A federal high court in Lagos has prohibited the federal government from selling the shares of Nigeria Air to Ethiopian Airlines.
The temporary injunction was given in a suit marked FHC/L/CS/2159/2022 and filed by registered trustees of the Airline Operators in Nigeria (AON), Azman Air Services Limited, Air Peace Limited, Max Air Limited, United Nigeria Airline Company Limited, and Topbrass Aviation Limited, the plaintiffs.
The suit has Nigeria Air, Ethiopian Airlines, Hadi Sirika, minister of aviation, and Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), as the first to fourth defendants.
In the enrollment order dated November 15 and seen by newsmen, A. Lewis-Allagoa, the judge, said the government, represented by the aviation minister, and the AGF should not proceed on an “establishment agreement” until the substantive matter of the suit is heard and determined.
While asking all the parties in the suit to maintain “status quo”, the judge ordered an accelerated hearing of the case.
Meanwhile, in the originating summons of the suit, the plaintiffs formulated five questions to the court to determine, one of which reads:
“Whether the entire process for the sale and transfer of shares of the 1st defendant to the 2nd defendant and its consortium by the 3rd and 4th defendants is in line with the provisions of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (Est.) Act, 2005, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Convention, the National Policy on Public Private Partnership (N4P), sections 76-81 of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act, and does not affect the entire process including the selection, approval or grant to the 2nd defendant and its consortium by the 3rd and 4th defendants is not invalid and thereby entitling the entire process to fresh bidding exercise?”
The plaintiffs, therefore, prayed the court to declare that “the entire administrative actions and decisions of the 3rd and 4th defendants in the sale of the shares of the 1st defendant to the 2nd defendant and its consortium is invalid, void and of no effect”.
The plaintiffs also sought for: “A declaration that the 2nd defendant was incompetent to bid for shares in the 1st defendant and commence business accordingly
“An order setting aside the entire bidding/selection process(es) for the “Nigeria Air” project as well as the approval, grant or selection of the 2nd defendant by the 1st, 3rd and 4th defendants in the process.
“An order directing the immediate, fresh and transparent bidding process(es) involving the plaintiffs being the indigenous Airline Operators in Nigeria rightly entitled to participate in the process.
“An order directing the immediate revocation and cancellation of the air transport license (ATL) issued by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to the 1st defendant.”
They also asked the court to award them N2 billion in damages and order a perpetual injunction restraining the federal government from transferring the shares and operations of Nigeria Air to Ethiopian Airlines.
Ghana begins domestic debt swap amid IMF bailout talks
The Ghanaian government has asked domestic bondholders to exchange their instruments for new ones.
In a statement issued on Sunday, Ken Ofori-Atta, Ghana’s finance minister, said existing domestic bonds would be exchanged for a set of four new bonds maturing between 2027 and 2037.
He said the new domestic debt exchange will begin on Monday, December 5, 2022.
The programme is part of the country’s efforts to restructure its debts to qualify for IMF assistance.
An IMF team is currently in Ghana for discussions on the economic support package.
The finance minister further expressed optimism that the programme would help the government restore macroeconomic stability.
“In the Budget Statement presented to Parliament on November 24th, I announced that government will undertake a debt operation programme.The broad contours of the Debt Sustainability Analysis has been concluded and I am here this evening to provide some details on Ghana’s Domestic Debt Exchange which will be launched tomorrow. External debt restructuring parameters will be presented in due course,” the statement reads.
“Under the Programme, domestic bondholders will be asked to exchange their instruments for new ones. Existing domestic bonds as of 1st December 2022 will be exchanged for a set of four new bonds maturing in 2027, 2029, 2032 and 2037. The annual coupon on all of these new bonds will be set at 0% in 2023, 5% in 2024 and 10% from 2025 until maturity. Coupon payments will be semi-annual.
“Our commitment to Ghanaians and the investor community, in line with negotiations with the IMF, is to restore macroeconomic stability in the shortest possible time and enable investors to realize the benefits of this Debt Exchange.”
Ofori-Atta added that an external debt restructuring programme would be presented later.
The finance minister said the government had worked to minimise the swap impact on investors holding government bonds, especially small investors and other vulnerable groups.
He said in line with that, treasury bills would be completely exempted and all holders would be paid the full value of their investments on maturity.
“There will be NO haircut on the principal of bonds. Individual holders of bonds will not be affected,” he added.
The minister said the government recognised banks and financial institutions hold a large amount of local government debt, but regulatory agencies and the central bank would help ease the impact on them.
“The Bank of Ghana, the Securities & Exchange Commission, the National Insurance Commission, and the National Pensions Regulatory Authority will ensure that the impact of the debt operation on your financial institution is minimized, using all regulatory tools available to them,” the statement adds.
“A Financial Stability Fund (FSF) is being established by government with the help of development partners to provide liquidity support to banks, pension funds, insurance companies, fund managers, and collective investment schemes to ensure that they are able to meet their obligations to their clients as they fall due.
“These are difficult times and we count on the support of all Ghanaians and the investor community to make the exercise successful.
“We are confident that these measures will contribute to restoring macroeconomic stability.”
Zenith Bank Emerges “Bank Of The Year, Nigeria” In The Banker Awards 2022
Zenith Bank Plc has emerged as Bank of the Year in Nigeria in The Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards 2022.
The award, which was announced by The Banker Magazine, Financial Times Group, United Kingdom, during the awards ceremony held in London on December 1, 2022, was in recognition of Zenith Bank’s strong management, sound business model and strategy, support for small businesses and efforts to cut energy consumption.
According to the Banker, Nigeria’s Bank of the Year award was among the continent’s most hotly contested this year, befitting the country’s status as Africa’s largest economy.
This is coming on the heels of the award as Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital by The Banker won by Zenith Bank earlier in the year.
Commenting on the award, the Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc, Ebenezer Onyeagwu, said: “winning the Bank of the Year attests to our tenacity as an institution despite a very challenging operating environment exacerbated by persistent macroeconomic headwinds.
Indeed, being recognised by The Banker – the world’s longest running international banking title, is an acknowledgment of the resilience of the Zenith brand as the leading financial institution in Nigeria and the West African sub-region.”
He lauded the Founder and Chairman, Jim Ovia, CFR, for his guidance and pioneering role in laying the foundation and building the structures for an enduring and successful institution, the Board for their outstanding leadership, the staff for their commitment and dedication as well as the Bank’s customers for their unflinching loyalty to the Zenith brand over the years.
Regarded as the industry standard for banking excellence, The Banker’s Bank of the Year award is contested by the world’s leading financial institutions, with winners chosen across Africa, Asia-Pacific, Central & Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, North America and Western Europe.
‘It is unacceptable’ — labour unions ask FG to end fuel scarcity, price hike
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have called on the federal government to end fuel shortage and price hikes in the country.
In the past few days, Nigerians have been grappling with petrol scarcity with queues in filling stations across the country.
The situation has resulted in a boom in black market sales, while there have been insinuations that oil marketers may be hoarding the product to force a hike in the price.
BODEX BLOG had reported that some black marketers sold the product for between N320 and N350 per litre.
In a statement on Saturday, Ayuba Wabba and Festus Osifo, presidents of NLC and TUC, respectively, said the fuel shortage, price hikes and avoidable long queues in filling stations are “unacceptable and no longer tolerable”.
The labour leaders said they are disturbed by the persistent shortage and uncontrollable prices that players in the downstream sector of the petroleum industry are meting out to Nigerians.
They noted that the persistent petrol shortage has become a source of pain to Nigerians.
“No excuse is good enough to cripple the country,” the statement reads.
“If there are challenges, they should be fixed. We have a government in power to fix challenges not to make excuses.”
“All these have tragic consequences for the Nigerian people and debilitating effects on the health of the economy, which itself is not in a good state.
“We are reliably informed that the shortage is deliberately fostered by players in the downstream sector in other to hike the price far above the government-approved threshold.
“It is an added problem when non-state actors begin to arrogate to themselves the power to determine the price of a litre of fuel far above the rate pegged by government in the current subsidy regime.”
The labour leaders said Nigerians and taxpayers currently spend trillions of naira annually to subsidise petrol.
They added that Nigerians could not be exploited and made to pay over N240 per litre when the current ex-depot price is N148.19k per litre.
They noted that the opportunity cost of the subsidy payment is enormous and yet, the benefit of the subsidy regime is gradually being eroded.
According to them, no country develops when its people are subjected to perennial hardship and industries are shackled by unnecessary chains of miseries.
“It is more disturbing that the government is equally demonstrating a high level of culpability in the unwholesome situation by its silence and unwillingness to frontally and publicly address the harrowing experiences in the current situation,” the statement reads.
“No concerned and responsive government will bury its head in the sands like the proverbial Ostrich while the citizens are being brutally exploited.
“We are strongly worried that leaving our energy security and sovereignty in the hands of unscrupulous capitalists and their collaborators will further plunge this nation into the economic abyss we are working hard to avoid.”
The unions said they are ready to engage the government and assist in all ways possible to overcome the country’s present challenges.
They also called on the regulatory and law enforcement agencies to do more to protect Nigerians from exploitation.
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