Major United States airlines are pressing United States lawmakers for a six-month extension of the $32 billion payroll support programme for airlines, airports and contractors, set to expire in September.
They warned that some flights may disappear and more jobs are at risk if the extension is not granted.
Southwest Airlines Chief Executive, Gary Kelly, said in a video message to employees the company backs the effort.
“We’re in lockstep with our industry organisation – Airlines For America – … in support of the labour unions’ efforts,’’ Kelly said in the video, which was viewed by Reuters.
“I am personally involved in delivering that message to our federal leaders.’’
Kelly also wants lawmakers to extend a ticket tax holiday and pass other tax breaks that give Americans incentives to travel “because without customers and places and events for them to fly to, we’ll never punch our way out of this crisis’’.
Airline industry executives have privately told lawmakers they may need to halt some flights because of depressed travel.
The payroll funding required them to maintain minimum service levels through Sept. 30.
On Friday, American Airlines subsidiary, PSA warned that based on American’s October schedule, it may need to furlough another 230 pilots and flight attendants on top of the 1,000 potential furloughs announced this month.
This week, 223 United States House lawmakers called for a six-month extension of the payroll aid programme they called crucial to keeping hundreds of thousands of aviation workers employed through March 31.
Congress awarded $25 billion in payroll assistance to United States passenger airlines in March, along with $4 billion for cargo carriers and $3 billion for airport contractors.
Most of the bailout funds do not have to be paid back.
When the first package was approved, large United States airlines hoped for demand to recover by October.
But with a resurgent pandemic, airline executives warn demand is stalling again.
Between American Airlines and United Airlines, more than 60,000 frontline workers have received warnings that their jobs are on the line.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
Digital economy: Nigeria must shift focus from certificate to skills – Pantami
The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, has advocated for shifting of focus from certificate to skills education for the actualisation of Nigeria’s digital economic drive.
Pantami made the call at the Graduation Lecture of the National Defence Collage Course 28, titled; “Digital Economy and National Development in Nigeria”, on Tuesday in Abuja.
The minister added that emphasis on certificate must be reduced in engaging labour force, urging that focus should be shifted to skills if the nation must catch up with development.
He said that many developed and developing countries such as China, United States and Morocco had shifted attention to skills rather than certificate, adding that many of them had established skills centres.
According to him, certificate is important but secondary to skill and that is why we must pay attention to skills in our journey to digital economy.
“The digital literacy and skills pillar recognises the fact that citizens are the greatest assets in any economy, including the digital economy. It will support the development of a large pool of digitally literate and digitally skilled citizens.
“We recently provided a platform, the DigitalNigeria.gov.ng platform, to enable Nigerians receive training in diverse digital skills. Over 36,000 Nigerians have enrolled on the platform since the 2nd of April, 2020.
“We are championing a paradigm change that lays emphasis on skills, in preference to merely having degrees without skills.
“The National Defence College is an institution that supports the development of skills and there are many digital techniques that can support the great work that you are doing here,’’ he said.
Pantami stated that the digital economy was a prime catalyst for development, adding that in less than one year, government’s modest efforts had already yielded remarkable results.
According to him, the recent first quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that ICT contributed an unprecedented 14.07 per cent to Nigeria’s total real GDP.
He explained that emerging technologies came with different solutions to security challenges of every nation such as data analytics, artificial intelligence, robotic technology, drone and many more.
“These are some of the emerging technologies that will go a long way in promoting security of nations. The security officials are in better position to look into and see how to customize them and make use of them.”
Also, the Minister of Defence, Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi, said the Federal Government had taken steps to adopt, adapt and internalise the digital economy in a functional manner.
Magashi, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Sabiu Zakari, said it was important that security and defence establishments show more than a cursory interest in the digital economy.
He added that the adaptation of digital economy could result in increased cybercrimes thus undermining national security.
“I wish to commend the Commandant, staff and the entire College community for their collective efforts in pursuing the ideals of the College.
“In particular, I commend you for organising the graduation lecture, which was exciting, educative and would be helpful to the economic and security needs of the Nigerian nation,’’ he said.
Earlier, the Commandant of the collage, Rear Adm. Markson Kadiri, said the lecture had become a key component of the training programme of the College and a major highlight of its annual graduation ceremonies.
Kadiri said that a total of 107 participants had successfully completed the course comprising 67 officers of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, seven Senior Police Officers and 15 participants from key Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
Others according to him, include 18 senior military officers from the Armed Forces of friendly nations.
“The Course was conducted under the theme “Economic Diversification and National Development in Nigeria”. Economic diversification is a broad based strategy designed to cause positive and multi-sectoral economic growth and development,’’ he said.
Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)
China’s A-share market sees IPO boom in July
In July, IPOs in the country’s A-share market raised a record amount of 109.81 billion yuan (about 15.73 billion United States dollars), surpassing 100 billion yuan in a single month the first time, said the paper.
A total of 52 firms were listed in July, accounting for 30 per cent of the total number of IPOs in the first seven months of 2020, which stood to 169.
In breakdown, the main board of the Shanghai Stock Exchange attracted 35 listings while the Growth Enterprise Market of the Shenzhen Stock Exchange hosted 43 IPOs from January to July, the paper reported.
Meanwhile, the STAR market, or the sci-tech innovation board of the Shanghai Stock Exchange, saw 73 companies listed during the same period.
The stock market posted stronger gains amid the robust IPO activities, the paper reported in July, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index, Shenzhen Component Index and ChiNext Index, China’s NASDAQ-style board of growth enterprises, went up 10.9 per cent, 13.72 per cent and 14.65 per cent, respectively.
Experts say that sufficient liquidity has created conditions for high-quality companies in different industries to raise funds in the A-share market, thus directing funds from the capital market to the real economy.
Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
Ford Motor’s CEO steps down amid waning investors’ confidence
The Chief Executive Officer of Ford Motor Company, Jim Hackett, is stepping down on Oct. 1 after three years at the helm.
In a statement on Tuesday, the American multinational automaker said Hackett would be succeeded by Jim Farley, its Chief Operating Officer.
According to reports, Hackett’s exit is coming amid the company’s $11 billion (N4 trillion) global restructuring programme said to be floundering.
Reuters reports that the No. 2 United States carmaker also “faces slumping demand in China, its second-largest market’’.
The 65-year-old outgoing CEO failed to secure investors’ confidence in his leadership amid a sharp crash in the value of the company’s stock under his watch.
Under his leadership, Ford has struggled with product launch problems involving the Ford Explorer, the Lincoln Navigator and the Police Interceptor.
But shares of the company rose by 2.8 per cent in early trading, on Tuesday, according to the news agency.
He will be the Ford’s fourth chief executive officer since the 2008 economic crash, reports say.
Edited By: Josephine Obute/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
Alleged Money Laundering: EFCC rearraigns ex-AGF Adoke
Adoke was re-arraigned alongside a businessman, Aliyu Abubakar, on amended 14 -count charge bordering on money laundering.
The anti-graft agency is prosecuting Adoke in connection with the controversial OPL 245 transaction, also known as the Malabu Oil deal.
The prosecuting counsel, Mr Bala Sanga, said that the re-arraignment became necessary following an increase of charges from seven to 14.
Sanga also said that the amount involved in the new charge had increased from the previous N400 million.
In the previous charges, six of the seven counts related to Adoke while only one related to Abubakar.
But with the amended charges, each of the defendants is to answer to seven charges.
The trial judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo adjourned the case until Aug. 11 for commencement of trial.
One of the charges read: “That you Mohammed Adoke, sometime in Aug. 2013 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this court, accepted a cash payment of a sum of United States Dollars, equivalent to N300,000,000.00 (Three hundred million Naira), from Aliyu Abubakar and you thereby committed an offence contrary to the combined effect of Section 16 (1) (d) and of Section 1(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 (as amended) and punishable under section 16 (2)(b) of the same Act.
“That you Mohammed Adoke, sometime in Sept. 2013 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this court, made a cash payment of the sum of $2,267,400.00 (Two million, two hundred and sixty seven thousand, four hundred United States Dollars) to one Rislanudeen Muhammed and you thereby committed an offence contrary to the combined effect of Section 16 (1) (d) and of Section 1(a) of the Money Prohibition Act.”
NAN reports that Adoke and Abubakar were first arraigned before Justice Binta Nyako in February 2020 and then Justice Ekwo on June 17, 2020 on a seven-count criminal charge.
Although Justice Ekwo had, in June while admitting the defendants to bail, fixed Aug. 3 for the trial, however,, the trial could not begin on that day following the amendment of the former charge.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)