Nigeria threatens to shut down domestic airlines over debt
The Nigerian government has threatened to shut down domestic airlines over multibillion naira debt, which they alleged to have refused to pay despite receiving the money from customers, and warned them on campaign of calumny and falsehoods against the authorities
Penpushing reports that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Director General Musa Nuhu made this known on Tuesday at a meeting with representatives of the local carriers in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The Director General emphasized that the airlines owed the government N19 billion and $7.6 million, declaring that the airlines should enter into Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on how they will pay the debt in the next one month
“The airlines must enter an MoU on how they will pay their debts in the next 30 days from August 30th, 2022 or their license will be suspended at the expiration of the deadline”, the Director General declared
“This situation is crippling finances and pitching the Authority against the Federal Government as a government-owned revenue-generating agency, following the dire financial position of the Federal Government”, he said
Penpushing further reports that, an umbrella body for all the airlines operating in Nigeria, Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), had accused the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority(NCAA) of imposing multiple charges on its members.
The airline operators in a letter addressed to the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, posited that the charges, alongside scarcity of foreign exchange and aviation fuel scarcity, are choking the airlines, but in response Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) said the accusations by the airlines were unfair, unfounded and smacked of blackmail.
Penpushing also reports that, Nuhu said all airlines are indebted to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) , the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).
The Director General added that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) charges the airlines cost recovery charges as the bulk of its revenue comes from statutory charges on air tickets, noting that while customers pay the money, airlines continue to fail to remit them.
Penpushing further reports that, he said the Airlines Operators of Nigeria (AON) accusations were untrue as a comparison of charges between Nigeria and Ghana shows that Ghana charges over 100 per cent higher in most of the charges.
The Director General explained that, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) will also review its charges higher as the Authority hasn’t reviewed charges in about 13 years in spite of rising cost of service provision.
Penpushing also reports that, he explained that the aviation agencies are just as challenged as the airlines because they also rely on forex to train and procure critical equipment the airline needs to operate safely.
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