Air transport fares on domestic and international routes may rise as the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria has announced plans to increase the passenger service charges on flight tickets by 100 percent from 1 August. The authority would increase the PSC on domestic flights from the current rate of ₦1,000 to ₦2,000. The PSC on international flights would also be increased from $50 to $100, a development that could lead to a rise in airfares on local and international tickets. The increase in PSCs most likely would be passed on to passengers, according to the airline operators who collect the PSCs on behalf of FAAN when selling flight tickets to passengers. In a 22 June letter, the Managing Director, FAAN, Rabiu Yadudu, told the airlines that the decision was based on the approval given by the aviation minister on 3 August 2017. The intention of FAAN, according to Yadudu, was to improve and upgrade airport infrastructure across the country, among others as the last PSC reviews were done on 1 May and 21 March 2011 for domestic and international flight operations respectively when the domestic PSC was increased from ₦350 to ₦1,000, while the international PSC was raised from $35 to $50. Yadudu went to lengths to explain that the development does not correlate with the prevailing economic situation and the index to meet the needs of today and future growth in passenger traffic by FAAN and airport development, most especially for the airport upgrade to post-COVID-19 standards. Yadudu noted that Bi-Courtney Aviation Services, operators of the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 domestic terminal, had for years been charging ₦2,500 as its PSC.
The House of Representatives has insisted that cable and satellite television service providers in Nigeria must introduce a pay-as-you-go subscription plan for customers. The move, according to the House ad-hoc committee investigating service providers over their high tariffs, is to address the yearnings of Nigerians. The House had, in March, resolved to investigate complaints about high tariffs and monopolised bouquets on the cable subscription service. The committee chairman, Unyime Idem, at the committee hearing last Thursday, said excuses on why DSTV and other service providers have not introduced PAYG plans are not tenable. The House is specifically probing Digital Satellite Television (DSTv), owned by MultiChoice, for high tariffs and restricting Nigerian customers to prepaid plans. Idem insisted that a decision has already been taken and that the pay-as-you-go is not going back. Acting director-general of the National Broadcasting Commission, Armstrong Idachaba, told the committee that the agency has on many occasions compared the tariffs in Nigeria with those of other African countries and found out that Nigeria’s rates are much lower in some cases.
A report from Amnesty International says that Nigeria has failed to prosecute a single officer from the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad despite cases of rights violations reportedly perpetrated by the police unit. In 2017, the country outlawed, with stiff penalties, the use of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. Despite that, torture and ill treatment remain routine practice used by SARS operations to execute, punish and extract information from suspects, under the supervision of senior police officers, the rights group said as it documented at least 82 cases of torture, ill treatment and extra-judicial execution by SARS between January 2017 and May 2020. According to the report titled “Time to End Impunity,” a bulk of the victims the group documented are males between the ages of 18 and 35, from low-income backgrounds and vulnerable groups. The group said it bore witness to the scars, bruises, and dried blood on victims’ bodies, mostly due to beatings with sticks and machetes, and being denied medical care. Amnesty International said it wrote, on three occasions, to the Inspector-General of Police asking for steps the police may have taken in investigating the cases outlined in the report, but there was no response.
Data from the Central Bank of Nigeria has shown that the total credit to the country’s economy rose by ₦3.041 trillion to ₦18.6 trillion as of the end of April 2020. This is compared to ₦15.57 trillion it was at the end of May last year. According to a member of the Monetary Policy Committee, Kingsley Obiora, during his presentation at the last MPC meeting of the CBN, financial system indicators were encouraging, with improvements to real sector lending, reflecting the bank’s Loan-to-Deposit Ratio policy. He said manufacturing, consumer credit, general commerce, information and communication, and agriculture largely impacted the credit growth, which is expected to bolster aggregate demand, investment, and job creation. The development also helped in moderating the average retail lending rates of DMBs and interest rate spreads, in the reviewed period as there is expectation that it will also have a positive impact on financial intermediation and the effectiveness of monetary policy transmission channels. However, there were risks and vulnerabilities in the short to medium-term, which included persisting new cases of coronavirus disease and low oil prices.