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FG target $42.5 pb for 2017 budget as aviation fuel crisis deepens in Nigeria, Ghana

The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu has given signal that the 2017 budget may be based on $42.5 per barrel even as oil price is heading towards $60pb.

Besides, there are palpable fears over current fuel shortage on the West African coast that may affect their operations especially as the Yuletide season beckons.

While Nigeria, which is the major market on the continent, is running short of supply to airlines, neighbouring Ghana that has lately become the aviation fuel hub for most airlines is facing a similar challenge.

The development was already a major source of concern to operations, as some airlines with Nigerian passengers have begun to make a detour in Libreville, Gabon, for fuel. Aviation sources say airlines may begin to ration flights to Nigeria during the festive season, especially when there is no guarantee of getting fuel in neighbouring countries for top-up — and this could frustrate business tourism by jacking up cost of domestic and international travels.

Aviation fuel, otherwise called Jet-A1, is a specialised type of petroleum-based product used to power aircraft and normally accounts for over 30 per cent of operation cost of an airline.

In Nigeria, Jet-A1 is 100 per cent imported and subject to the vagaries of the foreign exchange market. In the last 12 months, aviation fuel has steadily climbed from N104 to N240 per litre in Lagos and as high as N270 in northern part of the country.

Meanwhile, apex regulatory body, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), has suspended at least five cabin crew trainees for allegedly testing positive for Tetra Hydro Cannabinol (THC), a major active ingredient contained in marijuana.

NCAA, on account of the alleged drug-related offences, suspended medical certificates of the unnamed culprits for 180 days.

Spokesperson of the authority, Sam Adurogboye, said the five tested positive for marijuana during a Multi-drug Screening Test (MDST) conducted on participants of the Cabin Crew Training Basic Course – 30 (CCTB–30) at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) Zaria, Kaduna State on June 2, 2016.

Adurogboye said upon receipt of the test result from NCAT Zaria where they went for training before they got involved, NCAA issued a letter of investigation (LOI) to the affected crewmembers and they responded.