Travel News

Canadian province announces two-year ban on Nigerians, other international students - DAILY POST

JANUARY 30, 2024

By Ogaga Ariemu

British Columbia, a Canadian province, has banned tertiary institutions from admitting Nigerians and international students for the next two years.

Federal Immigration Minister Marc Miller disclosed this recently in a statement.

According to Miller, the measure aims to decrease new student visa issuance by 35 per cent for the current year as the province addresses “exploitative practices” within the system, as per the announcement.

The Premier of British Columbia, David Eby, stressed the importance of addressing issues within the international education system, recognizing its pivotal role in the province’s social and economic framework.

“There are a wide array of private institutions, big and small, in our province, but regardless of the institution’s size, our expectations of the level of quality are the same.

“There are institutions that are not meeting our expectations right now,” he said.

DAILY POST gathered that in the first half of 2023, nearly 18,000 study permits were granted to Nigerians in Canada, surpassing all other countries except India.

PwC Forecasts 3.1% Growth In GDP, Rising Poverty - DAILY TRUST

JANUARY 30, 2024

By Abdullateef Aliyu

A foremost professional services firm, PwC Nigeria, Thursday released its Nigeria Economic Outlook report for 2024, projecting a marginal decline in inflation and 3.1 per cent rise in Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The GDP projection by PwC is lower than the 3.4 which the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG) projected a day before.

The report also points to a gloomy 2024 with rising poverty levels and the lingering cost of living crisis in the country.

It stated that achieving sustainable growth in 2024 “requires balancing ambitious fiscal reforms with effective budget implementation” while highlighting the importance of “aligning fiscal and monetary policy to stabilise prices and reach target goals.”

In the report, PwC highlighted seven key trends that will shape the economic outlook including executing fiscal reforms: balancing ambition with budgetary implementation; evolving monetary policy stance: and finding the right framework and instruments to achieve price stability, among others.

PwC also examined the proposed infrastructure funding which it said would remain insufficient in 2024.

“The allocated infrastructure spending budget for 2024 is N1.32 trillion, falling short of both the World Bank’s suggested 70% infrastructure-to-GDP benchmark (currently at 30%) and the yearly $150 billion requirement specified in the National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan for 2021- 2025.

“Security spending in the past nine years amounted to N14.8 trillion. Despite increased spending, insecurity remains a challenge and jeopardises national stability; negatively affects economic activities and undermines investor confidence.”

On revenue, it stated that “Nigeria’s ambitious revenue targets for 2024 depend heavily on oil prices and reform implementation. Historically, actual revenue realised has averaged less than 70% of the total budget.

“Achieving budgeted oil revenue in 2024 will depend on OPEC oil production quota, international oil prices, improved security in the oil-producing regions and geopolitical factors.

“The proposed fiscal reforms have the potential to boost non-oil revenue and shape the economy, but success hinges on effective budgeting and execution.”

On the cost of living crisis, the report noted that consumer spending may be pressured in 2024 “due to rising prices of goods and services (increasing food and transportation costs), coupled with lower disposable income.”

“However, private consumption is expected to be marginally better than in 2023. Poverty levels are projected to increase to 38.8% in 2024.

“Despite the low unemployment rate in the country, low consumer spending and purchasing power remain an issue, especially in the absence of a commensurate increase in the minimum wage to mitigate the inflationary growth in the economy,” the report added.  

Flight Cancellations Imminent Over 3-Day Hazy Weather - DAILY TRUST

JANUARY 30, 2024

By Abdullateef Aliyu

Daily Trust reports that flight operations are often impaired during hazy weather, resulting in cancellations and delay of flights.

Our correspondent learnt that the flight disruptions will affect most parts of the North for the three-day forecast, resulting in cancellations and delays.A similar situation was experienced last week, with airlines adjusting flights while some were cancelled. For instance, Air Peace cancelled all its Anambra flights over the weather issue.

This is why NCAA is calling for the understanding of passengers when such delays occur.

NCAA referenced NiMet’s weather outlook released on Sunday which predicted moderate dust haze with horizontal visibility range from 2km to 5km over the North.

The outlook also envisaged moderate dust haze with a horizontal visibility range of 2km to 5km and localised horizontal visibility of less than or equal to 1,000m over the North Central.

The agency forecast dust haze over the inland of the South and the coastal region throughout the period.

It said, “For Tuesday, moderate dust haze with a horizontal visibility range of 2km to 5km is anticipated over the northern region, the inland of the South and the coastal region of the country throughout the forecast period.”

According to NiMet, thick dust haze is expected over the Northern region throughout the forecast period.

It added that, “Dust particles are in suspension; use face masks where possible. People with asthma and other respiratory issues should be cautious of the present weather situations.”

Following NiMet’s advisory, the acting Director General of NCAA, Capt Chris Najomo, in a statement, advised airline operators to get updated weather reports and forecasts from NiMet for effective planning in their operations.

Muda Yusuf: CBN Clearing FX Backlogs Best Way Forward, No ‘Quick Fix’ To Nigeria’s Structural Deficiencies - ARISE NEWS

JANUARY 30, 2024

“Because the CBN is trying to sort that out, the capacity to intervene to stabilise the market has been constrained significantly.”

The Chief Executive Officer for the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, Muda Yusuf, that the steps being taken to clear the backlogs of Foreign Exchange by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is a good idea, and that in a short to medium term, there will be an easing of the pressure faced, but it is not a “quick fix” to the fundamental structural deficiencies faced in Nigeria.

The economist, however, also said that the CBN’s approach to stemming the valuation of the naira should be interrogated, as the Nigerian economy cannot afford the dramatic changes in the foreign exchange, and that the government should address the social consequences of these reforms on Nigerians.

Yusuf, while addressing the clearing of another $500 million by the CBN in an interview with ARISE NEWS on Tuesday, said, “We have gotten to a point where borrowing to support this kind of system will also create its own challenges. So, I think the best way forward is what I believe the CBN is trying to do, because the magnitude of this challenge, it’s not something you can fix in six months, in seven months, because if your reserve has depleted so much, you have challenges with your oil production, oil output, you have an economy which, over the years, has been programmed to defend so much on foreign exchange from oil, you have an economy where the non-oil sector is contributing not more than, maybe 5-10% of your foreign exchange earnings, these are fundamental structural deficiencies, and these are not things that you can fix very quickly.

“But what I think is important in all of this is for the CBN to continue on this trajectory of trying to rebuild confidence, that is, by clearing this backlog so that whatever we have that is coming to the CBN will now be able to be injected directly into the market.”

The economist then revealed that ideally, the CBN should not be the major provider or supplier of forex, but that due to a confidence crisis, the responsibility and challenge of stabilising the market is now squarely resting on the apex bank.

He said, “Unfortunately, because of these backlogs, the CBN is not able to directly intervene in the market as effectively as it should because the CBN is prioritising the clearing of backlogs, which makes sense, because if you really want people to bring in force into your economy, those who had issues with this liquidity, those whose forex are already trapped, those whose transactions are disrupted by the liquidity crisis which is creating a lot of credibility for Nigeria in the international trade process, we need to sort out all those things.

“So, my view is because the CBN is trying to sort that out, the capacity to intervene to stabilise the market has been constrained significantly, more so that we have a situation where we have a reserve that is severely depleted, because you can only defend a currency to the extent of the reserves that you have.”

Yusuf then said that the CBN’s approach the stabilise the Naira needs to be questioned as he said, “We need to also interrogate the approach of the Central Bank in dealing with this situation because the economy cannot afford this kind of volatility that within a week or two weeks, you are seeing dramatic changes in the foreign exchange, I mean, almost three, four times. We need a framework that will help to stabilise it even within the context of these fundamental challenges.”

He then said that although the reforms are needed, the government should make the reform process less severe in terms of the pain that it is exerting on Nigerians, and that the government must address the social outcomes of the reforms being put in place.

In order to address social outcomes of these reforms, he said, “The government should go back to the drawing board and look at how to address the social consequences of these reforms. To reduce the pressure of prices, cost of living, cost of transportation, cost of energy. And in doing that, we may need to step out of the orthodox method of economic management, because this is something that is peculiar to our situation. We need to relate to our reality.

“You cannot drag this process completely though using the orthodoxy of economic policy. We need to recognize the implications of reforms for poverty, for job creation, for cost of living. So, the normal market principles cannot deliver that situation. So, it requires a lot of government intervention, but the intervention must be effective, it must be something that is not vulnerable to corruption, I think that is something that we need to do.”

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

Nigeria is finished, my prediction on naira has come to pass – Sowore - DAILY POST

JANUARY 30, 2024

By Ochogwu Sunday

The presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, AAC, in the last general election, Omoyele Sowore, has claimed that his prediction about the depreciation of the naira in 2024 has come to pass.

In a post on his official X handle on Tuesday, the activist said he had predicted that the local currency would depreciate to N1,500 to $1 by 2024.

Citing the current economic crisis, Sowore declared that the “country has been finished”, urging Nigerians to take their country back from those allegedly killing it.

He wrote, “My prediction in December of 2023 is that the Nigerian currency -Naira- will be exchanged for N1,500 to $1 by 2024, and it has come to pass, and we are still in January.

“The earlier we all realize that this country has been finished and we all go out to take our country back the better”.

Nigeria's Lagos state eyes own airline, new airport - CH-AVIATION

JANUARY 30, 2024

By Andrew Curran

The government of the state of Lagos in southwestern Nigeria has proposed establishing an airline and building an airport at Lekki. Multiple Nigerian outlets are reporting on comments made by State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu at a public forum last week. He said planning and work on the financing model had been underway for several months.

"Over the last five months, the Deputy Governor and I have been working to put a concise plan together for the establishment of an airline, but we did not make the plan open because of the need to get adequate knowledge about the operational procedures of airlines," the governor told the forum. “The business plan is viable, and there is no issue about financing. The conversation has gone to an advanced stage but we need to get the proper information on operations before we go ahead to implement the plan."

He said the next steps were to secure federal government approval and set up "operational contingencies." According to ch-aviation PRO airports data, Lagos, the primary airport in the state of the same name, is Nigeria's second busiest. A total of 35 airlines use the airport, connecting it to 56 destinations in 35 countries.

Separately, plans to develop the Lekki-Epe International Airport are now a decade old, but the proposal has faced opposition from local landowners. The planned development of the 3,500-hectare airport in the east of the state will rely on a public-private partnership model. In 2022, stage one of the project had an estimated price tag of USD900 million. Earlier this month, an optimistic Lagos government official suggested the airport could open by the end of 2025 and be capable of handling five million passengers annually.

Libya deports migrants back to Nigeria - AFP

JANUARY 30, 2024

Libyan authorities on Tuesday began sending more than 320 irregular migrants to their home country Nigeria, an immigration official told AFP.

War-torn Libya has become a key departure point on North Africa’s Mediterranean coast for migrants, mainly from other parts of Africa, risking dangerous sea voyages in hopes of reaching Europe.

Libya’s rival administrations last year agreed on a Tripoli-based anti-immigration body tasked with coordinating deportations of foreigners who are in the country illegally.

“We carried out on Tuesday the expulsion of 163 irregular migrants of Nigerian nationality from the Mitiga airport, including 107 women, 51 men and five children,” said the migration agency’s head of security, Mohamad Baredaa.

In a move coordinated with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Baredaa added that “160 Nigerians will be sent back to their country from Benina airport in Benghazi” later on Tuesday.

An AFP correspondent saw the first group at Tripoli’s Mitiga airport early Tuesday, where they were given a laissez-passer before boarding shuttles to the plane.

According to the IOM, there are more than 700,000 migrants in Libya.

More than a decade of violence and instability since the 2011 overthrow and killing of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in a NATO-backed uprising helped turn the country into a fertile ground for human traffickers.

Smugglers and traffickers have long been accused of abuses.

In 2015, the UN-affiliated organisation established a “voluntary humanitarian return” scheme, arranging and financing travel for migrants and asylum seekers in Libya wishing to leave for their respective origin countries.

Last year, 9,370 people left under the programme, down from 11,200 in 2022, according to IOM figures

Foreign Airlines Applaud CBN Over Clearance Of Trapped Funds -

JANUARY 31, 2024

Written by Yusuf Babalola

Foreign Airlines have applauded the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for clearing the backlog of Forex owed to airlines operating in the country.

The airlines, speaking under the aegis of the Association of Foreign Airlines and Representatives in Nigeria (AFARN), said the clearance is a sigh of relief for operators.

According to the President, Kingsley Nwokoma, he urged the CBN to adopt a quarterly payment plan for the over $700 million trapped funds remaining with the apex regulatory bank.

“We thank the government for listening and doing it little by little, but we hope they can do more or have an arrangement with the airline for quarterly payment; that would be perfect.

“A systematic type of payment every quarter will help defray the backlog, and we can also get it behind us once and for all,” he stated.

Also speaking, the Head of Financial Institutions Ratings at Agusto & Co, Ayokunle Olubunmi, said the clearance of trapped funds and FX forwards would improve the value of the Naira.

“To be fair to the current CBN management, they have been trying their best, and they have been trying to clear the backlog of FX demand and matured FX forward and have been trying to get them paid,” he stated.

Olubunmi further stated that the payment would boost investors’ confidence as they can easily repatriate their funds.

“If you are owing someone and you need additional money, no one will give you because you have defaulted in the first one, so we need to clear that, and that will give a good signal to foreign investors to bring in their funds into the economy.

Therefore, the government should carry out an aggressive campaign that investors can now easily repatriate their money, especially now that the CBN is fundamentally clearing the backlogs,” he stated.

It could be recalled that the CBN had fulfilled its pledge to clear the backlog of foreign exchange owed foreign airlines in the country, as it concluded the payment of all verified claims by airlines with an additional $64.44 million to the concerned airlines.

Acting director of corporate communications at the CBN, Mrs. Hakama Ali, said the latest amount paid to the airlines brought the total verified amount paid to the sector to $136.73 million.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, she said all the verified airline claims had now been cleared.

According to her, CBN Governor Olayemi Cardoso and his team were doubly committed and would stop at nothing to ensure that the verified backlog of payments across all other sectors was cleared, and confidence was restored in the Nigerian foreign exchange market.

Furthermore, she assured that the CBN was working with stakeholders to ensure liquidity improves within the forex market, thereby reducing pressure on the Naira.

While expressing optimism that the market would respond positively to the latest injection of over $64 million, she admonished actors in the foreign exchange market to guard against speculation as such actions could hurt the Naira.

Sidi Ali, therefore, urged the public to support the reforms in the foreign exchange market, adding that the CBN would continue to promote orderliness and professional conduct by all participants in the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market to ensure market forces determine exchange rates.


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