A Nigerian airline has launched daily flights between the capital, Abuja, and neighbouring Kaduna after insecurity forced commuters to abandon a major road linking the two cities. Misha Travels started operations on Monday in the fairly short distance for the daily air service, with the slogan: ‘No fatigue, no fear’. The firm appeared to be the first airline with a dedicated service to the route, which is less than three hours by road. A management official at Misha Travels, Tope Popoola, said the route was admittedly too short to be taken seriously, but worsening road travel insecurity was the dominant basis for going into the business. The company said it sees a huge market from the country’s insecurity challenge. Popoola said that most people would ordinarily be inclined to drive the two hours, but they are more concerned about their safety. The airline operates a Bombardier CRJ plane that could carry up to 50 passengers.

The International Monetary Fund said poor roads, lack of single-window platform and an absence of scanning machines at the seaports in Lagos have affected Customs operations. The IMF Mission Chief and Senior Resident, Representative for Nigeria African Department, Amine Mati, said this on Friday while on a tour of Nigerian ports as part of compilation and publication of the IMF Economic Outlook Review for 2020. The Lagos port, he said, is an important aspect of the Nigerian economy and needs urgent attention, especially at a time where trade is picking up. The IMF team hosted by the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Hassan Bello, visited three Nigerian port terminals: the APM Terminals, Greedview Development Terminal owned by Dangote Operations and the PTML. Mati said the delegation from IMF was on the visit to inspect the port activities and determine the challenges, the priorities, and policies put in place by the Federal Government. Bello said the IMF Economic Outlook review was very important to Nigeria, considering the economic headwinds that have compelled the government to pursue a revenue diversification policy. Nigerian ports, he said, attract 40 to 60 percent of all the cargoes in the sub-region. He, however, lamented that twelve years after the ports were handed over to concessionaires, there was still a lack of operational efficiency.

The FG has sued about 70,000 Kebbi state farmers for their failure to repay ₦17 billion in loans they had taken under the Anchor Borrower Programme. The chairman of Kebbi State chapter of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, Muhammed Sahabi Augie, told the Daily Trust that of the 70,000 farmers that benefited from the loans in 2015, only about 200 had settled their loans. In November, 2015, President Buhari, launched the CBN’s Anchor Borrower Programme in Kebbi state, and the sum of ₦17 billion was approved by the FG to support the farmers in the state.The programme, among other things, is expected to increase banks’ financing to the agriculture sector and to create new generation of farmers as well as to boast employment. Each farmer is given a loan of ₦250,000 per hectare of rice for land cultivation plus inputs such as herbicide, fertilisers and water pumps.

Interest rates are falling to all-time low as banks in Nigeria make moves to recoup more profits from their customers after the banking regulator slashed most of the charges hitherto imposed on depositors. A Punch report on the industry showed that interest on savings and fixed deposits was as low as 1.25 percent while lending rates were as high as 25 percent. Similarly, yields on treasury bills in the secondary market have fallen to between 2.5 percent and 4.9 percent. About a year ago, the yield on these securities could be as high as 12 percent. The Central Bank of Nigeria recently slashed most of the charges the lending institutions had been slamming on depositors. Income from these charges has always formed part of the huge profits declared by the banks in their annual reports. An unnamed official of one of the country’s commercial banks told the paper that the banks had been grappling with huge overhead costs and making provisions for bad loans. With the slash in the CBN charges, he said the only way they could continue to make income was from interests because e-based income had dwindled and could not support their operations. Another banker acknowledged that the institutions were paying very low interests on savings accounts and charging more on loans but added that there were no general rates for every bank customer. According to the Rector of the Institute of Credit Administration, Chris Onalo, the lending rates and deposit rates in Nigerian banks are too divergent and banks were overly commercial-minded, which he noted as detrimental to the economy.