SOME airline operators are beginning to question why they have not received their share of the N5billion Federal Government palliative given that monies have been shared since December and even car hire services earmarked for palliatives have received, taking precedence over some airlines.
This is just as same airlines are asking why everything in the aviation industry is shrouded in secrecy as airlines who have been left out of the loop want to understand the rationale behind their being left out so far.
Chairman of West Link Airline, Captain Ibrahim Mshelia who spoke to our correspondent told NigerianFLIGHTDECK categorically said that his airline, West Link Airline is not aware of the disbursement of palliatives as they are yet to receive anything despite submitting documentation as requested.
Recall Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in March 2020, announced a credit relief of $137, 000, 000 million around N50 billion to businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic of which ₦27billion was earmarked to save existing aviation industry organizations and jobs, through a targeted stimulus package and fast track the establishment of a private sector driven national carrier.
After the long clamour for bailout funds for the aviation industry, NigerianFLIGHTDECK on January 5, 2021 learnt that the supervising ministry of the industry had disbursed N5billion of the N27billion released to the aviation industry as bailout funds in December.
According to what is known of the funds disbursed so far, scheduled and non-scheduled airline operators got N4billion; while others including ground handling companies, National Association of Travel Agencies, Aviation fuel marketers as well as airport car hire services partook from this largesse got N1billion.
However, not all airlines have received these palliatives as Captain Mshelia affirmed, “I must say the government was responsive to all the sectors which is very commendable indeed. Also I have colleagues in other sectors and other sectors of the economy had some very seamless and commendable way of touching everyone but in the case of aviation, as I speak to you today being March 24, 2021 West Link Airlines, my company has told me they have not received any palliative as at today.
Well, I know of another colleague that has not received but I can confirm to you 100% I have not received. Others might not be obligated to tell me but the thing that baffles me too is why the secrecy about this thing, it is free money that government has given us companies which have been supporting to keep the country’s economy and government, in its magnanimity, has given this money out but I don’t know who is in charge, I only know government has released this money.
“We have all thanked government we are still waiting, I believe there is some hitches lets me wait and see. We have already got vaccine maybe in the next two months everything will be normalized, we were not allowed to serve catering and now we are, things are becoming normal yet we do not have the palliative and we don’t know who to ask, we don’t know anything, “he said.
Mshelia also explained that the Ministry of Aviation asked airlines to submit their documentation on where to pay but is yet to receive any revert as to what is the true situation.
“I did ask one of the guys who didn’t get also and he said to me he called the ministry and they told him some of them will get it before 20th of January but the portal was closed and a story that the portal system was shut down .. right now we are two months and three days from that day and still we haven’t seen anything, we need to understand why we did not get it, the time to cry is not now but the time is coming, but we are believing our own is on the way.”
“What should happen is we are still expecting, we are Nigerian operators and have employed people like other airlines that have gotten and definitely we have to get. We are not going to fight anybody but there will come a time we will demand for it.”