By Lawani Mikairu
Passengers using both the domestic and international airports in Lagos have condemned in strong terms planned increment in the Passenger Service Charge ,PSC, by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN. There have been speculations and media reports that FAAN is planning to increase PSC with effect from January, 2019.
Though FAAN has not made any official statement on the issues, passengers who spoke with Saturday Vanguard condemned the planned increase as, according to them, FAAN has not shown any justification for such increase. They contend that the current charges have not been judiciously used by the agency.
The PSC is a charge collected from passengers travelling from both domestic and international airports. It is used by FAAN to maintain infrastructure at the airport and to improve passenger facilitation. Passengers who use the domestic airports pay N1000, while $50 is charged on every international passenger. The last increment on PSC was done in 2011.
Recently, the Managing Director of FAAN, Engr. Saleh Dunoma, disclosed that “the authority generated N38 billion from PSC in 2017 and the airports process about 15 million passengers annually comprising both domestic and international”.
Speaking with Saturday Vanguard , a frequent user of Muritala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, Mr kingsley Obi said the poor state of the facilities in the airport shows that FAAN has not been using the passenger service charge to develop and maintain the airport. According to him : “ FAAN collects billions of naira annually from these charges, what do they have to show for it. This is an airport that does not have constant power supply. They cannot install and maintain a standby generator to power the terminal.”
Reacting to the speculation, Mrs Elizabeth Ajugu who said she goes to Dubai monthly to buy goods for sale in Nigeria said : “Workers are agitating for increase in minimum wage, it has not been approved and a government agency is increasing charges that will further eat into the meagre income of these workers.
Aviation stakeholders are also not comfortable with the planned increase. The Chief Operating Officer of Dana Air, Mr. Obi Mbanuzuo, has been quoted as saying that “the argument on high cost of operation by FAAN did not add up. FAAN does not use the money collected from PSC for upgrade of facilities as all its capital projects are heavily subsidized by government. Of all the aviation agencies, FAAN is the highest revenue collector in the industry”.
Calling for caution too, another stakeholder John Ojikutu said: “If the international airports are planned for concessions, there should be no hurry about increase on the PSC. Any increase to sustain airports infrastructure, periodic maintenance, without government intervention will not be less than $10 or N3,500 per domestic passenger if the airports are eventually given out for concessions.”