- Backs increase in electricity tariff, fuel price
- Seeks more mass transit buses, rail system
- Urges reopening of borders
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry has expressed worry about the nation’s state of economy, particularly the rising debt profile, currently put at N31tn, without corresponding output growth and economic development.
According to the LCCI, the growing level of the country’s debt is fast becoming unsustainable in the light of dwindling oil prices and production.
President of the LCCI, Toki Mabogunje, gave this position at a press conference on the state of the economy on Tuesday in Lagos.
She said the high level of debt servicing had continued to hinder robust investment in hard and soft infrastructure, described as key to stimulating productivity and improving living standards.
She said, “We note the increase in public debt stock was fueled by fresh domestic and external borrowing required to plug the wider fiscal deficit in the revised 2020 budget, given the impact of the pandemic on oil and non-oil sources of revenue.
“We also note the impact of recent exchange rate depreciation on the country’s level of external indebtedness.
“At the peak of the pandemic in the second quarter, the Federal Government received financial support worth $3.4 billion and $288.5 million from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and African Development Bank (AfDB) respectively, while negotiations are also on-going for a cumulative $1.8 billion credit support from the World Bank, African Development Bank (second tranche) and Islamic Development Bank.
“Adding this to prospective domestic issuances could possibly push the country’s public debt stock to around N34 trillion by year-end, equivalent to 23 per cent of the GDP.”
On the nation’s accelerated inflation rate, Mabogunje said the persistent pressure on consumer prices stemmed largely from the sustained uptrend in food inflation.
She said the recent incidents of flooding in key food-producing states in the North had wiped off food and cash crops on a large scale and disrupted output projections in agriculture.
Mabogunje said that the situation, if not urgently addressed, would escalate the pressure on food prices, thereby putting the country on the verge of a food crisis.
She noted, “According to local media reports, over two million tons of rice were lost to flood; other crops such as sorghum, corn and millet were also affected.
“Rising inflation trajectory has serious implications for businesses regarding production cost, investment real return rate, and overall economic performance.
“Looking forward, the Chamber expects inflation to sustain its upward trajectory for the rest of the year.
“The Lagos Chamber calls on the fiscal and monetary authorities on the need to synergise to moderate domestic prices to a level conducive for sustainable and inclusive economic growth.
“The Federal Government might need to reopen the land borders to give succour to food prices in the light of lower domestic food supply amid huge demand for food.
“Similarly, both the federal and state governments also need to promptly address the issue of food wastage, majorly responsible for the food supply gap being experienced in the country.”
The LCCI president also advised policymakers on the formulation and implementation of policies to facilitate sustainability as business operators grapple with the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mabogunje said such policies must support businesses, protect jobs, preserve investment and foster economic competitiveness at both national and subnational levels.
She said the chamber endorsed the adoption of the cost-reflective tariff regime in the power sector.
The LCCI president said the new tariff would attract investment and improve power supply, even as she noted that safeguards were needed to protect consumers from exploitation.
She said, “If the economics of the investment is not right, investors will not inject capital into the sector. However, there should be safeguards to protect consumers from exploitation.
“There should comprehensive metering of consumers and there should be value for money. We believe that policy should be given a chance.”
The LCCI president said the Solar Home Initiative, aimed at expanding energy access to 25 million individuals through the provision of solar home systems or connection to a mini grid was a step in the right direction.
She said the initiative would stimulate growth and productivity in the country’s rural economy.
Mabogunje also commended government on the recent reforms implemented in the downstream segment of the oil sector.
She said the removal of petrol subsidy and the proposal by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to give up majority stakes in the four local refineries were laudable.
Mabogunje, however, appealed for the provision of mass transit buses, development of rail system for intra city and intercity transportation, and the acceleration of the auto gas programme so that more vehicles could be powered by gas.
She said, “We believe these measures are steps in the right direction in rescuing the economy from deepening fiscal crisis.
“We note that the subsidy regime had for long constituted a huge burden on public finances, encouraged corruption, inefficiencies, deterred investment flows, and weakened the earnings performance of oil refining and marketing companies.
“We acknowledge the effect of the price hike on the vulnerable segments of the society. Accordingly, we request that palliatives be provided in form of mass transit buses among other initiatives to ease the burden on consumers.”
Mabogunje also called for the expeditious passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill to consolidate recent reforms in the sector.
On the various fiscal and monetary interventions by the government, Mabogunje said the schemes would help with fulfilling payroll obligations and protect the jobs within the SMEs sector.
She said, “The Lagos Chamber acknowledges the various interventions of the fiscal and monetary sides of authorities in mitigating the adverse impact of the pandemic on economic and business environment.
“The federal and state governments need to expeditiously redirect attention to these sectors, including aviation, hospitality, entertainment, and manufacturing.
“This has become necessary to protect jobs, preserve investments and provide the much-needed liquidity required to revive these sectors.”
The LCCI president said the chamber noted the weak performance of the economy at the sectoral level, particularly among key sectors with potential to drive economic diversification.
Mabogunje said the 6.1 per cent contraction of the Gross Domestic Product in the second quarter reflected the profound impact of the pandemic on the economy.
She said the Chamber anticipated a marginal improvement in the GDP growth performance by the third quarter.
She attributed the anticipated improvement to the declining trend in the rate of confirmed cases of COVID-19, relaxation of various containment measures and the increasing tempo of economic activities.
On foreign exchange, the LCCI President said inappropriate forex policies could discourage fresh capital inflows on foreign direct investment, portfolio investment, remittances, and non-oil export proceeds into the economy.
Mabogunje said this was evidenced by the sharp plunge in the level of capital imported into Nigeria from $5.9 billion in the first quarter to $1.2 billion in the second quarter, partly caused by the capital control policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
She said, “The Chamber notes the various policy measures taken by the Central Bank of Nigeria to conserve the country’s foreign exchange resources in the light of weakening dollar inflows precipitated by the global pandemic.
“While the Lagos Chamber appreciates the efforts of the apex bank in preserving the scarce foreign exchange resources at a time the economy is confronted with the twin challenge of lower oil price and production, we believe demand management strategies alone are not sustainable solutions to the recurring foreign exchange crises.”
Lagos-London air passengers pay over 400% more than Abuja-London fliers
Passengers travelling from Lagos to London in the coming days might be forced to travel through Abuja to their destination as the former are made to pay at least 400 per cent higher than the latter.
According to a new Vanguard report, passengers flying on one-way economy ticket through Abuja on British Airways pay $501 (about N222,093) while those travelling through Lagos on the same airline and ticket class pay as much as $2,700 (about N1,196,910).
Also, passengers travelling through Ethiopian Airline on one-way economy ticket through Abuja pay N700,000, while those going through Lagos on the same airline and ticket class pay as much as N2.8 million.
The fare differential, according to industry operators, may not be unconnected to demand and supply differentials but also noted that the distance is almost same for the two routes.
Vanguard gathered that flights from London to Abuja take six hours, and 20 minutes, while flights to Lagos from London take six hours and 25 minutes.
Though Air France maintains same fares from both routes the amount is also high at $2,141 on similar ticket class for a one-way journey.
A traveller who spoke to Vanguard about the development lamented her amazement to the development.
According to her, “I was to travel to London next week. So in a bid to ensure i pay less, I open the booking portal of BA, I was in Abuja and I mistakenly clicked on Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, and i was taken to the price to my amazement, the price i saw there was $2,700 I was shocked.
“I had to check very well to see if i had punched something odd. I realised I inputted Lagos instead of Abuja. So I had to readjust and the price I finally saw was far lower. This was quite outrageous as it was not supposed to be so.”
Another traveller who spoke to Vanguard Aviation World, said: “Why will Ethiopian Airline, and Africa airline put their airfare to London this high? I was expecting their price to be lesser than others but I was wrong.
“Even the price in Lagos differs by a far margin. Why would it be so?
The ministry responsible should look into it, as for me it can only be attributed to extortion.”
BA’s spokesperson, Josephine Simmons, gave reasons for the disparity, saying that airfares could differ due to availability, airport taxes and other factors.
She was quoted as saying, “Prices differ by airport due to numerous factors including customer demand and fare charges – including airport taxes.
“Most customers book their flights in advance, benefiting from competitive fares.”
The development has created a series of reactions from both stakeholders and travellers across the country.
While some stakeholders attributed the development to the exploitation of Nigeria’s passengers, others stated that the less demand in Abuja was strengthened by the security challenges.
According to the Principal Partner, Avaero Capital, Sindy Foster, the development possibly might be due to more demand than supply in Lagos.
“If BA had more demand from Abuja price would probably be higher. Most people are not flying direct between Abuja and London. I expect demand for Abuja went down due to security issues.
Flights tend to be lower if there is more supply against demand. It is good that prices have come down in Abuja. Will be interesting to work out why they are still high in Lagos. I suspect there is less demand for Abuja.
The chairman of United Nigeria Airline, Obiora Okonkwo, said: “Why do foreign airlines charge Nigeria so much?
“In the aviation industry, one-hour flight fuel consumption is the same, the only difference is maybe different landing charges in London or Ghana, the rest is the same.
“I can assure you that if Air Peace goes to London today, Nigerians will fly to London with an Economy ticket of N500,000. Today the price is about N2 million, why should we pay such if they are converting from N450 to $1?
“We owe Nigerians this explanation. However, whatever is going on, this is a wake-up call that the local operators have to be supported as they have all it takes to operate internationally.
“Emirates have over $5 billion in support from their government. When we ask for support, it is not free, we pay back. American Airlines have equity of over $60 billion and a debt profile of $70 billion and those debts all come from government support.
“If the local airlines are supported, we can have the capacity that cannot be threatened globally. The easiest flight to operate is a long haul. Short haul is even more difficult as it is stressful to both the aircraft and cabin crew.
“It is even easier to go to London, aviation is the same globally, you are audited by IOSA, IATA and that is, they prevented us and make us looks bad.
“They are also aware that our quality and regulatory standards are high. We get crews and captains coming to Nigeria and they fail our exams and we send them back.”
It would be recalled that Nigeria, a destination of over 22 foreign carriers, manages Bilateral Air Services Agreements, BASA, with over 78 countries.
These airlines operate daily and weekly in Nigeria.
Ethiopian and ASKY, Togolese airline also operated by Ethiopian Airline, together operate 54 frequencies weekly in Nigeria.
African World Airways (AWA) has 49 frequencies per week; British Airways and Virgin Atlantic operate 21 frequencies weekly into Nigeria; EgyptAir with 16; Air France 15; Saudi Arabian Airways 13; Emirates 11; Lufthansa 11; Air Cote d’Ivoire10; Qatar 9; South African Airways 7.
Others were Delta, Royal Air Maroc, RwandAir, Sudan Airways, and Turkish Airways, which enjoy seven frequencies without reciprocity from Nigerian airlines.
Also, Etihad has five frequencies; Fly Mid Africa has four; Middle East Airlines – has four and Air Italy formerly Meridiana has three weekly flights to the country.
-Vanguard with minimal editing and a new headline
US used car firm begins Nigeria’s operations, unveils Yuletide promo
A global automobile company that specialises in premium used vehicle sale and service, Carloha, has announced the commencement of operations in Nigeria with a target at the top of the market.
The firm with head office in the USA has also unveiled a Yuletide promo with a huge slash in prices of its vehicles and free insurance, registration and warranty.
The firm, according to a statement obtained via email, owns and manages several stores and maintenance centres, with over 200 dedicated employees providing comprehensive car purchase, finance and insurance services.
Carloha Nigeria is said to parade a host of premium used vehicles in its arsenal of stocks and well positioned to be the leading automobile company in used vehicle trading business in Nigeria.
Marketing Manager of the auto firm, Mr Mathew Enuoma Aje, said, “We are in business to set the pace in sales and services of used vehicle segment in Nigeria, by making vehicle ownership a seamless process for all customers.”
Commenting on the Yuletide promo, said, “In the spirit of the Yuletide, Carloha Nigeria is offering huge price slash on every vehicle purchased from October 31, 2022 to January 31, 2022. Customers can also take advantage of free registration, free insurance, free first three services, finance option, trade-in-option, and three month warranty or 5,000km whichever comes first.
The End of Year Promo tagged “Drive Your Dream” is exclusive and all-embracive because they all come with freebies that are germane to vehicle ownership and driving comfort.
The essence of “Drive Your Dream” promo is to bring happiness, joy and peace of mind to all customers in this Yuletide, and also our token of appreciation for all year-round patronage in 2022.”
Aje said Carloha Nigeria prides itself with the best of used vehicles of choice brands that are durable, rugged well refined to suit the taste of all customers.
“The class and state of vehicles we stock are rare and cannot be sourced elsewhere,” the firm said in the statement.
The company said it “works with well known used car provider in the USA, using big data technology to select the best quality used car in Nigeria. The replication of the automated system is to position Carloha Nigeria as a viable company that will drive the world with latest technological advancement in automobile engineering that offers bespoke premium services that cannot be seen anywhere in sub-Sahara African.”
Carloha Nigeria listed the notable brands of vehicle offerings as Mercedes-Benz, Toyota (Lexus), Ford, and Range Rover it considered “neatly selected and well finished to specifications with the states-of-the-Arts technology.”
Even as the firm noted that pricing of used vehicle had been a huge algorithmic challenge to the overall business, it stated that automated pricing system is used Carloha Nigeria to fix the right price of all used vehicles.
This, it said, was done to accurately fix each price of vehicle in relation to economic fluctuation and imbalance in the local market.
On after-sale, it said, “The installations of state-of-art technological automated equipment is a proof of Carloha’s readiness to set the pace as a major player in the sales and maintenance of used vehicle.
“To ensure quality standard of vehicles, Carloha Nigeria utilizes scientific method with fully automated management system known as 149 vehicle inspection point on chasis, engine, transmission, exterior, interior, electronic system, road test, and maintenance equipment to meet the demand of the market,” it said.
Excitement as NAJA introduces new categories in auto industry awards, announces date
The Nigerian auto industry has come alive again following the announcement by the Auto Journalists Association (NAJA) to hold the 2022 edition of its annual awards on Wednesday January 25, 2023 at the prestigious Eko Hotels and Towers, Victoria Island.
Auto industry players are particularly excited about the introduction of new categories including the most popular brand whose products are most visible cutting across different models.
Speaking on the new date, Chairman of the Planning Committee, Mr Rasheed Bisiriyu, stated that it had always been the tradition of the organizers to schedule the award ceremonies to coincide with the end-of-the-year festive period, but it had to be rescheduled for the New Year due to some unforeseen circumstances.
According to him, the NAJA awards which annually reward excellence in the Nigerian automotive industry, has over the years become a great platform to bring together critical stakeholders in the industry.
“One thing has remained true to this remarkable contest; it celebrates and rewards automotive excellence. Our jurors are experts in the automotive field and clearly understand vehicles and the mobility sector.”
He also said nominated vehicles would be judged based on value for money, pricing, cost of maintenance, depreciation rate, fuel consumption, warranty & dealer access and insurance.
“It will also be judged on design and functionality which will take into account factors such as safety, environment, seating comfort, space, practicality and ergonomics.
“Nominated vehicles will also be selected based on performance such as handling, braking, smoothness and quietness,” he added.
He said once the expert panel concluded scoring, the automated scoring factors that cover sales performance, segment share and value for money are applied, the nominees in all the categories would be announced.
“Every year, we adapt the scoring system slightly to consider new global and local market trends to ensure the credibility and objectivity of the awards, ” Bisiriyu said.
In his own remarks, Chairman of NAJA, Mike Ochonma, explained that the change in the traditional date would not in any way affect the glamour and credibility of the awards.
He said new categories such as Most Popular Auto Brand had been added to the 2022 edition.
He assured stakeholders of utmost objectivity, credibility and integrity.
“NAJA awards present a platform for the automotive industry to demonstrate and celebrate the advances made in the key areas of manufacturing, assembling, technology, stewardship, franchising and innovation,” he added.
Lagos-London air passengers pay over 400% more than Abuja-London fliers
20-year-old Nigerian man divorces girl 8 months after they wedded, shares video
US used car firm begins Nigeria’s operations, unveils Yuletide promo
CCECC completes Apapa port link to Lagos-Ibadan railway
Customs: Vehicle tariff reduction to begin next week
Biden, Treasury Secretary say Republicans COVID-19 aid too small
metro5 days ago
How Osun AG avoided Gov Oyetola over payment of salaries till last day
metro5 days ago
APC Candidate to Be Tried for ‘Defrauding Kuwait Citizen of $1.3m’
News4 days ago
24 hours after swearing-in, Adeleke dethrones three Osun monarchs
News4 days ago
Senate uncovers N200m fraud in Labour ministry payments
Uncategorized4 days ago
Lagos Fourth Mainland Bridge to have three tollgates, three bidders shortlisted
Entertainment7 days ago
Just in: Gospel musician, Sammie Okposo, slumps, dies at 51
Politics5 days ago
2023: I’ll Name, Shame Oil Thieves If Elected – Atiku
Uncategorized5 days ago
Updated: FG extends resumption of Abuja-Kaduna train operations to next week