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Airlines slash fare to encourage voters

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Thousands of Nigerians who want to travel to vote in the rescheduled Presidential and National Assembly elections have been given airfare cut by Aero Contractors and Arik Air.

Both carriers yesterday introduced promo fares in what they termed ‘Fly to Vote promotion’ to encourage disenchanted electorate. But for an eligible air traveler to qualify for the promo, he must present his Permanent Voter Card (PVC). The airlines made the disclosure in separate statements issued in Lagos.

Nigerians are set to go to the polls on February 23 to elect their President, 109 senators and 360 members of the House of Representatives after the elections earlier scheduled for February 16 were postponed. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has also fixed March 9 for gubernatorial and House of Assembly polls. Arik Air’s Chief Executive Officer, Captain Roy Ilegbodu, said the N16,000 Fly to Vote promotion was to encourage Nigerians to travel to their respective wards to cast their votes during the elections.

Ilegbodu said: “Arik Air, Nigeria’s leading airline has introduced an N16, 000 Fly to Vote promotion to encourage Nigerians to travel to their respective wards to cast their votes in the rescheduled Presidential and National Assembly elections, as well as the Gubernatorial and State Houses of Assembly elections holding across the country on February 23, 2019 and March 9, 2019 respectively.

“The N16,000 promotional fare is the one-way ticket cost to any domestic destination on Arik Air’s network and customers must present a PVC at the point of purchase and at check-in to be eligible to fly.

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Travel & Tourism

Uber hopes to expand its bus system to Lagos

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Uber is hoping to expand its imprint on public transportation in Africa’s largest city.

The ride-hailing firm is working on plans to help develop a bus system for Lagos, a gridlocked metropolis with over 20 million people. Company representatives have met with transport officials from the city, toured the terminals of the newly-launched smart city buses, and discussed plans for collaboration, Uber’s general manager for sub-Saharan Africa Alon Lits confirmed to Quartz Africa on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Cape Town.

In June, Uber’s chief business officer Brook Entwistle visited the city and met with the Lagos state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu. Any plans would require full approval and collaboration by the state government which is known for its proclivity for bureaucratic control.

The moves are indicative of Uber’s plan to become the “Amazon” for transportation and tap into riders’ preferred mobility options. It’s also part of a strategy to add into its array of locally-popular forms of motorized transport, given the roll-out of boda-boda motorcycles in cities like Kampala, three-wheeled tuk-tuks in Dar es Salaam, or quick-trip, low-cost options on fuel-efficient vehicles in Nairobi. The e-hailing firm has also been partnering with transit agencies in cities to expand transportation access, decrease car ownership, and reduce congestion.

The bus options offer a “huge opportunity,” Lits said, given millions of people across the continent use them to move on a daily basis. In Lagos, about 80% of total daily passenger trips as of 2015 were made by public transport dominated by buses.

One option Uber could consider for the city is to offer real-time transit information and cashless ticketing on the Lagos Bus Services, allowing riders to plan their journeys and buy tickets. Traffic is a major challenge in Lagos with inadequate traffic guidance, bad roads, and unruly drivers making it all the worse. The city also does not yet have a modern light railway system for regular commuters though it is building one.

“I think the bus will prove to be a game-changer for Lagos and is obviously very much needed,” Lits said. He also added city officials were “excited” by the prospects of partnership. “It is a longer-term engagement but it is something we are willing to do and I think grateful for the willingness on the other side.”

The ride-hailing giant has launched similar experiments in cities including Denver, where commuters can buy, book and pay for bus and train rides using an in-app ticketing service

Six years after launching in Africa, Uber has been constantly adapting its business models to the needs of local markets amid competition from rivals. For example, African cities, led by Nairobi and Lagos, played a key role in driving Uber’s global strategy around cash. Last December, the San Francisco-based company launched its first bus service globally in Cairo: another traffic-clogged city where local firm SWVL was already using technology to help customers reserve seats on clean, air-conditioned, and high-quality buses.

After raising about $80 million in the past two years, SWVL has now expanded to Kenya and Pakistan and is looking to move into Nigeria, South Africa, and Côte d’Ivoire, chief executive Mostafa Kandil recently told Quartz. In Kenya, Safaricom-backed Little also launched a bus service to bring order to the unruly public matatu buses.”

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Travel & Tourism

Nigerians to pay more for US visa

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The U.S. government has announced that it is imposing a ‘reciprocity fee’ on Nigerians seeking to travel to the United States. The new fee will only apply to Nigerians whose visa request has been approved.

The announcement was made in a statement by the U.S. Embassy in Abuja. The new fee ranges from $80 to $110 (28,8000 to N39,600) depending on the type of visa being applied for.

“The reciprocity fee will be charged in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee, also known as the MRV fee, which all applicants pay at the time of application,” the embassy said.

The embassy added that the fee was being imposed to reciprocate a similar one by the Nigerian government on Americans seeking to travel to Nigeria.

“U.S. law requires U.S. visa fees and validity periods to be based on the treatment afforded to U.S. citizens by foreign governments, insofar as possible.”

The U.S. is a major destination for thousands of Nigerians who travel annually for various reasons including education, leisure, and work.

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Travel & Tourism

Largest Man-Made Lakes in the World

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Man-made water-bodies are formed by constructing a dam across a flowing river in order to regulate the flow of water. These are known as reservoirs. These artificial lakes are constructed to store water for power generation, irrigation, and can be put to domestic and industrial use.

Dams could also be made on an outlet channel of a naturally occurring lake to provide better control of the water level in the lake. Such types of constructions typically maintain the natural characteristics of the lake, and examples of such constructions include Lake Tahoe in the US and Lake Victoria in East Africa. Human-made lakes are found mainly in regions having limited natural lakes or where the lakes are not suitable for human water needs. Here we take a look at some of the Largest Man-Made Lakes In The World

KARIBA DAM


Kariba dam is the largest man-made lake in the world. Located in Zambia and Zimbabwe, it can hold up to 180.6 cubic kilometers of water. It was constructed in 1959 on river Zambezi and has a height of 420 feet and a width of 1900 feet. Lake Kariba extends for 170 miles. The primary purpose of the dam is to generate electricity and supplies about 1626 megawatts of electricity to Zambia and Zimbabwe. When the dam was constructed there was resettlement or approximately 57,000 people who were living in the area on both countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe. Lake Kariba controls about 90% of the total runoff of river Zambezi and has directly affected the ecology significantly in the downstream. Between 1958 and 1961 the wildlife rescue operation on river Zambezi captured about 6,000 large animals and several other small animals that were facing a threat from the rising water on the lake. In 2008 it was reported that the heavy rains could force the release of water from the dam which would affect at least 50,000 people who were living downstream. In 2010, the floodgates of the dam were opened because of the rising water on the reservoir, and this forced evacuation of about 130,000 people who were living in the floodplains. In 2014 engineers from the Zambezi river authority warned the foundation of the dam had weakened and needed repairs.

LAKE VOLTA


The Akosombo dam is also known as Volta Dam, and it is a hydro-electric generating plant on Volta River in Ghana. The Akosombo dam is the largest human-made lake in the world by surface area which is approximately 3,283 square miles and accounts for 3.6% of the land area of the whole of Ghana. However, by volume size, it is the third largest after the Bratsk reservoir in Russia. Akosombo dam has a volume of 150 cubic kilometers, and the main purpose of the dam is to provide electricity, and its original output was 912 megawatts, which was later upgraded in 2006 to 1020 megawatts. The flooding that created Lake Volta reservoir had a substantial environmental impact and displaced many people. The Akosombo dam supplies electricity to Ghana and other neighboring countries in West Africa like Benin and Togo. At the time of commissioning 20% output of the dam was serving 70% of the country’s demand, while the 80% was reserved for Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO).

MANICOUAGAN RESERVOIR


Manicouagan Reservoir in Canada is multiple buttress dam, and it was constructed on Manicouagan River stretching 133 miles. The construction of the dam began in 1959 and by 1970, and the primary purpose for the dam is to generate electricity and supplying water to the powerhouses. It has the capacity of 2,596 megawatts. The dam is the fourth largest in volume holding capacity of 141.8 cubic kilometers. The project is owned and operated by Hydro Quebec.

LAKE NASSER


Lake Nasser is a reservoir located in the south of Egypt. The lake is approximately 341 miles long and 22 miles wide at its widest part. This man-made lake has a surface area of 2,030 square miles. The deepest part of this lake measures 600 feet. The majority of the lake lies in Egypt, but a section of the reservoir is also located in Sudan. The Sudanese refer to the body of water as Lake Nubia.

BRATSK RESERVOIR

Bratsk Reservoir

The Bratsk Reservoir was constructed in Russia, on the Angara River, in 1967. This enormous body of water covers more than 2,110 square miles and is named after the nearby city of Bratsk.

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Politics

Should Nigeria embrace Capitalism? Is what’s good for the merchants good for Nigeria?

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Indian merchants who knew Sheikn Rashid recall that his favourite saying was,

“What’s good for the merchants is good for Dubai.”

– Sheikn Rashid

The motto famous in Dubai as the philosophy behind the Making of the Megapolis. They also recall what a thrill it was for Emiratis each time a new merchant arrived to set up shop. Just sixty years ago Dubai’s population scraped a living by picking dates, diving for pearls, or sailing in wooden dhows to trade with Iran and India.

Dubai’s waterways: Dhows pictured on the city’s creek was once the centre of Dubai’s pearl trade

The emirate went from desert backwater to the Manhattan of the Middle East in just 50 years

But today, Dubai is everything the rest of the Arab world is not, with its unfathomably high skyscrapers, matched only in size by its vast, sprawling shopping malls and its residents’ bulging bank balances. As at 2013, the UAE’s per capita income of $48,000 was one of the highest in the world. A robust economy with perhaps the best infrastructures on the planet, one of the safest place to live or do business in the middle east, and generally, one of the safest sanctuaries of global capital. Achieved simply on the back of sound reasoning by good leadership, with a focus on establishing an economy beyond petroleum exports: using their oil wealth to invest in trade and industry for profit in accordance with basic principles of capitalism.

Dubai City

Like Dubai sixty years ago, the economic setbacks of Nigeria can still be addressed if Nigerians can look beyond cheap petrodollar and its criminal enterprise of bribery and corruption, as the nation’s main source of wealth creation. For which the consequence of this chronic condition has over the years impeded the incentives for creativity and the diversification of the Nigerian economy, which otherwise by now should have resulted in the economic independence from petroleum exports, and could have provided revenue generation in multiple growth sectors.

It remains shocking but not surprising that even amongst many of Nigeria’s enlightened youths and elites, a lack of the will or capacity to aspire beyond oil revenue and the followership of the downline of corrupt element still strives. However, from the leadership perspective, the main perpetrators have been myopic leaders whose years of leading with extreme incompetence, gross lack of commercial awareness and arrogance have not allowed for any well-grounded vision beyond the petrodollar.

Indeed, like Muhammadu Buhari, the quality of being perceived, to be honest, or having strong moral principles: integrity, is an attractive attribute of a leader. However, for the President of a country like Nigeria, with severe economic challenges and a rapidly growing youth population, a lot more substance is required for progressive leadership. Until Nigerians elect leaders that could radically embrace policies that promote commercial growth and create business-friendly environments with conditions suitable for domestic and international businesses alike, Nigeria would remain drowned in acute economic ignorance.

Only capitalism can save Nigerians

Undoubtedly, It is absolutely essential to plug the notoriously occurring leakages in the economy, however, with a population of 180 million people with a youth unemployment rate of 13.41% as at 2017 and increasing, a focus on revenue creation to stimulate growth is critically essential. But to date, efforts towards the regime’s myopic economic policy of simply fighting corruption, and its unstructured attempt to overhaul weak institutions have been largely diluted by nepotism and lopsided political prejudice, and as a result, has failed to produce any tangible outcome to count towards poverty reduction.

Sadly, after 4years of expectations, Nigerians are back to the choice of the same narrow mission that has proven to have little or no significant impact on the advancement of the common man in Nigeria. Generally, the efforts of Buhari’s 2015 -2019 regime simply lacked the prerequisite qualities needed to improve the welfare of Nigerians: an unsatisfactory outcome.

As Nigeria heads towards the general elections on February 16th 2019, where Nigerians would be faced with a binary choice, between the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar, a Former Vice President of Nigeria, considered to be an advocate of Capitalism, I close by borrowing a famous quote from Shakespeare.

“There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.”

– William Shakespeare.

Should Nigeria embrace Capitalism? Like Dubai, is what’s good for the merchants also good for Nigeria?

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