Nigeria seeks private investors for aircraft leasing venture

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LAGOS, April 8 – Nigeria plans to set up an aircraft leasing company to help domestic and African carriers obtain new planes and is seeking private partners for the venture, the government said on Monday.

Most airlines in Nigeria want to expand their fleets, but high financing costs and currency risks have hampered growth. Nigerian airlines’ revenues are in naira, while most of their costs are in U.S. dollars.

The government said in a statement the new company would initially lease aircraft from international lessors and sub-lease them to domestic operators.

It wants the partner to be a consortium of international lessors, financial institutions and investors, and said bidders had until May 20 to show interest. The government will own a minority stake.

On Friday, Nigeria’s Medview Airline said it had been in talks with some financial institutions to raise capital and that a lack of infrastructure as well as dollar shortages were complicating its operating environment.

The company added its short-term growth prospects were limited after posting losses.

The government has said it plans to hand over airports to private managers to attract investment and overhaul aviation infrastructure that has suffered decades of neglect and under-investment. It also plans to set up an aircraft maintenance facility in Lagos or Abuja with private operators.

The government had been considering launching a national carrier, but suspended that project in September, without giving a reason.

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Samson Gbenga Salau [Editorial Board Adviser] Gbenga Samuel Salau is a professional journalist with over 17 years experience in journalism, he is a graduate of Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan. On completion of his youth service, he joined The Guardian as a freelance journalist and was later absorbed as a staff. While in the University, he was a campus journalist reporting for the Independence Hall and Faculty of Arts Press Clubs. As a campus journalist, he won the following awards; Independence Hall Press Best News writer; University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best News Reporter/Writer; First Runner-up, Reuben Abati Award for Investigative Journalism; Association of Faculty of Arts Students’ Press Best Reporter; University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best Political Writer; Winner, Reuben Abati Award for Investigative Journalism, and University of Ibadan Union of Campus Journalists’ Best Interviewer. He served the Association of Communication and Language Arts Students, as the Public Relation Officer, the same year he was appointed the News Editor of the Association of Faculty of Arts Students Press. The following session, he was made the General Editor, and a member of the 13-man University of Ibadan Students’ Union Transition Committee. As a reporter in The Guardian, in 2014, he won the Promasidor Quill Award Best Report on Nutrition and DAME Business Reporting category. In the 2015 edition of the Promasidor Quill Award, he won the best Report on Nutrition and Brand Advocate Categories, while in 2016, he won the NMMA Print Journalist of the Year, first runner-up Golden Pen Reporter of the Year and SERAs CSR Awards. Gbenga Salau loves traveling, reading, and listening to songs with good lyrics no matter the genre.

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