November 2, 2020

FG approves N4bn bailout for domestic airlines

Nigerian airports not shut to foreign airlines — FG

Resumption of flight operation at the Domestic wing of Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos on Wednesday. Photos Lamidi Bamidele

File: The Domestic wing of Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos on Wednesday. Photos Lamidi Bamidele

…Senate says amount too meagre

…. Airlines owning N19.3 billion naira non- remitted TSC

By Lawani Mikairu

The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika Monday said the federal government has approved N4 billion Naira bailout fund for domestic airlines to mitigate the adverse effects of covid-19 pandemic on them.

However, the Senate Committee on Aviation chairman, Senator Smart Adeyemi said the approved amount is small and urged the government to increase the amount.

In a related development, the Minister revealed that the domestic airlines are owning Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, about N19.3 billion naira non-remitted TSC money collected from passengers on behalf of NCAA

Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika made all the disclosure yesterday in Abuja during a three day public hearing to repeal and enact Acts of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) and that of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).

Sirika also said that the Federal Government approved additional N1b for aviation agencies to also ” cushion the sorry state of most of them which has made payment of salaries difficult for many of them”. He added that the funds will soon be released to both the airlines and the agencies.

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Meanwhile, not impressed with the paltry N4b to airlines , Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Smart Adeyemi urged the Federal Government to do more.

Adeyemi said :  “N4b is very little to solve some of the problems of the airlines who are battling to survive. We urge the government to take charge of the sector. They need to give them more and they also need to support in all ways”.

“Yes, the airlines are in business but we cannot continue to look at them without offering them assistance. I am not comparing Nigeria with the United States, but I think we can do better than the N4b we are assisting them with”.

While noting the plea of Adeyemi, Sirika tasked the National Assembly to give more financial support to the airlines and pleaded with the lawmakers to grant approval for funds to struggling airlines.

He further revealed that the domestic airlines are currently owning Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, N19,365,374. billion naira non-remitted Ticket Sales Charge,TSC, collected from the passengers on behalf of the agency.

The TSC is normally collected by NCAA from the airlines and shared among the other aviation agencies, namely FAAN, AIB, NCAT, NIMET, NAMA and the NCAA.