"Elections postponement will cost Nigeria N400billion" - NAHCO boss

The acting Managing Director of the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company, NAHCO, Plc, Mr. Nobert Bielderman, Monday, said that the postponement of the 2015 general elections for six weeks by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, will have an adverse impact on the Nigerian economy to the tune of $2bn (over N400bn) loss.

Speaking with newsmen at a day summit organised by NAHCO Plc, Bielderman noted that the devaluation of the naira against the United States dollars would affect the domestic airline operators as they try to procure their spare parts abroad.

According to him, the 2015 elections postponement would lead to Foreign Direct Investment to find their ways to other countries and loss of confidence in Nigerian economy, adding that it will also lead to huge business challenges in the country.

He noted that in respect to the elections, many European countries have placed travel ban on some of their citizens, adding that this will negatively impact the aviation sector in the country.

Bielderman, said: “Elections postponement impact on the economy is analysed to be worth over $2bn as cost and investor loss of confidence for existing and new Foreign Direct Investment that may have found its destination to other countries.”

He added that Nigeria’s foreign reserves was constantly depleted while the national account is currently in deficit, pointing out that the crash in oil price and consequent impact on the nation’s revenue earnings had led to an exchange rate from N155 a dollar to N205 to dollar within a six-month period at the interbank and Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

He stressed that, there was an urgent need for all stakeholders and professionals in the country to sit together and channel a formidable course of direction that was sustainable in moving the country forward.

“The negative factors that I have posited prior that limits aviation this current year may be summarised as: naira depreciation, high exchange rate, high interest rates and unreasonable domestic air tickets.

“Implicitly, Naira has been devalued to between 30-40 per cent and this will necessary cause inflation if government does not put in place deliberate measures to mitigate against an upsurge in price across industry.”

Credit: Daniel Eteghe/Vanguard