The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Embassy in Nigeria has reacted to media reports about the purported travel restrictions imposed on Nigerians wishing to travel to the UAE.
In its response, the UAE Embassy in Abuja refuted the accuracy of the information which was contained in those reports, while also affirming the growing bilateral relations between the 2 friendly countries.
This disclosure was made in an official statement by the United Arab Emirates Embassy in Abuja on Thursday, August 6, 2020.
The embassy, in its statement, said the UAE government acknowledged that travel between Nigeria and the UAE has been limited due to the closure of the Nigerian airspace. Part of the statement said:
“In response to recent press and social media reports regarding purported travel restrictions between the UAE and Nigeria, and in an affirmation of the growing bilateral relations between the two friendly countries, the UAE Embassy in Abuja denies the accuracy of the information contained in these reports.
“At the onset of the COVlD-19 pandemic, the UAE took a number of precautionary measures to combat the virus’ spread, including the temporary suspension on issuing UAE visas for all nationalities as of March 17, 2020.
“After entering the recovery phase of the pandemic, the UAE eased some measures on July 7, permitting visitors from various countries to adhere to the necessary precautionary measures, including by showing negative PCR test results within 92 hours of travelling to the UAE. This includes those visiting from Nigeria.”
The statement also noted that the UAE Embassy and the Nigerian Government will continue to work closely to obtain the necessary approvals to facilitate travel between both countries.
It can be recalled that there were media reports which were triggered by claims of a travel agency, saying that visa renewals for Nigerians in the UAE, approval for permanent residents, and tourist visas have been discontinued.
Some social media users, in reaction to the development, linked the new restrictions to some of the fraud cases involving some Nigerians in Dubai recently
— UAE Embassy in Nigeria (@UAEEmbassyNGR) August 6, 2020
Aviation contribution to GDP drops by 38.86% in Q3 2020 – NBS
A recently released NBS report indicates that air transport contracted by 38.86% in the third quarter of 2020.
The GDP report recently released by the National Bureau of Statistics indicates that air transport under the transportation and storage sector contracted by 38.86% in the third quarter of 2020.
According to the report, the subsector contracted Q-o-Q by 57.38% and 15.23% Y-o-Y.
The transportation and storage sector comprising road transport, rail transport and pipelines, water transport, air transport, and transport services experienced growth of 35.06% in nominal terms (year-on-year), as it sought to gradually recover from the restricted movements of passenger and goods.
According to the report, “In real terms, the transportation and storage sector contracted by -42.98% in Q3 2020. This rate represented a slightly better performance than the preceding quarter when it recorded -49.23%, an increase of 6.25%. Year on Year, growth was 18.24%.”
What you should know
All activities under transport and the storage industry recorded negative growth rates, except for post and courier services.
Part of the report read, “All activities under the transport and storage industry recorded negative growth rates except post and courier services. Quarter on quarter, growth stood at 29.69%. Transport activities contributed 1.28% to nominal GDP in Q3 2020, a decline from the 2.03% recorded in the corresponding period of 2019, but higher than 1.13% recorded in the second quarter of 2020.”
The subsector suffered, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic pay cuts and job losses.
Several pilots were sacked and as well some Ground handling companies also took a beating, as Skyway Aviation Handling Company Plc and the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc saw their combined revenue for nine months ended September 30, dip by N2.7bn to N10.1bn from N12.8bn in the same period of 2019 – representing 21.2% reduction in revenue in the period under review, according to the financial statements of the companies listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
US imposes $15,000 visa bond on 15 African countries, others
The US has issued a visa rule requiring tourist and business travelers in some countries to pay a bond of up to $15,000 in addition to the visa fees.
The outgoing administration of US President, Donald Trump, on Monday, November 23, 2020, issued a new temporary visa rule that requires tourist and business travelers from 15 African countries and others to pay a bond of up to $15,000 in addition to the visa fees, which ranges from $16 to $300, in order to visit the United States.
According to TheCable, the US State Department said the visa bond pilot programme, expected to take effect from December 24 and end on June 24, 2021, is targeted at countries whose citizens have higher rates of overstaying B-2 visas for tourists and B-1 visas for business travelers.
The Trump administration said the six-month pilot program aims to test the feasibility of collecting such bonds and will serve as a diplomatic deterrence to overstaying the visas. Hence, overstay places significant pressure on Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security.
The visa bond rule will permit U.S. consular officers to request tourist and business travelers from countries whose nationals had an overstay rate of 10% and above in 2019 to pay a refundable bond of $5,000, $10,000, or $15,000.
The countries whose tourist and business travelers fall into this category and subjected to the bond requirements are 24 countries, including 15 African countries. While these nations had higher rates of overstays, they sent relatively fewer travelers to the United States.
The countries include Afghanistan, Angola, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burma, Burundi, Cape Verde, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa), Djibouti, Eritrea, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, Laos, Liberia, Libya, Mauritania, Papua New Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen
Nigerian travelers escaped paying the temporary visa rule, as their overall score was below the threshold of 10% and above overstaying rate.
KLM, Air France to resume flight operations in Nigeria from December 7
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Air France have announced they will gradually resume flight operations to Abuja and Lagos.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Air France have announced they will gradually resume flight operations to Abuja and Lagos from December 7.
According to a report by Punch, the airlines in a statement on Monday disclosed that international passengers can now fly Air France and KLM from Nigeria (Abuja and Lagos) to Paris and Amsterdam, with the possibility of further transfers to other European and North Atlantic destinations.
In a piece of travel advice, the airline asked customers to ensure they are well prepared for their trip and check the entry and travel requirements for their destination and transit countries in line with travel restrictions and governmental authorizations before making any travel plans. This is as the entry requirements may change with short notice.
General Manager Air France KLM Nigeria and Ghana, Michel Colleau, was quoted to have said, “Flights to and from Lagos and Abuja will be operated in strict compliance with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and international health protocols, adhering to the highest standards of health and hygiene.”
What you should know
It can be recalled that in September 2020, the Federal Government barred Air France and KLM airlines and some other foreign airlines from flight operations into the country.
The Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika, said that Air France and KLM were not granted approval for flight operations because tourist visa holders were not allowed entry into their countries.
Nairametrics also reported about a week ago that the Federal Government had given go-ahead to Lufthansa, Air France/KLM, and Qatar Airways to resume flight operations into the country.