TB Joshua’s church rakes in N108m for FG in Security Levy quarterly—BH Intelligence
Whereas a new report has revealed that the federal government earns about N9bn in Security Levy from international passengers in third quarter, Business Hilights Intelligence Unit (BHIU), can authoritatively report that a substantial sum of the revenue come from visitors coming to worship at the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), founded and run by Ondo State-born preacher, Prophet TB Joshua in Lagos.
Though calls made to the church to find out average number of foreign visitors weekly failed on Tuesday evening, December 19, 2017, as a Lady official who picked the phone could not give any detail, rather advised our correspondent to send an email requesting for the information.
When our reporter reminded her that an email of enquiry sent by Business Hilights since November 20, this year with several reminders on ‘the total number of Libyan returnees that had been rehabilitated and empowered by the church’, the discussion was terminated.
However, in a telephone interview with Rev. Olujimi Ebijimi, the chairman of Ondo State Members of the church, he said “In a week or let me say during a Live Sunday Service we have more than 500 seated international worshippers. Their numbers are growing daily and they are already more than Nigerian worshipper as am talking to you”.
Continuing, the Commandant of Lagos State Neighbourhood Watch (LSNW), Oriade LCDA Command added that “If I may say, we record, officially between 2,000 and more international visitors on a monthly basis and all of them come by air”.
International visitors leaving Nigeria, by law pay Security Levy ($50) introduced at the wake of rising global terrorism as part of funding for airport security and allied services payable by passengers using any of the international airports in Nigeria.
Just like other volatile nations of the world, the Federal Government had introduced the $50 security levy for each passenger going out of the country since 2013 to combat insurgency in Nigeria.
The levy is collected and remitted to the federal government by the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
Now, using 500 visitors as a weekly average, it means that about 2,000 international visitors hit the church monthly and 6,000 on a quarterly basis.
When 6,000 passengers pay $50, a total of $300,000 is raked in by the government in a quarter which translates to about N108,000,000 (using N360 to a dollar).
It would be recalled that few months ago when the cleric opened up on pressure to relocate the church to Israel, the federal government through the Minister of Information begged him to drop the idea so that the economy will not lose fortunes coming from the church including blessings and haulage of international tourists.
An earlier report published by Nigeria’s Daily Independent indicated that between July 1 and September 30, 2017, at least 500,348 passengers exited the country through the five international airports in Lagos, Kano, Abuja, Port Harcourt, and Enugu.
The report revealed that from the 500,348 passengers, with the levy of $50 each, the government earned $25,017,400 within the period, which amounted to N9, 006,240 billion at the exchange rate of N360 per dollar.
The sum was earned from 30 out of the 31 airlines carrying out international operations in the country with 3,664 flights out of the country within the period.
Whereas Ethiopian Airlines lead the pack, Lufthansa, and British Airways follow closely number of foreign carriers with the highest number of passengers out of the country and who earned revenues for the Federal Government.
The statistics indicated that Ethiopian Airlines ferried 59,536 passengers, earning N1.07 billion for the government; Lufthansa airlifted 40,594, earning N730,692,000, and British Airways transported 38,430 passengers earning N671,740,000 within the period.
The three airlines earned N2,476,080,000 in security levy, representing 11. 9 percent of the total earning from security levy within the period by the government.
Also, Air France within the period ferried 37,073, thereby earning N667, 314,000; Turkish Air, 32,353 passengers, representing N582,354,000; Emirates with 28,619 passengers at N515,142,000; Virgin Atlantic had 25,992 passengers at N467,856,000, and KLM Airlines airlifted 25,510 passengers, earning N459,180,000 in the third quarter of 2017.
Others are Qatar Airways with 24,931 passengers, which was N448,740,000; Egypt Air, 20,528 passengers, earning N369, 504,000; South African Airways, 16,994 passengers, earning N305,892,000; Asky Airlines, 16,887 passengers at N303,996,000; Africa World Airlines, 15,723 passengers with N283,014,000; Royal Air Maroc with 15,612 passengers, representing N281,016,000, and Rwandair with 15,287 passengers, earning N275,166,000.
Also, the giant American carrier, which celebrated its 10th year of flying between Nigeria and the United States, recently, airlifted 14,761 passengers within the period, which increased government’s generation by N265,698,000; Kenya Airways, 12,649 passengers at N227,682,000; Etihad Airways, 12,354 passengers with N222,372,000; Med-View ferried 8,833 passengers, earning N158,994,000, and Max Air airlifted 8,189 passengers in the third quarter, representing N147,402,000 for the government.
Also, Air Cote d’Ivoire carried 7,562 passengers making additional N136,160,000 for the government; Arik Air, with its challenges, airlifted 6,628 passengers in the third quarter, amounting to N119,304,000; Air Peace, which flies to some West Coast countries, carried 4,907 passengers, representing N88,326,000; Middle East ferried 3,404 passengers, which earned N61,272,000, while Sudan Air ferried 2,355 passengers out of Nigeria within the period, contributing N42,390,000, and Meridiana Airline transported 1,705 passengers in the period, which amounted to N30,690 million.
Others are Saudi Air with 1,473 passengers; Mid Air Airline, 792 passengers; Cronos Air, 540 passengers, and Azman Air, 127 passengers with N80, 514,000, N14, 256,000 and N2,286,000, respectively.
Among the international carriers in the third quarter, only Camair-Co, a Cameroonian carrier, did not earn any amount of money for the Federal Government in the third quarter, having not operated a single flight out of the country within the period.
A source in the church confided in our correspondent that why the airline is no more regular in Nigerian airspace is because one of the top clergymen working with TB Joshua, popularly called ‘Wiseman’ John Chii bolted away and formed his miracle church in Cameroon in the last few years, thus causing a serious drop in Cameroonian traffic to SCOAN.
Some of the visitors relived their trip planning experience, say the trip itself usually takes months and in some cases, up to two years in waiting for an official invitation letter from SCOAN through the email posted on site.