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Arik not equipped as national carrier, Aviation minister replies AMCON

Arik not equipped as national carrier, Aviation minister replies AMCON

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The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, Egypt Air: Buhari govt advances move to overhaul aviation sector, partners consortium

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has reacted to the call of Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) for Arik Air to be made a national carrier, that the airline does not meet the requirements of a national carrier.

Sirika explained that any airline that would operate at that level must be such that would support the national economy, with $450 million GDP for 200million people, and must be very equipped to compete favourably.

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He said, “The international airlines that have dominated Africa, 80% of those airlines are non-African. In view of the AU Agenda 2063, the Single African Aviation Market, we thought that there will be an airline that will take up that challenge; that will take advantage of it and be able to provide services to our people.

“Nigeria, being the first country to kick-start the declaration in 1999, to establish a one common market in Africa; at the time, we wanted to take advantage of the Nigeria Airways which was the strongest airline on the continent, and we thought that we could take advantage of that and it would pay Nigeria very well. Tables turned, decisions were reversed and now, Nigeria was unlucky to have an airline that can participate in that manner.”

[Read Also: Elevated direct costs restrain MOBIL earnings growth]

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Presently, the minister insisted that such move is not in line with the thinking of the ministry and it would not be able to give the nation the airline it needs.

Meanwhile, Nairametrics had reported that AMCON called on the Federal Government to convert Arik Airline to a national carrier to boost business opportunities in the nation’s aviation sector.

Managing Director, AMCON, Ahmed Kuru, explained in a statement that if his request is considered and approved, it would play a critical role in the development of the nation’s economy.

He said, “I call on the 9th National Assembly to reform the aviation sector, which would help local airline grow and attract many other investors that are eying Nigeria’s huge aviation business opportunity.

“I recalled how respite came the way of Arik Airlines, which was immersed in a heavy financial debt burden that threatened to permanently ground the airline when AMCON took over and restructured the operations of the airline.

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“With the right support and investment, Arik has all it takes to become a massive airline given the volume of reformative and transformational work AMCON did upon intervention in 2017. But to do that, the National Assembly owes it a duty to reform the aviation sector by reducing the different layers of charges by different agencies, which makes it extremely difficult for airline to survive in the country.”

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According to him, Arik has enough aircraft and facilities that can be used to set up a new airline and if the government wants to set up a national carrier to service just the domestic market, which currently has a lot of gap, it is possible with what Arik currently has.

[Read Also: Quick take: Sustained cost pressure weighs on profit]

“Today if you want to travel to Lagos from Abuja and you did not book your ticket two or three days earlier, the chances are that you may not get a seat, which tells us that there is a serious gap,” he added.

 

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Abiola has spent about 14 years in journalism. His career has covered some top local print media like TELL Magazine, Broad Street Journal, The Point Newspaper. The Bloomberg MEI alumni has interviewed some of the most influential figures of the IMF, G-20 Summit, Pre-G20 Central Bank Governors and Finance Ministers, Critical Communication World Conference. The multiple award winner is variously trained in business and markets journalism at Lagos Business School, and Pan-Atlantic University. You may contact him via email - abiola.odutola@nairametrics.com.

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FG seizes Dan Etete’s luxury private jet linked to Malabu oil deal

Dan Etete is alleged to have paid a total of $57 million for the jet in 2011, which was part of the spending spree that the former petroleum minister was alleged to have embarked on after allegedly receiving $336 million from the OPL 245 deal. 

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The Federal Government has tracked down and grounded a luxury private jet which is owned by the country’s former Petroleum Minister, Dan Etete, over his alleged involvement in the $1.1 billion Malabu oil scam. The luxury private jet was alleged to have been purchased with proceeds from that oil deal. 

This seizure was confirmed to Finance Uncovered by the legal counsel to Nigeria, Babatunde Olabode Johnson, who was appointed by the Nigerian government in 2016 to recover assets from the OPL 245 deal. 

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Johnson said that the order was served on the jet’s owner, a company called Tibit Ltd, which has until Tuesday next week (June 9) to file court papers opposing the seizure. Tibit is an anonymously owned company incorporated in the British Virgin Island. 

The asset recovery lawyers acting on behalf of the Nigerian government swooped last week, after the Bombardier 6000 jet, tail number M-MYNA, touched down at Montreal Trudeau International Airport in Canada on Friday May 29. 

A Quebec judge is understood to have granted a seizure order for the aircraft in the early hours of Saturday morning. 

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Giuseppina Russa, who was named on the Montreal court order, is Tibit’s sole director according to records of the British Virgin Island firm. 

Dan Etete is alleged to have paid a total of $57 million for the jet in 2011, which was part of the spending spree that the former petroleum minister was alleged to have embarked on after allegedly receiving $336 million from the OPL 245 deal. 

Etete, during his days as the petroleum minister, awarded the prospecting rights to the huge OPL 245 block to Malabu Oil and Gas, a company he secretly controlled. After the death of the then head of state, Sani Abacha, he retained the rights to the oil block as a private citizen until he offloaded them to oil giants, Shell and Eni in 2011, who both paid $1.3 billion to the Nigerian government. 

The entire OPL 245 deal is now subject to a corruption trial in an Italian court, where Etete is an accused, together with alleged middlemen and some top executives from Shell and Eni. All parties in the Milan trial have denied the charges against them. 

The Nigerian government has also charged Etete and several others linked to Malabu with money laundering in connection with the onward flow of funds from the OPL 245 deal. However, they have denied any wrongdoing, dismissing the allegations as political propaganda. 

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It was uncovered that Johnson had made a deal with an American litigation funder, Drumcliffe Partners, to help fund the recovery of OPL 245 assets. They are to receive 5% of any funds successfully recovered and returned to Nigeria.   

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Ecobank Transnational to hold AGM by proxies on June 30th

Due to the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic, ETI said the AGM will be held by proxies.

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Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) has announced the date and venue of its 32nd Annual General Meeting (AGM). According to a disclosure that was sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, the company’s AGM and an Extraordinary Meeting are scheduled to hold on June 30th, 2020, at Eko Hotels and Suites in Victoria Island, Lagos.

Due to the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic, ETI said the AGM will be held by proxies. The proxy AGM is expected to enable the Pan-African financial institution to abide by the directives issued by governments and agencies regarding COVID-19 and how to contain its spread.

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“As a responsible corporate citizen, ETI intends to strictly comply with this restriction in addition to other applicable health and safety measures. Accordingly, attendance at this year’s General Meetings shall be mainly by proxies in accordance with the Articles of Association of the Company and applicable law,” a statement by the company said.

To this end, shareholders have been advised to select any of the company’s top executives (including the Chairman, Emmanuel Ikazoboh, and the MD of Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan) to represent and vote on their behalf during the AGM. Proxy forms may be downloaded from the company’s website, filled, and submitted in advance.

READ ALSO: NSE commemorates FBNQuest Merchant Bank’s N5 billion Bond Listing with Digital Closing Gong Ceremony

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Meanwhile, the issues that are up for discussion during the AGM and the Extra Ordinary meeting are enumerated below.

Annual General Meeting

1. Approval of the accounts
2. Appropriation of the Profits
3. Election of Directors
4. Ratification of the co-option of directors
5. Renewal of the appointment of the joint auditors
6. Approval of the Final Board Fees for Retiring Directors

Extraordinary General Meeting

1. Withdrawal of resolution on consolidation of shares
2. Amendment of the Articles

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Note that in Q1 2020, ETI reported profited after-tax from continuing operation of N66.4 billion, marking a 19% decline when compared to N81.9 billion during the comparable period in 2019.

ETI’s share price on the Nigerian Stock Exchange closed Friday’s trading session at N5.55. The company has a market capitalisation of about N137.3 billion according to information obtained from Bloomberg.

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NNPC explains measures to cut cost of crude oil production

Ewubare stated that NNPC was looking very closely at such variables as logistics, security, and transportation with a view to reducing the cost of production to $10 per barrel or below. 

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said that it is taking some measures to bring down the cost of crude oil production to $10 per barrel or below. 

According to a press statement that was signed by NNPC’s Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Dr. Kennie Obateru, this was disclosed by the Corporation’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), Ventures and Business Development, Mr. Roland Ewubare, on a Channels TV breakfast programme on Friday, June 5, 2020. 

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Ewubare pointed out that the peculiarity of the terrain was an important factor in determining cost, with such issues as pipeline vandalism, crude oil theft, and some others being critical factors that are peculiar to the Nigerian terrain and would definitely drive up crude oil production cost in the country. 

READ ALSO: NNPC unveils COVID-19 contacts tracing app, marketers to buy petroleum products online

He, however, stated that NNPC was looking very closely at such variables as logistics, security, and transportation with a view to reducing cost of production to $10 per barrel or below. 

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He disclosed that much had been done over the years in the area of reducing contracting cycle which used to be a major factor responsible for high cost of production, stressing that the National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS) achieved a six-month contracting cycle under him as Group General Manager. 

Mr. Ewubare denied reports that Nigeria is part of OPEC+ member countries that did not comply with the output cut that was agreed by the alliance 

Mr. Ewubare explained that though Nigeria’s total production capacity was 2.3million barrels per day, it was currently producing only about 1.4million barrels per day in compliance with the OPEC+ production quota, stressing that what makes up the little extra over the 1.4mbpd figure being bandied around for Nigeria was condensate which is usually not computed as part of production in OPEC quota.  

READ MORE: NNPC seeks Russian firms’ partnership to revamp oil refineries  

While making some clarification, Ewubare said, There’s some confusion in the market around the parameters for the production cuts. Nigeria has a full production capacity of about 2.3mbpd. We are currently producing between 1.6 and 1.7mbpd. Our OPEC quota as a result of the cuts is about 1.4mbpd. You and I know that condensate is not included in the computation of the cut numbers. So what we have is 1.4mbpd of crude oil. The little you see above 1.4mbpd is made up of condensate which does not count as part of the basis for assessing our OPEC quota”. 

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NNPC Group Managing Director, Mallam Mele Kyari, in a recent interview, advanced a similar position where he stressed that NNPC was working assiduously to bring down the cost of crude oil production to not more than $10 per barrel by 2021.  

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