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Ministry of Health approves COVID-19 protocols for aviation sector, as airports prepare to resume

Flight attendants would be required to undergo mandatory COVID-19 test every fortnight, at the expense of their employers.

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NCAA, Ministry of Health approves COVID-19 protocols for aviation sector, as airports prepare to resume

Flight crew members will now be required to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and observe Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC) measures for the duration of their flights.

They would also be required to undergo mandatory COVID-19 test every fortnight, at the expense of their employers.

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This is part of the mandatory COVID-19 protocols approved by the Federal Ministry of Health for the aviation industry, as the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) prepares to gradually ease the lockdown on its operations on June 7.

NCAA Director-General, Captain Musa Nuhu, stated this at a virtual event organised by the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ART) titled COVID-19: The Challenges and Opportunity for Nigeria’s Aviation Value Chain, During and Post.

According to Nuhu who sent letters to airline operators, airports, and other service providers, these new protocols override existing practices where the international flight crew members are quarantined for 14 days upon their return to Nigeria.

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(READ MORE: COVID -19: Nigerian companies have records of innovation to turn pandemic challenge to gold)

In addition, the airlines must also conduct orientation and sensitisation of their crew on Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC) measures, in addition to having adequate stock of PPE, minimum 70% alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and Universal Precaution Kits (UPK) on board every aircraft.

Aviation sector to contribute over N1.2 trillion to Nigeria's GDP by 2020, Nigerians might be hit with higher ticket price as airlines battle fuel scarcity, fuel price increase , Aviation: Aviation sector gasps for stimulus in worst ever crisis, Ministry of Health approves COVID-19 protocols for aviation sector, as airports prepare to resume

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The letter reads; “Onboard the flight crew will request passengers wash their hands after using the lavatory, apply disinfectant spray in lavatory every 60 minutes during the flight and maintain a safe distance between passengers and themselves; avoid direct physical contact and serve only pre-packed meals to passengers.

“Flight deck crew must wear non-medical face masks and gloves but can remove face masks when the cockpit door is closed. They must also ensure safe removal of gloves after performing specific tasks and avoid touching their face and eyes with unclean hands.” 

The new protocols according to Nuhu, are a result of a proposal earlier sent by the NCAA to the Ministry of Aviation for approval.

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Recall that on March 13, President Muhammadu Buhari had announced a shutdown of airport operations for one month. The shutdown was initially extended by two weeks and then later extended by four weeks; all part of measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision to commence flights at the airports on June 7, according to the NCAA, is to avoid chocking the “system”.

(READ MORE: Air Peace to evacuate stranded Indians from Lagos to Kerala)

The airports where operations will commence are the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Ikeja; Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja; Aminu Kano Airport, Kano and the Port Harcourt Airport, Choba, Rivers State.

“We may resume domestic operations with four or five airports and we hope to expand as we get better. We don’t want to rush everything at the same time and get it choked up,” he said.

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Airlines want more women stakeholders in aviation sectors , Ministry of Health approves COVID-19 protocols for aviation sector, as airports prepare to resume

On the issue of physical distancing…

The issue of a 2 metre physical distance has, however, not been concluded in the newly approved protocols, as the NCAA has stated that airlines may not be able to adhere to it.

“Every money is important and we cannot achieve the two-meter physical distance. We are hopeful in the next few days we can resolve those issues and allow the airlines to commence operations,” he said.

In his presentation, Air Peace Chairman, Mr Allen Onyema, also disagreed with plans to leave the middle seats of aircraft free as that could further affect  the revenue of the airlines.

He suggested instead that the government provide intervention for local carriers to enable them retain their workers as the pandemic has bored a deep hole in their pockets.

“We should be asking the government for specific things that would help retain jobs. Job retention should be first and foremost. These people’s livelihood are endangered and we must do everything possible to keep  their jobs.”

Patricia

Ruth Okwumbu has a MSc. and BSc. in Mass Communication from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and Delta state university respectively. Prior to her role as analyst at Nairametrics, she had a progressive six year writing career. As a Business Analyst with Narametrics, she focuses on profiles of top business executives, founders, startups and the drama surrounding their successes and challenges. You may contact her via [email protected]

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Companies

Seplat gives notice of board meeting, to consider Q2 financial result

The notification is in conformity with the rules of the Nigerian bourse on the obligations of the issuer.

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Seplat Plc, Seplat gives notice of board meeting, to consider Q2 financial result

The indigenous oil and gas firm, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc has given notice of its board of director meeting which has been scheduled for Tuesday, July 28, 2020 through a teleconference in Lagos between 10 am and 3 pm.

This was disclosed in a notification that was sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on July 3, 2020 and signed by the oil firm’s Company Secretary, Edith Onwuchekwa.

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The notification is in conformity with the rules of the Nigerian bourse on the obligations of the issuer, in this case, Seplat, to notify the Exchange at least 14 days ahead of the due date and time when the board of directors hopes to meet to discuss its financial results.

The notification from Seplat states, ‘’In line with the rules of the NSE on the obligation of the Issuer to notify the Exchange at least 14 days in advance, in respect of the date and time when the board of directors will meet to discuss its Q2 2020 Financial Results, we wish to state the meeting details as follows,’’

‘’Date: Tuesday 28th July 2020, Venue: Via Teleconference, Lagos, Time: 10.00am – 3.00pm’

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(READ MORE: Fidelity Bank announces closed period ahead of H2 financial statements release)

Seplat, in its statement, also said they were going to notify the Exchange of the details of the Board’s decision on the 2020 second-quarter financial results immediately after the meeting as required by the rules.

Nairametrics had earlier reported that following the global oil crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, the oil and gas firm, in its released financial statement, announced that revenue declined from $159.5 million in Q1 2019 to $130.5 million in Q1 2020. That represented an 18.2% drop.

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The gross profit dropped from $81.4 million in Q1 2019 to $33.1 million in Q1 2020. This shows a drop of 59.3%. The profit before deferred tax showed a loss of $105.8 million in Q1 2020 as against the profit before deferred tax of $35.8 million that was achieved in Q1 2019. This represented a huge drop of 395.5%.

The company’s CEO, Austin Avuru, said that as part of its strategy, Seplat was shifting focus to its gas business which is less exposed to the oil price drop which is currently ravaging the upstream sector.

The current share price of Seplat on the Nigerian Stock Exchange is N386 per share as at July 3, 2020.

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Energy

Just in: NNPC announces top management appointments as top official resigns

The NNPC has effected a major shake-up to enable the corporation to live up to its expectations.

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The state-owned oil giant, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has effected some major reorganization in the firm. They have announced some new appointments and redeployments as part of the ongoing efforts to strengthen and reposition NNPC for greater efficiency, transparency and profitability in line with the next level agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

This was disclosed in a press release by NNPC on Sunday, July 5, 2020, and signed by the corporation’s Group General Manager Public Affairs Division Dr Kennie Obateru.

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In the statement released by the oil giant, Mr Adokiye Tombomieye, the Group General Manager, Crude Oil Marketing Division (COMD), is now the new Chief Operating Officer (COO), Upstream while Mr Mohammed Abdulkabir Ahmed, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Gas Marketing Company (NGMC), has been appointed the new Chief Operating Officer, Corporate Services, following the retirement of Engr. Farouk Garba Sa’id, last week.

Dr Kennie Obateru stated that reorganization includes the redeployment of Engr. Adeyemi Adetunji, the Chief Operating Officer, Upstream, to the Ventures & Business Development Directorate as COO, following the voluntary resignation of Mr Roland Onoriode Ewubare, from the position last week.

The top-level staff movement also affected Sir. Billy Okoye who has been redeployed from the NNPC Downstream Company, NNPC Retail Limited, as Managing Director, to replace Mr Tombomieye as the Group General Manager, Crude Oil Marketing Division; while Mrs Elizabeth Aliyuda, the General Manager, Sales and Marketing NNPC Retail Limited, takes over from Sir Okoye as Managing Director.

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Similarly, Mr Usman Farouk, Executive Director Asset Management and Technical Services at the Nigerian Gas Marketing Company (NGMC) takes over from Mr Ahmed as Managing Director

The statement from NNPC also explained that President Buhari has accepted the resignation of Mr Roland Ewubare, who was the immediate past Chief Operating Officer, Ventures and New Business Directorate of the National Oil Company while the retirement of the immediate past Chief Operating Officer, Corporate Services, Engr. Farouk Garba Said had also received the approval of President who thanked the two former COOs for their meritorious service to the corporation.

The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari, said the new appointments would enable the corporation to live up to the expectation of her shareholders, Nigerians, and give impetus to the ongoing restructuring within the Corporation, which, he said, was in line with the corporate vision of Transparency, Accountability & Performance Excellence (TAPE).

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Financial Services

Zenith Bank and GTBank are considering paying interim dividends despite COVID-19

Analysts earlier predicted that banks may hold off on dividend payments as a way of cutting down on costs in view of COVID-19.

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Zenith Bank’s board of directors is set to meet on July 23rd, 2020 to consider the tier-1 bank’s audited financial statements for half-year 2020. The directors will also consider “the proposal for recommendation of interim dividend for shareholders,” said a notice that was sent by the company to the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

In a similar development, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc said in a statement to the NSE that “issues relating to half-year dividend may also be discussed” when its board of directors meet later this month.

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Zenith Bank and GTBank, which are two of the most profitable banks in Nigeria, have always paid interim dividends to their shareholders. However, analysts earlier predicted that many banks may hold off on dividend payments as a way of cutting down on costs, in view of COVID-19 and its attendant economic implications. It is, therefore, fascinating to see that Zenith Bank and GTBank are considering interim dividends nonetheless.

Elsewhere, banks around the world have either been warned not to pay dividends at all or to be careful with dividend payouts. In April, The Economic Times reported that the Reserve Bank of India advised Indian banks to suspend dividend payments in order to conserve their capital amid the pandemic. In a similar development, regulators in Europe also banned European banks from paying any dividend in 2020. In Australia, banks were advised to slash their dividend payouts. Meanwhile, over in North America, the US Federal Reserve announced in late June that it will temporarily restrict dividend payouts by some of the country’s biggest banks, the New York Times reported.

As Nairametrics had repeatedly reported, the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to adversely impact different sectors of the Nigerian economy, including the financial institutions. An earlier report by Nairametrics quoted Augusto & Co to have predicted how the pandemic would weaken Nigerian banks’ assets. An April report by PwC also highlighted some of the ways COVID-19 could impact Nigerian banks.

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In the meantime, the Banking Industry Risk Indicator (BIRI) in Nigeria stands at a score of 12.14 out of 100, according to a recent analysis by Fitch Solutions, as Nairametrics reported.


Do note that Zenith Bank Plc has declared a closed period for the trading in its stock starting from July 6th, 2020. The closed period will last until 24 hours after the company’s half-year 2020 financial report is released to the public. In the meantime, all persons with inside knowledge of Zenith Bank’s affairs shall be prohibited from buying and selling the company’s stock during the closed period. 

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Patricia
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