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Virgin Nigeria will save the country N262b yearly, says Yuguda

Posted by Vanguard on 2005/01/11 | Views: 282 |

Virgin Nigeria will save the country N262b yearly, says Yuguda


AVIATION Minister, Isa Yuguda, has said the new national carrier, Virgin Nigeria, will save the country about N262 billion ($2 billion) yearly from capital flight.

AVIATION Minister, Isa Yuguda, has said the new national carrier, Virgin Nigeria, will save the country about N262 billion ($2 billion) yearly from capital flight.

Yuguda, who spoke in Abuja yesterday said: "We are going to reap many benefits from the new national airline when it begins operations, as our people will be able to travel with it and save the country vast foreign exchange".

According to him, the new national carrier would help to check capital flight by operating domestic, regional and international routes.

"The establishment of a viable flag carrier remains the only option for reduction of capital flight and when Virgin Nigeria fully takes off, the country will be saving a lot of money hitherto spent on foreign airlines", he noted.

The new airline has the UK-based private airline, Virgin Atlantic, with 49 per cent equity shares as the major shareholder while Nigerian investors are expected to take up the remaining 51 per cent.

It is scheduled to commence operations in the first quarter of the year with domestic, regional and intercontinental services.

The minister, who spoke against the backdrop of criticisms trailing the establishment of the Virgin Nigeria, disclosed that the Initial Public Offer (IPO) for the airline would soon be made public for subscription.

"So, I am calling on interested Nigerian companies and individuals to acquire shares in Virgin Nigeria to reap their investment because the new airline has great prospects", Yuguda said.

"With an initial investment of $50 million and incremental working capital facilities, the benefits derivable from the investment in the company is quite tremendous", Yuguda added.

He also said the Federal Government did not invest any money in Virgin Nigeria because "it is a complete private sector-driven company".

He invited indigenous airline operators to take a stake in Virgin Nigeria to boost their businesses and attract more foreign investments into the nation's economy.

The aviation minister also implored Nigerians to give the new airline the fullest support and cooperation to propel the country to higher heights.

"It is my prayer that this airline will grow and serve as a fine example of a private sector initiative where government once dabbled into", he added.

On September 28, last year, Nigerian officials and those of Virgin Atlantic signed a memorandum of mutual understanding (MEMU) to formalise the establishment of the new flag carrier.

The Federal Government had recently reserved five destinations for Virgin Nigeria. These are Dubai, Jeddah, Johannesburg, London and New York.

The decision, according to government sources, was premised on the need to restore confidence to prospective shareholders and also give the new airline room to grow and compete with other foreign carriers.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.