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How Air Peace Lost N700m In One Day Over NLC, TUC Action



Air Peace, B787 Dreamliner

•My business sabotage under NPF, others watch — Allen Onyema

• Stay away from aviation business, FG warns NLC, TUC

• Air Peace must take unions to court —Abati

Nigeria’s largest airline, Air Peace has bemoaned the recent activities of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, on its business.

A development which grounded their daily operations, thus creating massive flight disruption and ultimately denying the airline over N700 million in one day.

The incident has further created serious upset to many Nigerians who wondered about the rationality behind Air Peace’s involvement and why the unions would engage in such activity on a day when the airline voluntarily airlifted stranded Nigerians in war-torn Sudan.

Vanguard Aviation World had reported that Air Peace airlifted 277 evacuees from war-torn Sudan to the Abuja airport with its Boeing 777 aircraft at no cost.

However, stakeholders have faulted the organized unions’ action, thus calling on the airline to sue NLC and TUC, stressing they are not above the law.

Also, the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, directed the unions to stay away from the aviation industry, stressing that their actions are inimical to air safety.

It would be recalled that the unions’ official last Wednesday, stormed the Lagos Airport and took over Air Peace, check-in counters, disrupting operations due to an alleged misunderstanding they had with the Governor of Imo State Hope Uzodinma.

The group held that no flights should be operated into Owerri airport because Uzodinma had disrupted their May Day activities earlier in the week.

The protesters barged into the airport destroying and causing havoc at the airport while the security officials did nothing.

In the wake of the development, the management of Air Peace raised alarm over the deliberate massive disruption of their operation by the unions.

My business sabotaged as NPF, others watch —Allen Onyema

According to the Chief Executive Officer of the airline, Allen Onyema, the unwarranted actions channelled to his business by the unions is uncalled for.

He lamented that he feels unprotected following the development.

He said: “You can imagine how I felt, while I was out there in the war front trying to rescue Nigerians, the NLC and TUC went disrupting every Air Peace flight across the country today.

“We lost over N700 million as a result of the unions’ action. For somebody who has contributed so much to the nation, how do we get that money back?

“This is so insensitive of the NLC and TUC. They chose today to disrupt our operations why? For something that does not even concern Air Peace. Because the governor disrupted their May Day activities, therefore no flight should go to Imo State.

“They wrote to us that we should not fly to the state. Already we have a contract with the passengers, not NLC or TUC. They have no right whatsoever to instruct an airline not to obey the contractual relationship or obligations they have to their passengers.

“They do not have that right.  It is a shame to our nation that security agencies are watching while an airline is out there doing all it can for the country was being attacked by some people, making sure our operations were destabilized causing massive delays and massive cancellations.

“Who is going to bear the brunt? Yet this same airline is out there in Egypt risking the lives of their crew and spending hundreds of millions of naira on behalf of this country.”

Stay away from aviation business, FG warns NLC, TUC

However, as a reaction to the development, the Federal Government through the FAAN, has directed the unions’ to desist from engaging in union activities in the industry.

According to the Managing Director, FAAN, Captain Rabiu Yadudu, “The action of the organized labour is unacceptable and a deliberate plan to undermine aviation and other workers.

“We have written to the minister of aviation telling him the government needs to protect the sector from the action of the NLC, the airports are not places for anybody to come and exercise violent behaviour or mob action.

“We will not take it, What happened to Air Peace was very regrettable and just a sign of ego massage and I think that has no place in aviation. NLC should stay away from aviation, I think picketing needs to evolve. Nobody pickets in modern society now.”

Stakeholders react

Meanwhile, the development has raised much concerns, as stakeholders insisted that it is an abuse of power and that the airline should set up a legal team to address the issue judiciary as a way of forestalling it in the future.

According to the President, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association of Nigeria, and former Chief Executive Officer of Associated Airlines, Alex Nwuba, “We need to engage NLC under the leadership of Comrade Joe Ajaero to separate aviation from labour issues with the State government

“Aviation must speak one voice, enough of contradictory voices. If he continues to channel his energy in the wrong place, he will be put on the aviation no-fly list as an industry treat.”

Similarly, former military commandant, Murtala Mohammed Airport, Group Captain John Ojikutu, said: “The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, needs regulations to come hard on the union, in the same manner, the disruptive passengers are dealt with. These irresponsible acts of the unions that may bring us to disrepute in the aviation international community should be stopped now.

“Any disruption in the airport operational area of airport security restricted area must be considered as acts of unlawful interference that need to be legally sanctioned. What has been happening to the industry from the unions are acts of unlawful interference too many.”

Also, former presidential aide and broadcaster, Reuben Abati, stated that if he is the owner of the airline, he will feel discouraged to help Nigeria again.

He noted that the Air Peace boss had in the past spent his money, and resources in an effort to evacuate Nigerians from South Africa during the xenophobic attack.

In his words: “Air Peace should seek redress in a court of law and NLC cannot say that they are above the law of Nigeria.”

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NNPC Welcomes FG’s Decision To Remove Fuel Subsidy




The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Limited has welcomed the decision of the President Ahmed Bola Tinubu-controlled Federal Government to remove fuel subsidy.

In a press conference in Abuja on Monday, Mele Kyari, the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of the corporation charged with harnessing Nigeria’s oil and gas reserves, said the corporation was pleased with the decision of President Tinubu to remove the fuel subsidy.

“We welcome the decision of Mr. President to announce that the subsidy on PMS is over, and this has really been a major challenge for NNPC’s continued operations. We have been funding subsidy from the cash flow of the NNPC since the government is unable to defer the cost of subsidy that is due to the corporation,” Kyari said.

Burdened by the financial cost of importing fuel, Kyari said that the removal of this subsidy will free up funds to make it more commercially viable and do great work for the country.

“And we believe that this will be able to free resources for the NNPC to continue to do the great works that this company will do for our country, and it will allow us to function as a very commercial entity, and we welcome this development,” he said.

The Group Chief Executive Officer has assured Nigerians of the supply of petroleum products, informing Nigerians of an abundance of the products, particularly “Petroleum Motor Spirit product in our country, and there is no reason to panic.”

He urged Nigerians not to engage in panic buying as there would be no potential changes in the prices of petroleum products.

He promised that normalcy in the supply chain would be restored as soon as possible.

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Refinery: We’ll Ask Dangote To Sell Forex At Good Rate — Emefiele



…Says CBN, govt helped him build a refinery
…Raises interest rate to 18.5 %lAs NACCIMA, IPMAN, and others react

With the Dangote Refinery set to deliver its first products in July, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, said yesterday that the refinery would be persuaded to sell foreign exchange earnings to banks at a good rate.

Speaking at the end of the 291st Monetary Policy Committee, MPC, meeting in Abuja, Emefiele said his team would engage the promoter of the refinery, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, to ensure that Nigerians benefitted from the venture, adding that the CBN, the Federal Government and, indeed, the country helped him set up the refinery.

The CBN boss expressed optimism that the refinery would ease the foreign exchange scarcity in the country, noting that with local refining, about 20 per cent cost of the total cost of importing petroleum products could be saved, thereby reducing prices in the long run. He, however, said it was time to exit the fuel subsidy regime.

His words: “By the time the Dangote Refinery comes on stream, the price at which it (fuel) will be dispensed will be lower than what it is when we spend dollars to import because there will be no freight cost, no storage and all other logistics expenses.
“So we will be lucky to be having about 20 per cent savings from refining locally, rather than importing.

“But the important thing is that we have reached a point, whether we like it or not when we must exit subsidy.
“Dangote Refinery coming at this time gives us the confidence that even if we exit subsidy, the products will be available. And eventually, the interplay of market forces will also moderate the prices to a level that will help the country.

“So we are expecting that, no doubt, by the time he produces for domestic consumption, the excess will be exported by the numbers that he talked about, which we agree with.

‘’We should be able to save, conservatively, close to about $5 billion to $10 billion in foreign exchange that will come into the country.

“Whether it comes to our reserves or not is not the point, it is the fact that the dollar is available and it will be sold in the domestic market so that customers of banks who need to import do not necessarily resort to CBN for dollars.
“They can go to their banks and Dangote will sell dollars to their banks and we are going to ensure that it is done at a good market rate.

“What I would have loved to say on Monday (at the Dangote Refinery Commissioning) which I didn’t say was that the CBN, the government and the country have helped Dangote to set up that refinery.

“He is a Nigerian; Nigerians must benefit from that venture and we are going to engage him and talk to him and I am sure that being the richest man in Africa, he is going to throw a few crumbs so that the price will be lowered.”

N8trn interventions in 5yrs

Meanwhile, Emefiele revealed that the CBN had given out about N8 trillion in interventions to the private sector in the last five years.

He said: “In the last four to five years, we have done about N8 trillion in interventions to the private sector of the economy. The loans have been granted for 10 years, with a two-year moratorium and at single digit”.

The CBN boss disclosed, however, that going forward, the apex bank would reduce its quasi-fiscal activities.

MPR jerked up to 18.5%

At yesterday’s meeting, the MPC raised the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) to 18.5 per cent from 18 per cent.
Emefiele said the strategy, which started in May last year, had been working as it had moderated the rate of inflation in the economy.

He admitted that the interest rate hike was constraining credit to the real sectors of the economy but that it remained the best option in tackling inflation.

He stated: “The current trend in price development would continue to be monitored by the bank with greater collaboration with fiscal authority to address the drivers of inflation.”

Meanwhile, the committee voted to keep the asymmetric corridor at +100 and -700 basis points around the MPR.

It also retained the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) at 32.5 per cent and equally left the Liquidity Ratio at 30 per cent.

We look forward to cost reduction — IPMAN

Reacting to the CBN’s declaration that Dangote would sell Dollars to banks at good rate, the National President of the Independent Petroleum Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo, could not be reached for comments, yesterday.

But National Operations Controller, IPMAN, Mike Osatuyi, said: “Oil marketers are very happy about the Dangote Refinery. We were tied to the global market for several decades. Now, everyone will be free to patronise the refinery.

‘’We look forward to a significant cost reduction, apparently because freight and shipping costs will not apply anymore.
“With the coming onstream of the plant, the Federal Government will be encouraged to end fuel subsidy. This might be affordable to Nigerians, unlike what it could have been in the past.”

Dangote Refinery comes with multiplier effects — OGSPAN

Similarly, the National President, Oil and Gas Service Providers Association of Nigeria, OGSPAN, Mazi Colman Obasi, said: “On a serious note, Alhaji Aliko Dangote should be commended for making this gigantic investment.

“Every patriotic Nigerian and African should be proud of this refinery. It is very huge and it comes with a lot of multiplier effects for Nigeria.

“I completely agree with the CBN governor that it will culminate in the generation of additional foreign exchange into Nigeria as well as assist the nation to conserve foreign exchange currently expended on massive importation of petroleum products.

“As a major crude oil producer, Nigeria should not have been involved in the importation of petroleum products. ‘’The nation was compelled by circumstances to go into importation. I am happy that this big refinery will enable us reduce or completely stop dependence on the global market.”

CBN should merge forex rates — NACCIMA

Also commenting, Sola Obadimu, Director General, Nigerian Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, NACCIMA, while acknowledging the capacity of Dangote Refinery to generate forex, said CBN should rather focus on merging forex rates.

He said: “Honestly, my take is that CBN should merge these forex rates to avoid whatever might be called ‘good’ or ‘bad’ rates. And that’s the responsibility of CBN – to determine the true value of the Naira. Various exchange rates are basic ingredients for grandiose corruption as we know it.

“Yes, this is a very commendable project that has the capacity to generate forex whenever it starts to export and the proceeds would be convertible to Naira.

“At present, exporters through official channels are complaining that conversion for forex generated from exports is only available to them at official rates which may be unfair, given the fact that they never get enough forex at official rates when they need it either for imported inputs or machinery/parts.

“That’s the danger of dual or multiple exchange rates, particularly when the gaps are too wide as we have it now. But then, the government now has some stakes in the project.

‘’So they may reach some agreements on that level. But it might be preferred to have policies that encourage export activities by all as much as possible.”

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Cbn Raises Interest Rate To 18.5%; Highest In 22 Years




The Central Bank of Nigeria at its just concluded Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting raised its benchmark interest rate (MPR) by 50 basis points to 18.5 per cent, the country’s highest in 22 years.

The CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, made this known during the post-MPC press conference on Wednesday.

In April 2023, headline inflation increased to 22.22 per cent from 22.04 per cent in the previous month, marking its highest level since September 2005.

This is the third time the Mr Emefiele led apex bank will be raising it’s interest rate in 2023.

Nigeria has struggled with a high rate of inflation as well as a declining exchange rate at both the parallel and official markets.

In April 2022, headline inflation reached its highest level in more than 17 years, eroding the purchasing power of the populace.

However, the apex bank has continued to increase the interest rate to combat the continued rising inflation.

People Gazette

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