By JIMOH BABATUNDE WITH AGENCY REPORTS
The National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), has frowned at the sluggishness in the disbursement of the federal government approved bail-out funds of N300 billion, allocated to the power and aviation sectors of the nation’s economy.
Sixty percent of this fund, amounting to about N180 billion, was said to be approved for indigenous players in the Nigerian aviation industry.
The National President of NAAPE, Engr. Isaac Balami, said that, “Though we commend the Central Bank of Nigeria for successfully packaging this bail-out fund to support the indigenous airlines and other players, and getting the approval of the federal government for it, we frown at the sluggishness with which this critical aviation matter is being treated”.
Balami noted that, “Almost one year after this fund was created, no single Nigerian-owned airline has been able to draw down from it. This is a lamentable situation, considering that the aviation sector has remained in a comatose state, where many airlines are grounded because of one financial challenge or the other”.
The NAAPE boss explained further that, “Because majority of our airlines have no money to acquire new aircrafts, the local industry is forced to open its doors to more and more foreign-registered aircrafts, which cannot provide employment for Nigerian pilots and aircraft engineers.
He therefore canvassed for an urgent Presidential intervention in order to ensure that the N180 billion doesn’t remain an idle fund, when local aviation companies are in dire need.