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Nigeria to retain N32.4bn yearly on aircraft repairs

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Nigeria is set to save $90 million dollars with the commencement of Aero Contractors Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility, given that the country operates no fewer than 40 Boeing aircraft, New Telegraph has learnt.

Hadi Sirika disclosed this to this newspaper at the roll out of Aero Contractors 737-500 aircraft from the hangar after the successful completion of a C-Check. He said the capital flight narrative is about to change with the organisation’s initiative. A C-check is a detailed maintenance check where the entire component of an aircraft is inspected for the purpose of repair and maintenance.

It is heavier than A and B checks and can take up to three weeks to conduct a C-check and require up to 6,000 man-hours. This is performed approximately every 20–24 months or a specific amount of actual flight hours (FH) or as defined by the manufacturer.

This maintenance check is much more extensive than a B-check, requiring a large majority of the aircraft’s components to be inspected. This check puts the aircraft out of service and the aircraft must not leave the maintenance site until it is completed.

It also requires more space than A and B checks. It is, therefore, usually carried out in a hangar at a maintenance base. The time needed to complete such a check is at least one to two weeks and the effort involved can require up to 6,000 man-hours.

According to the minister, Nigeria experiences huge capital flights of not less than $1.8 million and $3 million per Boeing aircraft on CChecks.

“It is noteworthy that Boeing 737 aircraft are the most aircraft fleet operated in Nigeria by most indigenous airlines, prior to now and in the lifespan of other administrations. Nigeria experienced huge capital flight of nothing less than $1.8 million and $3 million per Boeing aircraft that left our shores for C-Checks and there are over 30 of such aircraft operating, so you do the arithmetic,” the minister said in his address.

According to the minster, Aero was at the brink of being written off as history as another failed airline, but the airline management dug deep and has turned around to make remarkable history as the first indigenous airline to undertake C-Check on Boeing 737 Classics.

Also speaking at the ceremony to mark the successful conduct of the C-check by the airline at Aero Contractors Head Office, Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, Managing Director, Aero Contractors Airline, Captain Ado Sanusi, said the feat was necessitated by the need to maintain its aircraft locally.

Sanusi declared that the days where domestic airlines take their aircraft for maintenance abroad were over, stressing that conducting a C-check abroad amount to loss of huge capital flight.

According to him, Aero Contractors would be conducting the checks for all domestic airlines in Nigeria and across the West and Central Africa, affirming that the airline has bounce back to a profitable state.

His words: “Right now, three of our aircraft are up for maintenance and for third-party maintenance, we have about six aircraft; so the entire years is busy for us because before the end of the year, we will have a full bay maintenance facility in the country.

“This feat is a game changer in the aviation industry for the entire country and it means that we can maintain our airplanes. We don’t have to take them out of the country. It will save us foreign exchange, turnaround time for maintenance and we can also do it according to international standards”

Also, Managing Director, Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), Mr. Ahmed Kuru, said the certification given by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to Aero Contractors to conduct Cchecks on Boeing 737-500 series in the country would galvanize a boom in the aviation industry.

Kuru also said that it cost about $1.8million to $2million to conduct C-check outside the country, noting that such feat would save millions of dollars that Nigerian Airlines would have spent on maintenance abroad.

He said: “I would like to solicit the support for Aero MRO by all stakeholders particularly the relevant aviation regulatory bodies, towards ensuring that this seed that has been planted is allowed to grow, in our collective interest as Nigerians.

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Telecoms’ GDP leaps to 1.8% growth

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From a decline of -3.28 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2017, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate in Nigeria’s telecommunications sub-sector jumped to 1.8 per cent in the first quarter of this year, New Telegraph has learnt.

This, according to latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), shows a general improvement in the Information and Communication sector.

The telecoms and information services, which come under the Information and Communication sector in the NBS’ categorisation of economic activities, had in the last three quarters recorded negative growth rate as it fell by 1.9 per cent in second quarter 2017. In the third quarter of same year, it also went down by -5.68 per cent. By fourth quarter, the sector still went down by -3.28, even at the time when the overall GDP growth rate of the country looked positive.

However, the telecoms sector has shown remarkable signs of growth since the beginning of this year as subscriber data continue to surge.

Analysis of active mobile subscriptions in the first three months of the year shows that the telecom operators added 4.2 million subscribers within the period. Data subscriptions on the four GSM networks also crossed the 100 million mark in January and have maintained a steady growth.

The Information and Communication sector is composed of the four activities of Telecommunications and Information Services; Publishing; Motion Picture, Sound Recording and Music Production and Broadcasting. In nominal terms, the first quarter of 2018 saw the sector grow by 1.79 per cent (year-on-year) , a 7.25 per cent points decrease from the rate of 9.04 per cent recorded in the same quarter of 2017. However, it is 2.34 per cent points higher than rate recorded in the preceding quarter. The quarter-on-quarter growth rate was 3.58 per cent. The Information and Communications sector contributed 10.64 per cent to total Nominal GDP in the 2018 first quarter, lower than the rate of 11.43 per cent recorded in the same quarter of 2017 but higher than the 10.04 per cent it contributed in the preceding quarter.

The sector, in the first quarter of 2018, recorded a growth rate of 1.58 per cent in real terms, year-on-year. From the rate recorded in the corresponding period of 2017, there was a decline by 1.15 per cent points. Quarter on quarter, the sector exhibited a growth of –4.15 per cent in real terms. Of total real GDP, the sector contributed 12.41 per cent in 2018 first quarter, lower than in the same quarter of the previous year in which it represented 12.46 per cent but higher than the preceding quarter, in which it represented 11.35 per cent.

Analysts see the growth rate as a positive sign of more economic activities in the sector, leading to job creations and increased contribution to the economy.

Citing the NBS statistics, Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta recently disclosed that the telecoms sector in the first quarter of 2017 contributed N1.45 trillion to the GDP, adding that in the second quarter, the figure rose to N1.549 trillion.

“This performance at a period of recession is very remarkable,” he said. “We are keeping dates with the NBS to identify and track how these trends progress. On the aggregate, the telecoms industry’s contribution to GDP in Nigeria stands at 10 per cent.

“But the figures may not tell the entire story. Investments in the sector, in human and material resources, have continued to soar. In 2001, the telecom sector could boast of a mere $50 million worth of investments but as at September 2017, we have investments worth $70 billion. The Value Added Services (VAS), segment of the telecom market in Nigeria today is worth $200 million and is estimated to grow to $500 million by 2021. The industry has provided both direct and indirect employment opportunities, accentuated growth and expansion.”

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Reps probe Pencom over alleged financial mismanagement

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The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) over alleged reckless financial management of retirees’ funds and infraction on the public procurement Law. The House has consequently mandated its committee on public procurement and pensions to carry out a comprehensive investigation on alleged monumental fraud ongoing at the commission.

 

The decision followed the passage of a motion sponsored by Hon. Zakariya Galadima on the “need to investigate the alleged violation of provisions of the public procurement Act and financial mismanagement by the National Pension Commission (PENCOM)” During debate, the legislators faulted the commission over several financial infractions as against the principles and objectives of the provisions of the Pension Reform Act, which required the commission to collect and utilize fees, levies and penalties prudently in accordance with its regulatory and compliance roles. For instance, part of the 2014 Act authorizes PENCOM to invest the retiree funds in order to generate revenue but the lawmakers are worried that such investments powers of the agency have been grossly eroded by financial abuses.

 

In his lead debate, Galadima faulted the agency over several financial mismanagement while expressing worry that PENCOM engaged in fraudulent practice by investing N1billion into Aso Savings and Loans Plc under its investments portfolio at a ridiculously low interest rates and further directed Aso to lend the money to MGSL Mortgage Bank Limited where a top PENCOM management staff has interest.

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Confectionery firm hosts BBNaija ex-housemates

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Infusion Cakes & Cafe, a Lagos-based confectionery firm, has hosted ex-housemates of the reality TV show, Big Brother Nigeria (BBNaija), in a meet and greet session in Lagos recently.

Founder and chief executive of Infusion Cakes & Cafe, Mrs. Ibigbeye Okobi, in a statement, said the company decided to host the BBNaija ex-housemates because: “We really enjoyed the free spirit they exhibited, how natural they were and how they were able to get Nigerians to actually get engaged in everything they did while in the house.”

Okobi said the management of Infusion Cakes & Cafe also felt that the location of the company in the highbrow Lekki area of Lagos would serve as an excellent platform for Nigerians who were keen to meet the ex-housemates, get to know and interact with them in a friendly and hospitable environment to really appreciate them.

Infusion Cakes & Cafe is a modern bakery and cafe where customers can get a combination of international and locally made cakes, coffee, pastries and desserts for refreshment, weddings and special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries, among others.

The highlight of the event was a competition for the decoration of cakes. Participants in the competition included the reigning Miss Nigeria, Miss Mildred Peace Ehiguese; one of the BBNaija ex-housemates, Anto; and a representative of Team Definition, a band of musical artistes which entertained guests at the session.

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