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ByCitizen NewsNG

Aug 29, 2020

LAST minutes fine tuning of logistics accounted for the shift of the resumption of international flights to Nigeria from today to September 15, The Nation gathered yesterday.
Industry sources said the E-payment platform and provision of enough COVID-19 test laboratories largely forced the government to rethink.
The government also opted for a shift of flights to avoid a flawed arrangement which can have international backlash on the country.
Nigeria, according to one of the sources, has met about 95 per cent of the COVID-19 Protocols to accommodate international flights.
The source said: “We have not been able to harmonise the E-payment platform to be used by international passengers coming into the country.
“The E-payment platform must be put in place in the country of origin and the destination. By the COVID-19 Protocols for international flights, passengers coming to Nigeria will buy tickets and undergo COVID-19 test in their country of origin.
“They are also expected to pay for COVID-19 laboratory test, as they are booking tickets, which they will undergo on the 8th day of their arrival in Nigeria.
“While Nigeria is ready with its E-payment platform, some countries have not been able to put this in place.”
He said the “E-payment portal is also expected to contain basic dossiers of each passenger, including verifiable home or locations in Nigeria and a list of contacts who can be traced. It has inbuilt tracking devices.
“Since the platform is all encompassing, Nigeria needs a tidier database of all inbound international passengers.”
The source also said there are not enough private laboratories in the country for COVID-19 test.
The source added: “The two major hubs for international flights are Lagos and Abuja.
“While there are many willing private laboratories in Lagos to conduct COVID-19 tests for international passengers, Abuja is experiencing a slow response in this regard.
“The Federal Government cannot afford to put in place a” wishy-washy” arrangement because of the likely backlash from the international community.
“So the government opted for a one week extension to put finishing touches to the logistics for the resumption of international flights.”
Findings confirmed that some experts were concerned that Nigeria was too in a hurry to open its international routes without the required logistics.
It was gathered that some experts had cautioned against announcing a definite date when it initially fixed August 29th.
But those in the aviation sector were “to uboptimistic that the date was workable without practical and measurable steps in place.
A third source said:” It was obvious from the onset that August 30th was unrealistic because the logistics were about 95 percent ready.
“Some experts drew the attention of those in government to the fact that less than 50 countries in the world have reopened their airports for international flights.
“I think within one week, Nigeria will be able to perfect the logistics for the resumption of the flights.”

By Yusuf Alli


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