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Transport owners to hike fares by 500%



images 13 1 Transport owners to hike fares by 500%

Commuters will face harder times in the coming weeks as the Association of Private Transport Company Owners of Nigeria (APTCON) has resolved to increase transport fare by as high as 500 per cent.

The association, which gave the hint after a recent meeting in Jos, Plateau State, said the government at all levels have not helped the situations of the transporters with their policies of unlawful multiple taxations and other levies which, he said, are worsening their situation in the sub-sector.

APTCON spokesperson, Audu Gaddo, accused the government at all levels of stifling the sub-sector with their policies and taxes, which he said make it impossible for transporters to operate profitably, thus the resolution to increase transport fares.

The increase in transport fares is coming on the heels of the almost 100 per cent increase following the increase in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, from N148 to N151 by the Pipeline and Product Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC).

He said: “While numerous issues plague the sector such as high exchange rates, high interests on bank loans among others, one of its toughest challenges remains the issue of multiple taxation. These colossally high, unsubstantiated and unlawful charges, which are predominant across the country particularly in places like Lagos, Abia, Rivers, Imo, Enugu, Kaduna, Delta and the Abuja Municipal Area Council, affect transporters’ ability to remain in business, leaving them with no option than to consider fare price increase.”

Gaddo called on the government at all levels to put the interest of its citizens first by addressing some of the other issues plaguing the Nigerian transport industry such as bad roads, unwarranted harassment of passengers by law enforcement officers and insecurity instead of focusing purely on financial gains.

He urged the government to take strategic steps in ending the shameful exploitation of transporters to avoid making innocent commuters suffer needlessly.

A member of the association, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the government did not care about the masses, and he alleged that a particular local government recently issued a demand notice of almost N7 million to one of their member organisations.

His words: “Passenger transport companies are always being exploited by the government especially at the state and local government levels. In just two months, I have paid close to N10 million in taxes for just three of the eight locations I operate from. How much are we making from this business, especially with this new law about social distancing in buses, which requires us to carry maximum of seven passengers in a 14-seater bus and 28 passengers in a 50-seater bus. Government is quick to charge and enforce unlawful taxes and but do not give us any support whatsoever. How do we survive?

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COVID-19: Sterling Bank pledges N10bn to revamp domestic tourism



download 4 COVID-19: Sterling Bank pledges N10bn to revamp domestic tourism

Sterling Bank Plc, has pledged a N10 billion facility for the purpose of revamping domestic tourism in the country post COVID-19.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Bank, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman, made the commitment while addressing participants at a tourism webinar organised by the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) with the theme: Nigerian Domestic Tourism: Re-Imagined.

Suleiman who spoke on the topic: “Investment for the Tourism Sector to Enhance Domestic Tourism,” noted that, “Sterling Bank has funding capacity and is ready to inject N10 billion into domestic tourism” if the right stakeholders are available in the industry.

He enjoined stakeholders in the industry to collaborate rather than compete, saying stakeholders need to come together to offer worthwhile experience in different aspects of the industry.

Suleiman encouraged operators in the domestic tourism industry to sit down with their bankers to build the experience together, adding that the sector is a billion dollar business. He stressed the need to have extensive discussion with stakeholders in the tourism sector in order to scale up. He advised the stakeholders to stop approaching the government as individuals but as a team so they can push for policy initiatives that would be beneficial to the industry.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who declared the virtual meeting open, noted that tourism assets and other social imprints in the country are huge just as tourism remains the largest employer of labour.

The Minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Isu Gekpe, said the restriction of the tourism sector in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the most vulnerable groups in the industry.

She observed that the promotion of tourism is the first step to re-starting the economy post COVID-19 and encouraged stakeholders to promote existing tourism assets in the country while a robust legal framework is being worked out.

Also speaking, Director-General of NTDC, Mr. Folorunsho Coker, expressed the hope that the commission would be able to exploit opportunities in the hospitality industry through packages, affordability of flight and access to tourism destinations. Coker said there was a need to have a solid foundation for domestic tourism which international tourism could lean on in the future.

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Naira slides to 460/$ at parallel market



images 48 3 Naira slides to 460/$ at parallel market

The naira fell slightly at the parallel market on Monday , as it exchanged to the dollar for N 460 / $ as of the close of work .
The naira had exchanged to the dollar on Friday for 458 / $ .
This is as the country ’s external reserves continued to maintain its downward trend.
Figures obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria revealed that the country ’ s external reserves which stood at $35 . 75 bn as of October 02 had lost $ 78 . 34 m to close at $ 35 . 67 bn as of October 16 .
The CBN had stated in its report on ‘ Monetary, credit , foreign trade and exchange policy guidelines for fiscal years 2020 / 2021 ’ that external reserves were expected to lie between $ 29 . 9 bn and $ 34 .3 bn by 2020 ending .
It said, “ Sequel to the COVID -19 pandemic, the viability of the external sector in 2020 is expected to deteriorate , given the present worsening current account balance and depletion of external reserves driven, largely , by decelerating export receipts, particularly oil .
“ Specifically , the degree of external reserves accumulation is expected to decelerate , as outflows are expected to outweigh inflows .
“ As a result , external reserves are expected to lie between $ 29 .9 bn and $ 34 .3 bn at end -December 2020 ( predicated on current declining oil price between $ 20 and $ 40 ) . ”

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External reserves drop to $35.67bn



images 42 3 External reserves drop to $35.67bn

Nigeria’s external reserves, last week, fell for the fourth consecutive week to $35.67 billion even as the naira depreciated to N462 per dollar in the parallel market.

Data from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) show that the reserves fell to $$35.672 billion on Thursday last week from $35.725 billion the previous week. This translated to week-on-week (w/w) decline of $53 million dollars, more than 100 percent increase from the $23 million w/w decline recorded in the previous week.

According to the CBN data, the reserves have been on the downward trend for four weeks since September 17th. It fell by $139 million to $35.672 billion last week Thursday from $35.811 billion.

Prior to the four weeks decline, the reserves rose steadily for two weeks, by $145 million to $35.811 billion on September 17th from $35.666 billion on September 2nd.

Investigations reveal that the sustained decline, especially at a time of relatively stable crude oil prices, might not be unconnected to the CBN’s dollar injection in the foreign exchange market in a bid to keep the exchange rate stable.

However, in spite of the intervention, the naira depreciated by N5 in the parallel market last week, though it remained stable at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window.

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