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Chinese Visa Restriction: Ministry of Foreign Affairs issues clarification

Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has made an effort to clarify issues regarding visa restrictions placed on Nigerians by China.

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#EndSARS Sanctions: Nigeria has reached out to the UK Government - Foreign Minister, Chinese Visa Restriction: Ministry of Foreign Affairs issues clarification, London evacuation flight rescheduled to July 14

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the visa restrictions placed on Nigerians by China is due to the rising cases of COVID-19, and will continue engagements with the Chinese Government on the issue.

This was disclosed on Saturday by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, after he invited the Charge D’Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria, Mr. Zhao Yong, to provide clarification on how the new Chinese visa restriction affects Nigerians.

READ: How Diaspora Bonds Work and Benefits

READ: Covid-19: Nigeria to seek $750 million from World Bank- Finance Minister

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The Ministry disclosed that Nigerians with  Diplomatic and Emergency VISA waivers are still allowed to visit China. Also, those with visa issues after the 3rd of November.

Entry by holders of diplomatic, service, courtesy, or C Visas (issued for foreign crew members) will not be affected. Foreign nationals visiting China for emergency needs may apply for visa at the Chinese Embassy. Entry by non-Chinese nationals in Nigeria with visa issued after November 3rd, 2020 will not be affected,” a statement released by the Ministry said.

READ: Huawei dragged to court over alleged fraudulent deal

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The Ministry added that the suspension of visa issuing was caused by the pandemic and will continue to assess the situation.

The suspension is a temporary response necessitated by the current situation of Covid-19. The above mentioned measures will be assessed in accordance with the evolving situation and any adjustment will be notified accordingly.

“The Ministry will continue to engage the Chinese Government on the issue and keep Nigerians informed,” the Ministry added.

READ: China publicly presents its COVID-19 vaccines, 2 doses to cost below $146

What you should know 

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Nairametrics reported last week that the Chinese government announced the temporary suspension of entry into China by non-Chinese nationals in Nigeria holding valid visas and residence permit, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, China has decided to temporarily suspend entry into China by non-Chinese nationals in Nigeria holding visas or residence permits still valid at the time of this announcement. The Chinese Embassy and Consulate in Nigeria will no longer issue Certified Health Declaration Form for the above-mentioned personnel,” the Chinese Embassy stated.

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Hospitality & Travel

Nigeria owes foreign airlines $53 million as proceeds from ticket sales – IATA

Foreign airlines operating in Nigeria are having difficulties repatriating funds back to their operational base.

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Nigeria owes foreign airlines $53 million as proceeds from ticket sales - IATA

The sum of $53 million, which is the proceeds from sales of foreign airlines’ ticket, are trapped in Nigeria.

This was disclosed by the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East (AME), Mr. Muhammed Albakri, at its 76th Annual General Meeting.

READ: Gov. Wike presents 2021 budget worth N448.6 billion

Albakri explained that foreign airlines operating into Nigeria are having difficulties repatriating the fund back to their operational base.

He stated that Nigeria and other African countries have blocked funds that amounted to $516 million.

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READ: N5billion bailout fund underway for the Aviation sector – Minister

He said, “IATA has been at the forefront of the campaign, soliciting governments’ support for the aviation industry in order to salvage the situation.”

Nigeria is not the only country with trapped funds but fourth among 12 others with similar issues.

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READ: Gold suffers worst monthly drop in four years

Others African states are Zimbabwe $160 million; Eritrea $79 million; Algeria $54 million; Ethiopia $52 million; Sudan $45 million; Libya $27 million; XAF Zone $27 million; Angola $9 million; Mozambique $6 million; Burundi $3 million and Zambia $1 million.

What it means: The IATA’s disclosure is an indication that the airlines could not access foreign exchange (forex) by operators due to COVID-19 pandemic, as most countries are struggling economically with its attendant effect on global airline industry.

READ: New CBN Circular: CBN confirms only Banks can pay IMTO dollars

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What you need to know: International airlines are owed $824 million globally and $516 million out of $824 million in blocked funds is in Africa. With the IATA revelation, it means the rest of the world has $308 million of the blocked funds.

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Hospitality & Travel

UK Government opens point-based immigration system

The UK Government has announced the commencement of its point-based immigration system to attract skilled workers from across the world.

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In a bid to attract “the brightest and the best from around the world,” the UK Government has announced that applications for skilled workers visas can commence.

This was announced by the UK’s Secretary of State, Priti Patel, in a statement on Tuesday evening.

What you should know 

The UK Government had hinted earlier this year that it planned on exiting the European Union, and thereafter, it would introduce a point-based immigration system widely used by both Canada and Australia.

We are ending free movement and will introduce an Immigration Bill to bring in a firm and fair points-based system that will attract the high-skilled workers we need to contribute to our economy, our communities, and our public services. We intend to create a high wage, high-skill, high productivity economy,” the government stated in February 2020.

The UK disclosed on Tuesday that points would be given to applicants “awarded for a job offer at the appropriate skill level, knowledge of English, and being paid a minimum salary. Skilled worker visas will be awarded to those who gain enough points.”

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(READ MORE: Why UK allegedly protected Nigeria from trade sanctions – Report)

It stated that the new immigration scheme would ensure that businesses could hire skilled applicants from across the globe to boost their economy,

“It will also encourage employers to focus on training and investing in the UK workforce, driving productivity and improving opportunities for individuals, especially those impacted by a coronavirus.”

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Home Secretary, Rishi Sunak, disclosed that:

  • This government promised to end free movement, to take back control of our borders, and to introduce a new points-based immigration system. Today, we have delivered on that promise.
  • This simple, effective, and flexible system will ensure employers can recruit the skilled workers they need, whilst also encouraging employers to train and invest in the UK’s workforce.
  • We are also opening routes for those who have an exceptional talent or show exceptional promise in the fields of engineering, science, tech, or culture.

(READ MORE: United States announces changes to work permit visas that could affect Nigerians)

Additional details

The skilled worker’s visa lasts for 5 years and can be renewed when expired. It requires applicants to have jobs paying at least £25,600 per year unless the ‘going rate’ for that job is higher.

Applicants will need to prove their identities and provide documents, Also, the process will require 3 weeks for a decision to be made after all necessary documents are provided.

“They will need to have enough money to pay the application fee (ranging from £610 to £1,408), the healthcare surcharge (usually £624 per year) and be able to support themselves (usually by having at least £1,270 available),” the UK government said.

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Hospitality & Travel

34.5% decline in aviation jet fuel daily sufficiency, a worry for airline companies

Decline in daily aviation fuel sufficiency worries airlines as air passengers are expected to increase in the festive season.

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Airline operators will pay $3,500 per passenger if they break protocols – PTF COVID-19, Global Air passenger slump to persists til 2023- Moody’s 2023- Moody’s

The 34.5% decline in the daily sufficiency of aviation jet fuel may constitute a worry for airline companies in the country.

Considering that there is usually more people traveling due to the traditional Christmas and New Year festivities, resulting in increased flight patronage, the current total stock level appears to be low.

The observation is according to the daily petroleum products days sufficiency (total stock level data) compiled by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).

In line with the data available on the PPPRA website,

  • The current total stock level of Aviation Turbine Kerosene (ATK), also known as aviation jet fuel or Jet-A1, stands at 89.04 million litres.
  • Eleven days earlier, the total stock level was 135.83 million litres – indicating a 34.5% decline.
  • Before now and since the start of the 2020, total stock level has been relatively unstable, with the recent highest total stock level of 187.40 million litres recorded on the 2nd of October 2020 – indicating about 60 days sufficiency; and the lowest 54.96 million litres was recorded on the 17th of July – about 18 days sufficiency.
  • As at the time the latest report was released, 27th November 2020, the total ATK stock was land-based stock.
  • Checks indicate there has been no receipt of ATK from the 19th of November, after the last receipt of 5.56 million litres on the 18th of November.

What they are saying

Speaking to Nairametrics regarding the decline, the MD/CEO of Jushad Oil and Gas Ltd, Mr. Bosun Paseda, submitted that the decline is due to the continuous increase in the exchange rate.

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He said, “The exchange rate is very high and unstable. You will discover that importers do not have access to the CBN rate and have to make recourse to the parallel market. The landing cost is currently higher than the rate we sell at the airport. That’s why marketers do not want to bring the product.

“Scarcity is likely to set in, but the reason there is no scarcity yet is because people are not really flying. If it stays the same, then scarcity may set in, when travel increases.”

Responding to the question on whether the decline in stock has affected the price of the product, Mr Paseda noted that it has not really affected the price of the product as consumption is currently low.

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What you should know

Nairametrics recently reported that oil markets yearned for airlines to resume operations following several months of not operating due to the Covid-19 pandemic travel restrictions.

  • Aside from the loss of revenues to airline companies, the call was necessary considering that Jet fuel demand averages about 8 million barrels per day worldwide – indicating that oil companies were also not recording enough revenues.
  • As a result of the pandemic, the International Energy Agency expects demand for Jet fuel and Kerosene to fall by 2.1 million bpd on average in 2020. This has, however, improved following lifting of travel restrictions in many countries.

Now that flights have resumed operations, it appears airline companies in the country may be in line to face another hurdle before the year runs out. The likelihood of facing this hurdle is highly contingent on receipt of ATK used in powering flights and increased travels. If things remain the same in terms of daily sufficiency of ATK needed to power their flights, scarcity may set in.

  • Remember that the lowest ATK of 54.96 million litres – about 18 days sufficiency, recorded on the 17th of July, was during travel restrictions. The decline in that period didn’t create concerns and it picked up days later.

What this means

  • With the national average daily consumption of ATK three million litres, this depicts that current total stock level of 89.04 million litres will only sustain for about 30 days, all things being equal.
  • Even though it appears this stock level is good, the steady decline in the stock level as illustrated in the graph above raises immediate concerns.
  • Also, one may conclude that receipt of ATK has stalled in recent days, having received only a total of 12.68 million litres in the last two weeks, since 12th November. This observation appears to denote that should the product receipt trend continue, scarcity may occur in the near future.

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