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FG Loses N100bn on Aviation Charges -Expert

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Capt. John Ojikutu (retd.), an aviation expert, says the Federal Government lost over N100 billion in Ticket Sales Charges (TSC) and Cargo Sales Charges (CSC) in the aviation sector between 2013 and 2017.

Ojikutu, a member of the Aviation Round Table (ART) and Chief Executive Officer of Centurion Securities, said this in a statement on Sunday, in Lagos.

The Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had recently said that both domestic and international airlines operating in Nigeria sold tickets worth N502.2 billion in 2017.

Usman said the ticket sales increased by 14.2 per cent (N82.7 billion) compared to the N422.4 billion sold in 2016.

According to him, the airlines also made N400. 9 million in 2017 through cargo charges compared to the N285 million generated in 2016. However, Ojikutu faulted the figures released by the NCAA on the airlines’ earnings and passenger traffic, claiming that it was being subjected to some sort of manipulations which needed to be investigated.

He said: “One might agree with the NCAA that not all those who bought tickets could have used it within the reviewed periods and others could have changed their traveling plans and got their fares refunded.

“However, what is very clear is that the passengers recorded by Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) are known as those who passed through the passengers access control and screening points into the aircraft.

“They are those recorded by the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) as persons on board and they are those, I believe in, as harmonized passenger traffic figures.

“Therefore, the harmonized figures given by NCAA are deemed to have utilised or expended their purchased tickets.’’

Ojikutu argued that the approximately four million international passengers and 10 million domestic passengers were those who bought tickets and had expended their purchased tickets.

He said, for instance, if all international passengers were to pay N350, 000 per flight without considering those on First Class and Business Class, this would amount to N650 billion and not N411 billion or N502 billion provided by NCAA for 2016 and 2017, respectively.

“Similarly, if we consider that each of the 5 million outbound domestic passengers paid N18,000 again without factoring the First and Business Class passengers fares, the earnings cannot be anything less but more than N90 billion.

“The total tickets sales earnings for each of the years can therefore not be less than N740 billion and the NCAA 5 per cent tickets sales charges for each of the year cannot be less than N37 billion,’’ Ojikutu added.

He also noted that the figures released for the CSC were given without specifying on the volume of cargo that generated the charges which again subjects it to manipulations.

“Overall, the shortfalls are huge and the government through the NCAA is losing an average of about N20 billion annually on TSC and CSC and government has lost more than N100 billion between 2013 and 2017.

“The NCAA must come clean of these irregular figures that do not add up.

“If stakeholders must listen to her that the earnings figures were given only by the airlines, the NCAA should be courageous enough to ask them to show evidence for the balance of over N300bn annually on tickets sales.

“Otherwise, NCAA must take responsibility for all the shortfalls,’’ Ojikutu said.

According to him, in the alternative, the Minister of State for Aviation, the Federal Inland Revenue Service and the National Assembly Aviation Committees should separately set up investigation panels to look into these earnings and shortfalls.

He said the unremitted funds could help in addressing the various inadequacies of systems infrastructure and human capital development in the prime safety areas in the sector.

The General Manager, Public Relations, NCAA, Mr Sam Adurogboye, in responding to the statement, said that the allegation was a cheap blackmail from people seeking unavailable consultancy jobs from the authority.

Adurogboye said: “We have declared over and over that we stand by our figures, with abundant explanations.

That position still stands. “Our figure is a harmonised one with FAAN and others. Our figures have been authenticated by external auditors and the National Assembly.’’

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How Mobile Devices Are Impacting eCommerce

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By Adeniyi Ogunfowoke,

In the earliest days of the internet, people had to do their shopping and transactions on desktops and laptops. Now, mobile phones have high market penetration in Nigeria that a large chunk of transactions is now performed on mobile devices: smartphones and tablets. This was what was discovered in the Jumia Mobile Report 2019 where 57% of Jumia customers visited the website via mobile web, 28% via the mobile app and 15% via the Desktop in 2018. Here are some of the ways mobile devices are impacting eCommerce.

Shop on-the-go

With mobile devices always in their purse or pocket, consumers increasingly use them to shop while they’re in motion. They can even begin shopping at home or at work with their PC, and then pick up where they left off when they head out the door on their mobile device.

Expanded opportunity

The biggest impact of mobile on e-commerce may be that it has dramatically expanded opportunity. Until smart-devices became prevalent, online purchases were constrained by location, you really only could shop while at a desktop/laptop computer that had an Internet connection. Today that’s all changed. Always-connected mobile devices allow you to shop from anywhere, and have fundamentally changed shopping behaviour.

Functionality

User experience and functionality are a crucial part of mobile commerce and in many ways the most simple to understand. Basically, your site must work well on a device for a sale to occur. That means both the small things and the big things must be done right. In particular, consumers expect that core e-commerce functions such as “add to cart” work smoothly and error free. This mobile-optimized functionality can make or break an e-commerce offering.

Geomarketing

Companies can push targeted ads to customers based on their location, such as encouraging them to take advantage of a flash sale. The GPS technology in mobile devices lets companies locate consumers when they approach their physical location and then send them special offers on the spot. Paying close attention to how consumers use mobile devices for ecommerce is essential for any company that is trying to boost mobile site engagement. You will see higher conversion rates when you make it easy for customers to learn about your company via their mobile devices and make connections with your sales team or customer service reps via Live Chat.

Reliability

Consumers expect the same mobile shopping experience wherever they go. They want the technology to work securely and safely, each and every time they make a purchase. If an e-commerce entity violates that trust (i.e. with slow page-load times, security warnings, etc.), it can translate to lost revenue. This is true on desktops as well but to a lesser extent. On a mobile device, both bandwidth and time are extremely precious, making reliability an absolute essential.

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An eventful week for Nigeria slowly comes to an end

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By Lukman Otunuga, FXTM Research Analyst,

It has been an incredibly eventful trading week for the Nigerian economy. The week kicked off with a bang as GDP figures slightly disappointed by cooling 2.05% during the first quarter of 2019.

Although this development initially sparked concerns over the nation’s growth momentum cooling, it must be kept in mind that this was the fastest first quarter growth experienced since 2015. On Tuesday, the Central Bank of Nigeria left interest rates unchanged at 13.5% as widely expected. The key take-away from the MPC meeting was the fact that the central bank identified that emerging markets remain exposed to external shocks in the form of trade tensions, Brexit and concerns over slowing global growth. Later on Tuesday afternoon, Manufacturing and Non-Manufacturing PMI figures surpassed market expectations which boosted confidence over the health of the largest economy in Africa.

With the latest economic metrics pointing to signs of stability, the outlook for the Nigerian economy remains encouraging. Further signs of improving economic fundamentals and easing inflationary pressures should prompt the Central Bank of Nigeria to make a move before the end of 2019 in an effort to stimulate economic growth. Although improving domestic conditions will be a welcome development for the nation, investors should not overlook external factors impacting the nation’s recovery. Ongoing US-China trade developments, Oil prices and the Dollar’s valuation will play a role in how Nigeria concludes 2019.

Dollar buoyed by trade worries.. but for how long?

The story defining the Dollar’s appreciation continues to revolve around persistent US-China trade tensions accelerating the flight to safety.

Uncertainty ahead of the European Parliament elections and Brexit drama have also fuelled risk aversion – ultimately boosting appetite for the Dollar which has become a destination for safety. While the Dollar could continue rising on the perception that the United States remains in a better position than everyone else, the question is for how long?

Markets still expect the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates this year while ongoing trade tensions could end up negatively impacting the US economy. With market sentiment extremely fragile and investors on edge, it could take an unexpected catalyst to send the Dollar tumbling.

Commodity spotlight – Gold

Gold is struggling to benefit from the cautious market mood thanks to an appreciating Dollar. The precious metal has struggled to break back above the $1280 level this week despite ongoing US-China trade tensions and Brexit accelerating the flight to safety. While Gold bears are losing this battle, the war is far from over. With a patient Fed, speculation of a US rate cut and lingering concerns over slowing global growth still core themes, Gold remains supported in the longer term.

In regards to the technical picture, sustained weakness below $1280 is likely to open a path towards $1268.50 in the near term.

 
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What Startups Should Lookout For When Choosing a Payment Gateway

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By Adeniyi Ogunfowoke,

Every business needs a way to secure payments, but with so many choices in financial services for online businesses, it may be a difficult decision for new entrepreneurs to make. Not only do you have to consider the technical and logistical hurdles of setting up a new payment gateway, but you will also have to think about convenience for your customers and, perhaps most importantly, the gateway’s security. Jumia Pay which is the payment gateway used by Jumia shoppers is both convenient and secure. You can make payment and go to sleep with no worries.  To help your decision-making, here are some of the things to look out for when choosing a payment gateway.

Compatibility

Some payment gateways are easier to integrate than others, though most payment gateways strive for compatibility with as many technological systems as possible to maximize their user bases. However, you may have unique needs or requests, such as linking your payment gateway to your invoicing software or another financial data management platform you use.

Speed

Different payment gateways offer different speeds, as well. If you’re looking to maximize the average user experience and complete transactions as fast as possible, you’ll want a processor that can secure debit card authorization in a matter of seconds. You may also consider how quickly these payment providers can secure the money for your account.

Fraud detection and other security features

Some payment gateways specialize in fraud detection. They’ll help you proactively identify suspicious activity before it gets any further in the payment process. If you plan on handling large volumes of transactions, this is especially important for you.

Invoicing capabilities

Depending on what systems you’re already using, it could be in your best interest to secure a payment gateway with built-in invoicing capabilities. This would help you streamline your payment process, and may reduce your reliance on other platforms.

Costs and fees

Finally, you’ll need to consider the costs and fees associated with each payment gateway. Some may have better features, but will also come with an accompanying greater cost. Some platforms offer zero setup cost and zero monthly payment but may have higher fees for things like chargebacks. Others will offer a flat monthly fee, with no additional fees for other types of transactions. Your choice depends on your budget and how you expect your business to perform.

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