffic lights and power lines lying on the ground. At least three deaths were blamed on the storm. Beryl, a Category 1 hurricane when it struck Texas early Monday, already had killed 11 people in a week-long rampage across the Caribbean.

    Based on current progress with damage assessment and initial restoration, CenterPoint expects to have power restored to 1 million impacted customers by the end of day on July 10, the company said in a statement late Monday. 

    The storm, now a tropical depression, is sweeping across the South, with heavy rainfall expected in the Mississippi Valley. Tornadoes are possible across Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Almost 35,000 homes and businesses are without power Tuesday in Louisiana and Arkansas. 

    Scorching weather is also set to bake western states this week, raising fire risks from Canada to Mexico. A million people are under an excessive heat warning in the US West, according to Bryan Jackson, a meteorologist at the Weather Prediction Center. 

    Las Vegas on Sunday hit an all-time high temperature of 120F (49C). Palm Springs and Redding in California have also set records. The high in Sacramento may reach 110F on Thursday, while Furnace Creek — the gateway to Death Valley — is poised to hit 128F. 

    --With assistance from Tope Alake.

    These 2 airlines best-positioned for booming summer travel - YAHOO FINANCE

    JULY 10, 2024

    Air travel broke records over the 4th of July holiday weekend, with the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) screening over 3 million passengers on Sunday alone. The Points Guy founder Brian Kelly joins Wealth! to discuss the state of air travel as the summer vacation season kicks off.

    Kelly notes that most airlines have increased their flights to Europe as consumer demand rises. Round-trip prices have also dropped, allowing more travelers to embark on their European vacations this summer. He attributes this travel boom to the increased accessibility of low-cost airline carriers and consumer spending. Kelly explains that consumers are "going on the deals, but they're not paying the top dollar" for these vacations.

    He points to Delta Air Lines (DAL) and United Airlines (UAL) as well-positioned airlines as more travelers take to the skies: "Delta is going to consistently perform well as they pretty much always do, although they did revise their estimates down a little bit. United is the most global US airline, so I think they have the most upside to be had here."

    For more expert insight and the latest market action, click here to watch this full episode of Wealth!

    This post was written by Melanie Riehl

    Video Transcript

    Well, high airfare costs and the threat of a hurricane didn't stop Americans from flying last weekend.

    In fact, air travel broke records over the fourth of July weekend.

    The Transportation Security Administration ts A as you know said, it screened over 3 million passengers on Sunday alone marking an historic peak in travel.

    For more on this.

    I'm joined by Brian Kelly, the points guy founder, Brian.

    Great to see you here today.

    Ok, so we gotta wrap our minds around this.

    What does the travel demand profile more largely look like here and how are we seeing people kind of navigate through some of the travel options that remain at this juncture?

    Well, you know, it's actually pretty positive for consumers.

    Uh capacity is up and what trends I'm seeing is, you know, there's a lot more flights to Europe and internationally and there were some amazing domestic deals.

    So travelers definitely still have that appetite for Europe.

    Most airlines have boosted their, their flights to Europe.

    I was checking for a friend yesterday who wanted to come home early before the storm and everything was sold out.

    So I'm not shocked even with over 600 canceled flights on Sunday, we still cleared that 3 million passenger mark for TS A which was the historic record.

    But guess what?

    The, the, the fare prices are not that crazy.

    I, I'm booking in August business class round trip fares to Europe nonstop on big carriers 2500 to $3000 last summer.

    Those were double.

    So it's interesting to see capacities up but airfares are not quite where uh I think they should be and I think we're gonna see that in the corporate results as they start coming in later this week.

    Why, why do you think that is?

    It's fascinating.

    Uh You know, I think uh there are a lot of new low cost carriers.

    I think consumers are now splurging um for premium economy, business class, you know, and, and of course, those traditional business travelers have not come back like they used to those, those pass, you know, the business class passengers paying $9000 last minute.

    Uh It's shocking because even this week you can fly Air France flying blue, uh multiple dates from major us cities for 50,000 miles in business class.

    I've never seen so many good deals in both cash and points.

    Um And I, I guess consumers are, are traveling, they're, they're going on the deals but they're not paying the top dollar.

    Ok. That's really interesting.

    Especially as it's a consistent thread that we've heard from airline operators at least on the topic.


    Over quarter and we're set to kick off some of those earnings this week here as well with Delta being in focus, you know, a lot of people out there as we were talking about and, and really looking at what could come forward for airline earnings here, who are you anticipating will continue to be perhaps the best positioned at this juncture?

    You know, I think Delta is going to consistently perform well as they pretty much always do.

    Although they did revise their estimates down a little bit.

    I think United, you know, United is the most global US Airlines.

    So I think they have the most upside to be had here, you know, last year, they had some pretty tough uh cancellations with the 737 max nine.

    I think it's been a much smoother summer for them.

    So, you know, I would say the underdog here would be United to kind of pull ahead a little bit in terms of profit.

    I would look out the US carriers, you know, US domestic airfare is really low and uh you know, with the weather and the storm, I would put my bets on the United and Delta to really keep leading the pack in terms of profits for shareholders.

    And you mentioned United's annexation and of course exposure to Boeing as many of the other airline operators do as well, especially here in the US is that deterring travelers at all, I don't think so.

    You know, it certainly creates new cycles just like, you know, these extreme turbulence incidents, they go viral but people are still traveling and the fact of the matter is you don't really have any other options besides Boeing and Airbus and most consumers are going on price.

    And that's what works the airlines know that, that's why they dropped prices.

    They're filling planes, they may not make as high of a margin, but they'd still rather have full planes than, uh, than empty ones for sure.




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