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How airlines, support firms shared N5bn bailout

Details have emerged on how a N5 billion bailout to the aviation industry has been shared among airlines and other supporting firms. Daily trust learnt…

Details have emerged on how a N5 billion bailout to the aviation industry has been shared among airlines and other supporting firms.

Daily trust learnt that the operators are expecting another N22bn facility to boost aviation recovery and development after being hardly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Daily Trust reports that the sum of N27bn was initially approved for the industry by the Economic Sustainability Committee headed by the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.

The N27bn for the industry, according to the committee has a project elements which include: to extend grant support including payroll support to the aviation industry including airlines, handlers, caterers and related services; provision of single digit soft loans, with long term repayment plan; deferred payment of taxes and filing dates.

However, the Federal Government last week released a N5bn bailout for airlines, ground handling firms, car hire firms among others, which sources say forms the payroll support component of the intervention fund.

Out of the N5bn, airlines got N4bn while the others got N1bn. Analysis of the N4bn received by airlines, shows that five per cent was deducted as part payment of the debt being owed aviation agencies including the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).

It was learnt that the sharing formula was agreed upon with the various committees set up by the Ministry of Aviation.

The details of the disbursement sighted by our correspondent showed that scheduled airline operators including Air Peace, Arik Air, Azman Air, Aero Contractors, Med-View, Dana Air, Overland got N2.8bn after the 5% deduction while non-scheduled operators got N950m.

All the ground handling firms got N233.3 million; catering service providers, N233.3m; National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA) N196m; Aviation Fuel Marketers also got N233.3m while the airport car hire operators got N100m.

Speaking with our correspondent, former Secretary General of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Comrade Olayinka Abioye lauded the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika who facilitated the palliative distribution.

He however made case for workers of the airlines that have been sacked.

“Some workers had been sacked, some declared no longer needed and some were asked to stay at home. What are the consequential benefits that will accrue to these workers and those who had the privilege of being at work but performing tasks of more than three staff?

“I also understand that about 25billion is reserved for Aviation. What will happen to the outstanding balance, given the unfortunate cash situation of government agencies?”

Also speaking, a Former military commandant at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, Group Capt. John Ojikutu, said the palliative was not well defined.

“When we were all asking for the palliatives for the airlines, in our estimations, what purpose were the palliatives to serve? Most of the airlines now sharing the financial palliatives, intervention or bailouts are indebted to the government aviation agencies; the minister said this much to the NASS two chambers committees on aviation that the airlines are owning government agencies over #22bn.”

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