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40% IGR remittances: Aviation agencies risk being incapacitated – Unions

Five major aviation unions in the country have called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to stop the 40 per cent deductions from the Internally....

Five major aviation unions in the country have called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to stop the 40 per cent deductions from the Internally Generated Revenues (IGRs) of the aviation agencies.

This, they said, was to enable them to carry out their jobs maximally.

Daily Trust reports that the Finance Act 2022 increased the IGR deductions from 25 to 40 per cent.

But some of the agencies have kicked against the 25 per cent deduction, which they said hampered their activities.

A former Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Capt Rabiu Yadudu, while demanding the stoppage last year for the authority, said that was in line with the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAOs) Standard and Recommended Practices (SARPs) Doc 9562 on airport generation which provided that: “Revenue generated by the airport should be transparently re-invested wholly in operating and developing airport facilities.”

However, rather than halting it, the Finance Act jerked up the remittances to 40 per cent, cutting across all the agencies.

But the unions, including the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE); Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN); Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP); National Association of Aircraft Pilot and Engineers (NAAPE) and Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), warned that the deductions might render the agencies incapacitated.

The unions also asked the president to address the issue of staff Conditions of Service (CoS) in the aviation agencies, saying some of them had been operating without valid CoS for many years.

They made this known in a letter dated June 19, 2023, addressed to President Tinubu and copied to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation; Head of Service of the Federation; Ministry of Aviation; Ministry of Labour and Employment; Chairman, Salaries and Wages Commission and DG Budget Office.

The unions said their plea was to avert imminent danger that would befall the aviation sector in the event that the aviation agencies became incapacitated and unable to render their safety-related functions.

According to them, even the full financial accruals of the agencies are grossly inadequate in meeting the financial obligations of the agencies, and are normally supplemented by the federal government on an annual basis.

The letter reads in part: “It is important to note that all the aviation agencies are mere cost recovery organisations and absolutely non-profit. Therefore, deduction of a whole 40 per cent from their financial accruals is akin to removal of life support from the agencies.

“On the basis of the foregoing, we humbly request Your Excellency to exempt aviation agencies from the deductions in order to preserve the vital safety functions of the same agencies without which the industry will collapse with its catastrophic impact on the national economy.”

“We feel restrained by the fact of the newness of your administration, and the likelihood of misinterpretation of any strike action against the government in our airports at this critical point in time. On the other hand we are under severe pressure to secure amelioration of this impasse by the long suffering of the affected workers.”

On their CoS upon which they shut down the airports recently, the unions said they had protested over the matter for the past decade to no avail, adding that despite several interventions by the then Minister of Aviation and then Minister of Labour, the other federal agencies had remained unperturbed about the issue.

The letter was jointly signed by Principal Deputy General Secretary, ATSSSAN, Comrade Frances Akinjole; General Secretary, NUATE, Comrade Ocheme Aba; Secretary General, ANAP, Comrade Abdul Rasaq Saidu; Deputy General Secretary, NAAPE, Comrade Umoh Ofonime; and General Secretary, AUPCTRE, Comrade Sikiru Wahab.

Industry stakeholders said it was important for the government to consider halting the remittances to save the industry from collapse.

Capt Alex Nwuba, President of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), said the 40 per cent must be halted.

But another aviation stakeholder, Babatunde Adeniji, said, “We need to have access to the agency’s accounts to know what’s really happening.

“Regardless, agencies must contribute their fair quota once a fair quota is determined.

“FAAN is not an efficiently run organisation. Four airports feed 23 others…If the other unviable 23 airports were asked to fend for themselves, do you think it will still be too much?”

 

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