Monday , 3 October 2022

Ojikutu alleges figure manipulation in NCAA, calls for agency’s probe

GROUP Captain John Ojikutu has called on government to probe the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA’s) 5% earning on the Passengers’ Tickets and Cargo Sales Charges (TSC &CSC) respectively following contradicting figures thrown around by various agencies.

This is just as he called on Ministry of State for Aviation, the Committees of the National Assembly on Aviation, Public Finance, Accounts and Appropriation, Concerned and Credible Government and Private Aviation Operators to begin the evaluation of the gross earnings and the level of exploitation of the 5% of all the various sales and charges listed in the Civil Aviation Act 2006 Part 12 (1) from 2015 to 2017.

The scribe of the Aviation round Table (ART) who reacted to the disparity of figures and earnings being thrown around by various government agencies stated that government in a bid to get clarity should know the gross and net earnings from the statutory charges and the losses through manipulation of figures; all of which run into billions of naira every year.

According to Ojikutu, the NCAA is tasked in the Part 12 (1) of the Act to collect on behalf of itself and four other aviation agencies, 5% charges on all the Airlines Passengers’ Ticket Sales, Air Chartered Services charges, Cargo Freight Charges etc. for the development and improvement of safety and security infrastructural systems, services and human capital development of related operations in the aviation sector.

He however alleged that the manner the regulatory agency has carried out its function in the last 10 years has not been palatable.

He said, “Unfortunately, the manner the recordings of the earnings from these statutory charges had been handled by the NCAA and its Consultants in the last 10 years and still being handled today, nobody, not even the National Assembly in its oversight responsibility of the sector, cared to know the gross and net earnings from the statutory charges and the losses too through manipulation of figures; all of which run into billions of naira every year. ”

“The other four aviation agencies, viz: NAMA, AIB, NCAT and NIMET that share the earnings from the charges in the ratio of 23%, 3%, 7%, 9% respectively, appeared to be complacent and content with whatever is given to them by the NCAA whose share is 58%. None of them appeared to have knowledge on how to assess the true or actual amount that is collected yearly from those charges. Yet they all have challenges of insufficient funds for developing and improving their infrastructures and the manpower needed to sustain their operations.”

According to him, the consequences of the manipulation of the records figures and the exploitation of the earnings by those charged or contracted by the NCAA to collect the charges and the complacency of the major shareholders of the earnings are grave on safety operations activities and services of both the government and the private operators in the sector.

He quoted,”At a Press Conference in February, 2017, the NCAA released a report that showed earnings from Airlines Ticket Sales alone for the year 2015 and 2016 as N385 billion and N330 billion respectively. These figures were not broken down to elucidate the earnings for neither international nor domestic passengers but could implied that the 5% Ticket Sales Charges (TSC) from these earnings would be about N19.25 billion and N16.5 billion respectively for 2015 and 2016. ”

“These figures are misleading when compared with the records available at the NCAA DATR on the 5% TSC for the international and domestic airlines ticket sales alone especially from January to December 2016 which was N15.1bn in naira and $23.5m in dollar or a total of N23.3bn in naira. If N23.3bn was the recorded 5% TSC on the ticket sales alone in 2016 by the NCAA DATR, the Ticket Sales Earnings therefore cannot be N330bn as presented by the NCAA at the February 2017 conference but N466bn; a difference of N136bn.”

“At the same 2017 Press Conference, the NCAA recorded passengers traffic figures of 11.4m and `11.3m for 2015& 2016 respectively are also misleading when taken against the figures of 15.2m and 14.2m recorded respectively for the same periods by FAAN “the -passengers’ -gate – keeper” at all the national airports. The NCAA also recorded 3,272,331 for each of the same years, for international passengers while the FAAN figures were 4.30m and 4.20m respectively. ”

“Similarly, for the same period, the NCAA domestic passengers’ traffic figures were 8.1m and 8.0m respectively, while FAAN recorded 10.2m and 10.9m respectively for the same period.”

“The huge difference of over 4m between FAAN and NCAA on the overall passengers figure for each of the two years and in particular the difference of over 1m in the international passengers figure are gaps of holes that made the NCAA recorded Airlines Ticket Sales earnings of N385bn and N330bn for 2015 and 2016 misleading and questionable. ”

He further pointed out that the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agents (NANTA) Air Tickets Sales earnings of N504bn in 2017 came at a time when the international outbound passengers and the domestic passengers as recorded by FAAN and NCAA Consumer Protection Unit (CPU) were 1,825,358 and 3,865,494 respectively; a decline of about 26% from the NCAA figures of 2015 and 2016.

“Relatively too, if we assume this same percentage decline in ticket sales, the earnings would have been N 681bn; still more than twice the figure of N 330bn in 2016.”

Ojikutu recommended that there is need for the five shareholders of the TSC/CSC to regularly meet, if they are not doing so now to evaluate and assess the TSC, CSC and other earnings before the sharing.

He said,”These entities should jointly or individually assess the gross earnings from the Airline Ticket Sales (both International and Domestic), Cargo Freight Sales (International and Domestic) Chartered Air Charges, Excess Baggage Charges etc; determine in particular, the percentage contribution, each of the Domestic and Foreign Airlines to the Tickets and Cargo Sales Earnings from 2015-2017; determine the 5% TSC and CSC due each, to NCAA and the 4 other shareholders viz NAMA, AIB, NCAT, NIMET.”

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