A leading pressure group in the Nigerian aviation industry, Aviation Round Table (ART) has said that the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has failed to live up to its functions of providing economic regulation calling on the regulators to step up its acivities.
ART President, Gbenga Olowo
Speaking with aviation journalists at the weekend in Lagos, its new President, Mr. Gbenga Olowo in his maiden speech after being elected to lead the ART, traced the current woes in the aviation sector to a weak NCAA, which he argued was not discharging its duties as expected from it.
Olowo argued that a stronger, viable and independent NCAA would be able to gather the industry’s airlines together and seek a way of taking them out of their present doldrums and opined that the current domestic operators should be merged to two or maximum three to make them stronger, profitable and more reliable in their operations.
He said, “The Civil Aviation Authority, CAA, should be the government of aviation like we have it in the Federal Aviation Administration, FAA, in the United States, which is the only government agency on transport.
“Our NCAA is not there yet. The zeal of NCAA ended when Dr. Harold Demuren left the agency. The current Director-General is more or a less a civil servant. We need a vibrant CAA that will be able to take the sector to higher level. It is a shame that we don’t have any airline in this country. When we go outside the country for aviation conferences, people ask us ‘where are your airlines?’ We need a stronger NCAA for us to move forward.”
The group also accused the Asset Management Company of Nigeria, AMCON, of misplaced priorities in the bailout and takeover of some airlines in the sector.
ART further advocated for the total scrapping of the Ministry of Aviation, accusing it of creating more harms to the system.
The group also queried the sincerity of the Asset Management Company of Nigeria, AMCON, in bailing out of some airlines in the sector.
ART maintained that the survival of any airline in the sector did not depend on the payment of debts owned financial institutions by airlines, but funds to increase their business and gradually pay off their debts to the banks.
Olowo stressed that rather than bailout the airlines, the government could channel such funds to the development of the agencies in the sector to better provide better facilities and equipment to the users.
“How has AMCON been disbursing the funds? Is it to private pockets? We didn’t see intervention of government in that direction as sincere. AMCON has missed it because the airlines want to run and operate to pay its debts. We need two to three strong Nigerian airlines. The Director of Securities and Exchange Commissions, SEC, and AMCON should sit down and bring the assets of these airlines together and midwife how we can have only two to three airlines,” he said.
On his part, the Secretary General, ART, Grp. Capt. (rtd) John Ojikutu called for the total scrapping of the Ministry of Aviation.
Ojikutu maintained that rather than contribute to the development of the sector, the ministry had created more crises for the sector and urged the Federal Government to merge the ministry with Ministry of Transport.
He declared that merger of the two ministries would further give a clear focus and direction to the parastatals and departments as against the present situation where the parastatals were seen as serving two masters.
He also opined that the merger of the two ministries would further ensure uniformity of policies and directional implementation, reduce corruption and inefficiency and curb waste in governance.
He said, “The ministry has given out all the areas the airlines can make money to foreign carriers through multiple points to foreign carriers. NCAA must sit down and rescue the market for our airlines provided the airlines are ready to shape up.”
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