BOTH the Senate and House Committees on Aviation are looking for quick interventions to aid the sector recover as the committees are seeking ways around payment of the 25 percent Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) into the treasury and the CBN creating a FOREX window for the sector’s operators.
Chairman Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Smart Adeyemi and Chairman House Committee on Aviation, Honorable Nnaji Nnolim made these known separately at the red carpet sideline of the 25th Annual Conference of the League of Airport & Aviation Correspondents (LAAC). READ MORE: Updated: Engineer Adeniji explains how unfriendly policies repel, divert FDI in aviation
The Conference with the theme, Nigeria’s Aviation Industry: Management, Policy & Regulation gave the lawmakers the opportunity to x-ray what they have garnered through their oversight and in what areas quick intervention is needed.
Senator Adeyemi who spoke on the compulsory 25% contribution of FAAN to the treasury said they are looking at how they can salvage that situation as it would be against the constitution if FAAN does not pay.
He however said they are looking for a way to strike a balance between the 1999 Constitution and the Bill submitted seeking removal of the 25% IGR contribution to the treasury.
He said,” We are looking at how we will navigate the pleas from agencies like FAAN to be allowed not to pay the required 25 percent IGR into the treasury because that would be in conflict with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“We are looking at what can be done and that explains one of the issues why we have not passed the Bills. But when we resume from our recess, we would take a final position on that and look at how we can strike a balance between the 1999 constitution and what the Bill is seeking. But you know that in any situation where you have any law that is in conflict with the constitution, the constitution will take prominence.
“I am a member of the Senate Committee on Constitutional reforms and we would be meeting soon and some of these issues are what we would be looking at. We would be considering how we can make the agencies more effective by either reducing or outrightly asking them to use some of the funds that they generate.
Chairman House Committee on Aviation, Hon. Nnaji Nnolim who also spoke decried that the executive did not do much for the sector as regards bailout during the height of the COVID-19 Pandemic and stressed that access to forex was affecting the airlines .
He said,” The government didn’t do much in terms of bailout for the airlines. The cost of the engine of a Boeing is close to $10 million and what the government provided for all the airlines is about N4 billion, so, when you compare what our airlines got to other countries, you will find out that they didn’t do much for the industry. The aviation industry is a very expensive business and most people do not break even. What they just succeed in doing is to just keep the business going because everything about the industry is offshore and that is a challenge.
“We have succeeded in getting zero duties for the airlines for the purchase of spare parts. Another issue that they are battling with is the issue of forex. Since they buy most of their stuff abroad, it is important that they have access to forex. The planes need to be in the sky all the time because the more you move, the more money you make so that you can pay your bills. We would want the Central Bank of Nigeria to create a window for Forex because it will help reduce the airfare.
“For now, I don’t know how the ban on Forex to BDCs will affect airlines but I heard that the black market rate has gone up. I still wonder if banks can manage but from next week, we will get to know how airlines will are affected.