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Airports concession will not cost jobs – FG

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Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika
Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika
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The Federal Government has allayed the fears of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) workers of any lay-offs as plans to concession four major international airports in the country get underway.

Aviation minister Hadi Sirika gave the assurance at a virtual meeting with aviation stakeholders in Lagos on Wednesday on the concession update of the airports.

Sirika said that the concession would instead allow for more hands to be engaged as most of the airports were under staffed.

The airports billed for concession are: the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano state and the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos state.

Others are the Port Harcourt International Airport, River and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

The minister informed the stakeholders that the country’s asset would not be sold off but given out on concession in order to modernise the airports.

He added that this would allow the airports to be operated in a way to create more jobs as well as generate more revenue for the country.

“We will not sell the assets that belong to over 200 million Nigerians and the future generation of this country.

“We are not going to sell because those that were sold were lost. So, we in government believe that we should hold those assets for the Nigerian people in trust.

“We must make those assets better to provide the services that are needed. So, we said, rather than sell outrightly, we will concession.

“In other words, we would give it up to someone who would operate them and make them better.

“We will then get more money, the people will enjoy better services, the industry grows and after a certain time, the airports will come back to us,” he said.

The minister further explained that the airport terminal buildings to be given out on concession would generate their revenues from non-aeronautical resources.

He said that all other facilities at the airports and existing concessions, outside the airport terminals, would still be managed by FAAN.

He added that the concessionaire would sign service level agreements for runway, taxiway, security and air traffic Management with FAAN and NAMA to ensure that the airport operated efficiently.

The minister also said that the concessionaire would provide the investment required to upgrade the existing terminals.

He added that they would also take over the maintenance of new terminals over a period of time, based on the financial assessment of each transaction.

Sirika said that existing concessions within the terminals, however, would be inherited by the concessionaire and allowed to run their course before any review.

The minister said that tariffs would be regulated in accordance with the procedures set out in the concession agreement.

He explained that the Passenger Service and Security Charges would be paid directly to FAAN by IATA and shared by the concessionaires and FAAN.

He pointed out that the airport authority would be required to provide manpower, through AVSEC, for the security of both the airside and landside.

The concessionaire would similarly be expected to provide and maintain landside equipment which would allow FAAN continue to provide and maintain airside security equipment, the minister said.

Sirika noted that airports in the country were currently operating in a sub-optimal environment and needed improvements that would be provided through the participation of the private sector.

He said that private sector participation would have impact especially in infrastructure investments, runway maintenance, navigation aids as well as investment in terminal facilities.

He added that with the increasing population, a private operator of the four main airports would run them based on international standards and expand the facilities, in accordance with traffic demands at each of the airports. (NAN)

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Business & Economy

NAICOM unveils real-time platform for deep penetration, efficiency

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The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), has automated insurance industry activities with the unveiling of a new platform to deepen the insurance market and increase the penetration.

NAICOM had in July 2009, embarked on a comprehensive computerization effort tagged ‘project e-regulation’ which was meant to transform its operational procedures and the conduct of its regulatory responsibilities by providing a robust, world class ICT Infrastructure to help implement automated business processes internally and for industry wide supervision via an integrated platform.

Prior to this development, the processing of applications required that applicants physically drop off their applications at the Commission with the attendant challenges of delays in processing times, wasted manpower hours due to back-and-forth in application processing as well as ineffective application tracking system.

Speaking at the unveiling of the new platform in Abuja, Sunday Thomas, Commissioner for Insurance, said “with the completion of the portal there will be process efficiency and faster processing time as applications and supporting documents are submitted online, applicant’s account is updated with the status of the application as it progresses and there is effective Real-time communication between NAICOM and the applicant.

“The Portal also provides a Platform for interconnectivity by all industry stakeholders to support real-time aggregation of data on policies at the time of underwriting and policy issuance. Each policy will be issued with a unique policy identification that will be associated with the policy for the lifetime of the policy.

“The Portal is presently made up of four systems which include, The Policy System that captures all insurance policies issued in Nigeria online real time via Application Programming Interface (APIs).

“This helps to generate a unique policy identification number for all issued policies necessary to ensure fidelity and validity of all policies in the country and manages information on all insurance policies and premiums and also enables insurance customers and third-party entities such as Law Enforcement Agencies to query and validate insurance policies.

“Also, with the Licensing System, the Portal automates the core business processes of Registration/Renewal of Licenses, New Products, AIP no objection & Attestation approvals at NAICOM.

“All of these application processes will proceed digitally from the application stage where all supporting documents are provided, to the review stage, the approval stage and license generation where applicable.

Thomas appreciated the African Reinsurance Corporation (African Re) for its funding of this critical software that would improve efficiency and effectiveness in supervisory and regulatory oversight of the Nigerian Insurance Industry.

“Indeed, this is a welcome development and further demonstration of commitment by development partners to the transformation of the Nigerian economy and the change agenda of the current administration,” he said.

The Commissioner expected that the challenges of poor insurance penetration, public trust and confidence in insurance, and inadequate real time statistical data of the insurance industry will be resolved through the efficient deployment of the portal.

“Also the direct interface with the Industry provided by the portal will ensure greater accountability and transparency while the digital platform will provide a single point of Contact between NAICOM and the Insurance Industry.

“In addition it facilitates the Complaints Management System. This is a customized solution designed to help the Commission manage complaints and handle issues seamlessly as well as ensure that insurance companies are performing highly and clients are serviced adequately.

“The system is also designed to integrate directly with NAICOM existing database, utilizing existing records of customers and insurance companies; it incorporates multiple channels for initiation of complaints including Social media applications (Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter),Direct action on the complaint portal, Walk-in complainants, Regular media, Emails &SMS (Short Code)and Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD).

“The Portal also ensures Regulatory Returns and Financial Analysis,” he added

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ECOWAS Trade Promotion Organisation re-elects Dr. Ezra, as president

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Dr. Ezra Yakusak - MD/CEO NEPC
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Dr. Ezra Yakusak, the Executive Director/CEO of Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), has been reelected as the President of ECOWAS Trade Promotion Organisations (TPOs) Network in Accra Ghana.

Dr. Yakusat, will serve another One-year tenure and will lead 15 other member ECOWAS countries in driving trade within the sub-region.

His re-election is also in line with Article 11 of the ECOWAS TPO Network. The ECOWAS Trade Promotion Organization is a network of all Trade Promotion Organizations in West Africa established by the decisions of Council of Ministers at the Ordinary Session.

Nigeria became the pioneer president in April 2021. Dr. Yakusat, became the president following the expiration of the tenure of Mr. Awolowo as ED/ CEO of NEPC.

A statement by the council said the re-election of Dr. Ezra was at the end of 2nd Annual General Meeting of the Network held at Alisa hotel, Accra, Ghana from 19th – 20th May, 2022.

He was re-elected along with the vice president, Mr. Ben Guy Mbangue from Cote’ D’ivoire.

The duo constitute the Executive Bureau of the Network and the tenure expires after one year. All members present unanimously re-elected the President and Vice President respectively.

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Business & Economy

World Bank projects Nigeria’s Diaspora remittances to increase in 2022

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World Bank has projected Nigeria’s Diaspora remittance inflow to increase to $29bn in 2022 because of higher food prices and the continued adoption of official bank channels.

The bank said, migrants from the country are likely to send more money home to help with the hike in the prices of staples.

A report titled, ‘Migration and Development Brief (May 2022): A War in a Pandemic: Implications of the Ukraine crisis and COVID-19 on the global governance of migration and remittance flows,’ the bank stated that remittance flows to low and middle-income countries are expected to increase by 4.2 per cent to $630bn in 2022.

It said: “With risks weighted to the downside, there are several factors that support a view for continued—though more moderate—7.1 per cent gain inflows to Sub-Saharan Africa in 2022.

“Momentum for the use of official channels in Nigeria should sustain an uptrend in the year, within flows reaching $21bn.

“Though economic activity is likely to ease in the United States and Europe, fundamentals remain positive for continued gains in remittance flows to the remainder of Africa, as the influence of ‘altruistic’ motivations that were demonstrated in Africa and South Asia during the peak pandemic years will likely carry over to the period of sharp increases in staple food prices.”

The global bank further said remittance inflow to Sub-Saharan Africa was $49bn in 2021, with Nigerian contributing $19.2bn to the total inflow, adding that the use of informal channels to transfer money to the region caused a 28 per cent reduction in inflows in 2020.

“In 2022, remittance inflows are projected to grow by 7.1 per cent driven by continued shift to the use of official channels in Nigeria and higher food prices – migrants will likely send more money to home countries that are now suffering extraordinary increases in prices of staples,” the bank said.

The World Bank stated that the Naira-4-Dollar policy, which was an attempt to return remittance to formal channels, of the Central Bank of Nigeria helped boost inflows by 11.2 per cent in 2021, adding that the stabilisation of the naira against the dollar within a range of 410-415 per dollar over the last year also contributed to the pickup in recorded inflows.

It noted that the increased stability of the Naira and increased use of the e-Naira would help boost the nation’s chances of achieving $21bn in remittance for 2022.

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