By Dipo Olowookere
Chairman of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc (Transcorp), the core investor in Transcorp Hotels Plc, Mr Tony Elumelu, has been handed over the Certificate of Discharge of the iconic hospitality facility.
The presentation was done in Abuja on Monday, October 14, 2019 by the Nigerian Vice President, Mr Yemi Osinbajo, at a ceremony that took place at the Presidential Villa.
Business Post reports that a certificate of discharge is a document issued to an investor by government indicating that he has met requirements for the acquisition of a public asset and was now in charge.
It was gathered that a its meeting yesterday, the National Council on Privatisation (NCP), which is chaired by Mr Osinbajo, handed over full ownership of Transcorp Hotels to the buyer after fulfilling all privatisation conditions attached to the sale of the property in 2005.
According to the Director-General of Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), the agency which supervised the sale of the hotel, Mr Alex Okoh, Transcorp excelled at achieving the KPIs established during the monitoring and evaluation of the asset.
He said the key areas of achievement included an increase in customer base by 113 percent, increase in service excellence captured by an 82 percent decrease in customer complaints, and an increase in operational efficiency with retained earnings rising to 70 percent of turnover.
“The success achieved by the hotel has evidently proven both the diligent process of implementing the privatisation programme on one hand and the commitment and professionalism of the management team of the hotel on the other,” he said, adding that “The approval is sequel to the review and analysis of the outcome of our routine performance evaluation earlier conducted on the hotel, which clearly indicates that the achievements recorded by Transcorp Hotels are in line with all the covenanted obligations embedded in the Share Sale Purchase Agreement (SSPA).”.
Recall that in 2005, Transcorp emerged the core investors in the privatisation of the hotel asset, which later became Transcorp Hotels Plc in 2014 following a decision to make this iconic asset available to the investing public as shareholders.
The company later extended its reach to Calabar, Cross River State, operating as Transcorp Hotels Calabar and further acquired strategic properties in Lagos and Port Harcourt where it intends to develop new hotels.
In 2018, Transcorp Hotels completed a $100 million upgrade of the iconic and multi-award winning Transcorp Hilton Abuja, which was a key factor that led to the final discharge of the company by the BPE from further post- privatisation obligations.
Commenting on this, Mr Elumelu said, “Our group is known for business turn around and value creation and I support public-private partnership as a viable option for catalysing our economic development.
“For public-private partnerships to work and become a viable approach for the transformation of our country, privatised entities and their owners must justify government’s confidence in them by visibly improving the acquired assets, create jobs, and increase government revenues.
“Such positive outcomes will encourage the government to privatise more national assets and free itself of revenue for critical social and infrastructure sectors such as education, healthcare, roads, transportation, etc.”
He also commended this government for its efforts in driving economic development in Nigeria.
Also speaking on the discharge, the MD/CEO of Transcorp Hotels Plc, Mr Owen Omogiafo, stated that, “This is a significant milestone in the history of our company and a further demonstration of our long-term commitment to improving lives and transforming our nation.
The hotel recently won the prestigious World Travel Awards 2019 in five categories including Africa’s Leading Business Hotel and received the Signum Virtutis (Seal of Excellence) in the Hotels Sector for Nigeria at the 2019 Seven Stars Luxury Hospitality and Lifestyle Awards.
FG Permits Nigeria Air to Lease Aircraft to Start Operations
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has given approval to Nigeria Air to lease aircraft to start operations.
The Minister of Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika, made this announcement while briefing State House correspondents after the council meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Wednesday.
The Minister, who didn’t disclose when the national carrier would start its operations, said the company would begin with three aircraft, adding that Nigeria Air is open to investment from any of the country’s airline companies.
This is coming after it got the Air Transport License (ATL) which certifies the kinds of operations a carrier will embark on scheduled, non-scheduled, cargo air services within and outside Nigeria, from the Nigerian Civil Airport Authority (NCAA), for a period of five (5)years from June 3rd, 2022 to June 2nd, 2027.
The new national airline is expected to provide scheduled and non-scheduled services after four years since the federal government on July 18, 2018, announced the name of the national carrier and unveiled the logo and provided the blueprint for operations in the United Kingdom.
However, much dispute has delayed the full launching of the carrier but with the recent developments, Nigerians will be awaiting the operation of the airline service.
In March, the federal government opened a bid for private investors to join the national air carrier to promote economic growth and develop public-private partnerships.
The private sector partners were expected to comprise – Nigerian Financial and Institutional Investors (minimum of 46 per cent shares) so that the total Nigerien shareholding will hold a minimum of 51 per cent of the shares of Nigeria Air (including the 5 per cent non-interactive FGN share), as required by international laws for a national carrier.
Interswitch Sponsors Hotel Expo Nigeria 2022
Stakeholders in the Nigerian hospitality and tourism industry convened at the Hotel Expo Nigeria 2022, with Africa’s leading integrated payments and digital commerce company, Interswitch, as one of its sponsors, to discuss the way forward for the sector that faced unprecedented challenges occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event, which was held recently at the Landmark Centre, drew players from the various corners of the sector, including manufacturers, hoteliers, tourism and booking agents, and top executives, among others, to give insights into the hospitality business.
With the disruption caused by the pandemic in hindsight, the two-day event focused on conversations around developing innovative solutions that will boost the recovery and growth of business operations. The expo also served as a common ground where ideas were shared and a community formed.
As a leader in Nigeria’s technology and innovation ecosystem, Interswitch is poised to provide bespoke robust business solutions to players in the hospitality industry to support their business growth aspirations.
Representatives of Interswitch who spoke at the event as members of the panellists were the Group Head, Engineering, Interswitch, Abdul-Hafiz Ibrahim and Business Manager, Interswitch, Olatunji Lasisi, delivering insights into the role technology can play in boosting the hospitality business. Also on the panel at the event was the Head of DSTV Business, Abayomi Famakinwa.
During the panel session, Ibrahim noted that as the hospitality business emerges from the economic downturn occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a need to leverage efficient technological solutions that aligned with the changing market trends. He also added that it was important for businesses to take note of the dynamic consumer needs, as this will help them stay ahead of the competition.
He said, “The hospitality sector has undergone unprecedented challenges in recent times, and there is a need to have conversations around business solutions that will revitalize the sector and improve efficiency. The Hotel Expo Nigeria 2022 is a relevant platform in this regard as it brings together critical stakeholders to drive the conversation.
“As a cross-sector player, Interswitch’s cutting-edge products such as the Quickteller Business Smart PoS and the Payment Gateway help organisations drive efficiency and boost service delivery.”
Lasisi, on his part, identified the Quickteller Business Smart PoS and Payment Gateway as innovations from Interswitch that have helped businesses make quick recoveries from the harsh economic realities brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lasisi said that the Quickteller Business Smart PoS, by design, was developed to aid businesses in accepting and processing payments from all major local and international cards, availing customers with multiple payment options such as transfers that provide immediate payment confirmation right on the PoS terminals to USSD, QR and Verve Paycode, pre-authorization, completion and refund features, providing real-time business performance reporting, among other features. At the same time, the Payment Gateway service will enable businesses to Accept payments easily on their websites from international and local customers alongside other multiple payment options. Integration of the Payment Gateway is 100 per cent free and easy.
Inflation, FX Scarcity Force Aero Contractors to Suspend Operations
By Dipo Olowookere
One of the leading airline operators in Nigeria, Aero Contractors, has announced the indefinite suspension of its operations, citing the rising cost of maintenance, inflation and foreign exchange (FX) scarcity, amongst others as the reason for its action.
In a statement issued on Monday, the company, which is the oldest airline in the country, said the suspension of its flight operations will become effective Wednesday, July 20, 2022.
The firm said in the past months, it has been struggling to remain in business despite “the high cost of maintenance, skyrocketing fuel prices, inflation, and forex scarcity” and that after a careful analysis of the situation, it felt it was in the interest of its customers and others to halt its operations pending when it would be fully ready to “offer a seamless and efficient service to our esteemed customers.”
Aero Contractors said during this period of the suspension, it would make efforts to put its aeroplanes in good shape with a view to bringing them “back to service in the next few weeks so we can continue to offer our passengers the safe, efficient, and reliable services that Aero Contractors is known for, which is the hallmark of Aero Contractors Company of Nig. Ltd.”
However, it emphasised that this suspension “does not in any way affect the maintenance activities of the Approved Maintenance Organisation (AMO) otherwise known as AeroMRO, the Approved Training Organisation (ATO) also known as Aero Training School, the Helicopter and Charter Services operations.”
“As members of Spring Alliance (a commercial alliance with member airlines providing mutual support in the area of operations), we are liaising with our partner airlines to minimise the impact on our esteemed customers.
“Our customer service team will be working to help affected esteemed customers reach their destinations,” the company assured and apologised “for any inconvenience caused to our esteemed customers.”
“In the meantime, we are working assiduously to return to service as quickly as possible, and do assure our esteemed customers and stakeholders of our determination, that our short absence will not create any major void in the market, as we are coordinating with our business partners to ensure minimum discomfort to ticket holders,” the statement said.
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