30 Jan

Daily Watch – 22 African countries relax aviation rules, FG to take drastic measures over PH

  • Nigeria and 22 other African countries have begun an open air policy that will relax aviation rules and regulations to create a free market environment for eligible commercial airlines. The Single African Air Transport Market was inaugurated on Sunday at the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. SAATM would facilitate the free movement of flights between African countries by liberalising frequencies, fares and capacities, breaking down barriers that have in the past increased costs. It is an updated version of the Yamoussoukro Decision that was signed in 1999 to open up intra-African aviation routes. That agreement failed, and compared to other continents, air travel in Africa is expensive, restricted and dependent on bilateral deals. Industry bodies say heavy taxation and poor infrastructure meant African carriers had not developed as fast as they should to take advantage of predicted market growth. In 2015, the International Air Transport Association said the Yamoussoukro agreement had the potential to create 155,000 jobs and fly 5 million extra passengers a year around the continent. IATA expects passenger numbers to double to 300 million in the next two decades.
  • The DMO says the FG made ₦196.3 million from savings bond sales in January. The results of the sales published on the DMO website on Monday showed that ₦73.05 million was allotted at 12.09 percent with 121 successful subscriptions to mature in January 2020. It stated that ₦123.25 million was allotted at 13.09 percent with 178 successful subscriptions to mature in January 2021. The savings bond issuance is expected to help finance the nation’s budget deficit. The bond issuance is part of the government’s programme targeted at the lower income earners to encourage savings and also earn more income compared to their savings accounts with banks. The bonds are debt securities of the FG backed by its ‘full faith and credit.” Interests are to be paid at regular periods and principal repaid at maturity. The bonds have a tenure of between two to three years and a minimum size of investment of ₦5,000 and maximum of ₦50 million.
  • The junior aviation minister, Hadi Sirika said the FG is unhappy with the remodelling of the domestic wing of the Port Harcourt International Airport. Speaking during an inspection of the airport, Sirika said the FG was dissatisfied with the pace of work at the old terminal, under remodelling since 2011, and the conduct of the contractor, Inter-Bua Construction and will seek a legal means to address the problem. Meanwhile, Sirika said the new terminal of the airport’s international wing is set for completion for in July this year. The Guide to Sleeping in Airports 2017 Survey rated Port Harcourt Airport as one of the worst aerodromes in the world, citing its unwelcoming ambience and officials’ extortion with impunity.
  • The CBN said on Monday it had injected $210 million into the interbank foreign exchange market, extending efforts to boost liquidity and alleviate dollar shortages. The bank said in a statement it had released $100 million earmarked for the wholesale market, $55 million for small businesses and individuals, and $55 million for certain dollar expenses such as school fees and medical bills.