Nigerian Railway Corporation Begins Skeletal Sale of Online Tickets
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
After several calls by passengers for the sale of tickets online, the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) commenced test bookings on its platform.
This information was disclosed by the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, who added that the skeletal sale is restricted to the Abuja to Kaduna route.
In a tweet posted via his Twitter handle on Wednesday, the Minister stated that the services would be extended to other routes from next week.
“Yes, we have commenced test bookings on the NRC e-ticketing platform, starting with the Abuja-Kaduna rail line. Next week, we’ll launch fully. Check it out and make bookings at nrc.tps.ng,” he said.
The adoption of online ticket sale is expected to reduce the ticket racketeering complained about at most rail stations in the country.
When Business Post checked the website provided by Mr Amaechi for the online booking, it was not accessible on the Mozilla Firefox browser but accessible on the Google Chrome platform.
It was observed that the bookings available on the Abuja and Kaduna destinations were only for two days, January 13 and 14. The booking was smooth, with safety information given as regards the COVID-19 protocols, which requires the use of hand sanitizer, washing of hands and wearing of a face mask.
The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has transformed the almost dead rail sector in Nigeria. This has made him to be commended by many Nigerians.
The Nigerian Railway System pioneered the rapid opening up of the geographical area called Nigeria, therefore, represents the oldest modern form of transportation in Nigeria.
Railway development in Nigeria was initiated by private interest. This was later taken over by the then colonial government as Government Railway for the purpose of easy and cheap movement of bulk goods from the hinterlands to the seaports and vice versa.
The 112-year-old agency runs a unilaterally designed track system of 1067mm cape gauge. Only 30km of its track distribution is in double track and that is within Lagos area.
The Nigerian Railway System actually commenced rail business activities with the construction of the first rail line from Lagos to Ibadan (193km) between 1898 and 1901. By 1964 when the construction of 640km Kano – Maiduguri rail line, then known as Bornu extension, was completed, the present core of the railway network had been put in place.
Nigeria Air MD Reveals Aircraft Rented From Ethiopia
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Managing Director of Nigeria Air, Captain Dayo Olumide, has revealed that the aircraft unveiled recently by the former administration of Mr Muhammadu Buhari as Nigeria Air was chattered from Ethiopia, with the purpose of showcasing to Nigerians and their shareholders.
Captain Dayo made the revelation when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Aviation to clarify the controversies surrounding the airline which was launched a day before the expiration of the last administration.
He added that the aircraft that came and left was a legitimate chartered flight which can be done by anyone who doesn’t have a license as long as he pays for it, noting that for Nigeria to operate an aircraft, it must be Nigeria registered.
He added that the particular aircraft that was unveiled was not registered and came into Nigeria with a few days’ clearances from Ethiopia and was returned after use.
He further stated that Nigeria only has an airport license which is one of two licenses required for operating an airline, and does not permit one to carry out commercial services operations.
The MD further revealed that for Nigeria Air to get the needed license, Nigeria must have three aircraft before the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) gives the country an air license to fly and the three aircraft must be Nigeria-registered.
According to him, there are five phases or steps one goes through to get the license, and Nigeria is still in phase one of the process.
While reacting to some reports that the passengers on board bought tickets, the MD refuted the claims, noting that they were staff of Ethiopia Airlines brought in for the unveiling.
Captain Dayo, with 40 years’ experience in airline operations, further confirmed that he was appointed in February 2022, to secure the air operating certificate for the airline to fly and not to operate the airline.
He added that Nigeria is not at a point of operating the airline yet, as Nigeria Air does not have a terminal for international operations.
In a related development, the House of Representatives has also poked holes in the purported launch of Nigeria Air, declaring it a fraud.
Chairman of the House Committee on Aviation, Mr Nnolim Nnaji, declared the launch of Nigeria Air a fraud after the major stakeholders in the deal between the federal government and Ethiopian Airlines denied knowledge of the launch.
The Ministry of Aviation claimed Nigeria Air was only unveiled and not launched, which the committee dismissed as an attempt to divert the lawmakers’ attention.
Italy Pledges €1.4m Investment to Preserve Kanyaka Island in Moçambique
By Kestér Kenn Klomegâh
The tourism handbook or guidebook says Kanyaka is in Maputo, Southern Moçambique (Mozambique). It further says that Kanyaka is situated nearby to Tóbia and Jona. It is an island which attracts tourists for leisure, so the Moçambique government attaches importance to its development and preservation.
Rádio Moçambique reported in early June that the Italian Development Cooperation Agency (IDCA) would invest around €1.4 million in preserving and enhancing the environmental heritage of Kanyaka Island.
Through environmental protection, tourism development and sustainable agriculture projects, the Kanyaka community would benefit from tools to preserve the island’s ecosystem better. The ‘MangAction’ project, within the framework of the ManGrowth initiative, was formally presented to the district of Kanyaka.
Project coordinator Frederica Ferrari said that the three-year project would deliver benefits to the entire island community. The initiative would be managed by a consortium made up of civil society organisations ICEI – Istituto Cooperazione Economica Internazionale, WeWorld Onlus, with Natura Moçambique, IUCN Moçambique and Abiodes (Associação para Desenvolvimento Sustentável).
It aims to preserve and value the environmental heritage for sustainable and resilient development in the Bay of Maputo. The project was launched with the support of the Kanyaka Tour Operators Association (AOTUKA), whose chairman Angelo Manguele said that the biggest benefit of the project would be gaining knowledge of the best ways to preserve the island’s environmental heritage.
Moçambican President Filipe Nyusi previously inaugurated a new ferry boat that operates between central Maputo and the Island. The boat, named “Kanyaka”, cost $2.7 million and was acquired in Greece. It has the capacity to carry 156 passengers and five tonnes of cargo, including one vehicle. The boat, built in 2008, has a top speed of 14 knots (26 kilometres an hour).
The trip from Maputo to Kanyaka now takes one hour and 45 minutes, compared with two and a half hours on the previous ferry, which could only carry 70 passengers. The islanders requested a new ferry when Nyusi visited Kanyaka.
The new ferry service, the President said, would overcome the common perception that Island “is too far away”. Poor transport links, he added, had made life on the island more expensive and led to shortages in basic goods that must be shipped in from Maputo. The isolation of Inyaka also inhibited its tourism potential.
Nyusi said he was sure that the new ferry would reduce the suffering of the islanders and help improve the business environment in this part of the country. It was important, he added, to guarantee safety and comfort for the 6,000 inhabitants of Inyaka who regularly travel to and from central Maputo.
The boat now ensures regular supplies of basic goods and of medicines and reduces the time needed to take people who fall ill on Island to Maputo hospitals. “The island has a strong tourist potential,” said the President, “and Moçambican and foreign tourists can now visit in less time and with greater comfort. The 12,000 species of the marine ecosystem can be a source for ecotourism.”
The ferry is operated by the company Transmaritima, and Nyusi urged the company’s managers to design package trips for tourists visiting the island. The sustainability of the ferry service depends on the management capacity, not a burden on the government.
The country’s natural environment, wildlife, and historic heritage provide opportunities for beach, cultural and ecotourism. There are many different kinds of dances from tribe to tribe which are usually ritualistic in nature. The Makonde are known for their wood carving and elaborate masks, which are commonly used in traditional dances. Moçambique is located in southeastern Africa, bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, and has approximately 30 million population.
Foreign Airlines’ Unrepatriated $812m in Nigeria Worries IATA
By Adedapo Adesanya
Fresh data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has revealed that the total amount of foreign airlines’ trapped funds in Nigeria has risen to $812.2 million from the $802 million reported in April.
The updated figure came as IATA warned all owing governments that the blocked airline funds could threaten airline connectivity in the affected markets.
This was noted on the sideline of the ongoing IATA Annual General Meetings and World Air Transport Summit ongoing in Istanbul, Turkey.
According to a statement seen by Business Post, the industry’s blocked funds have increased by 47 per cent to $2.27 billion in April 2023 from $1.55 billion in April 2022.
Speaking on this, Mr Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General, said, “Airlines cannot continue to offer services in markets where they are unable to repatriate the revenues arising from their commercial activities in those markets. Governments need to work with industry to resolve this situation so airlines can continue to provide the connectivity that is vital to driving economic activity and job creation.”
Nigeria led the top five countries that account for 68.0 per cent of blocked funds comprising Nigeria ($812.2 million), Bangladesh ($214.1 million), Algeria ($196.3 million), Pakistan ($188.2 million), and Lebanon ($141.2 million).
IATA urged governments to abide by international agreements and treaty obligations to enable airlines to repatriate these funds arising from the sale of tickets, cargo space, and other activities.
The IATA had recently said it would continue discussions with the incoming government, which was inaugurated in May.
Although President Bola Tinubu did not allude to the airline funds in his speech, he, however, announced that his administration would move towards unifying the country’s exchange rate, adding that this would help divert funds away from arbitrage into productive endeavours such as investment in plant, equipment and job creation.
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