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NASS probes N27bn aviation bailout

The House of Representatives Committee on Aviation is set to probe the disbursement of the N27bn palliative allocated to the aviation industry to mitigate the…

The House of Representatives Committee on Aviation is set to probe the disbursement of the N27bn palliative allocated to the aviation industry to mitigate the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This followed complaints by some airline operators and other stakeholders to the effect that they did not benefit from the bailout three months after it was disbursed.

Daily Trust reports that N5bn of the N27bn intervention was given as payroll support to airlines, ground handling operators, caterers, car hire operators, among others.

However, there is disquiet in the industry following complaints that some airlines did not benefit from the palliative while other stakeholders are asking about the whereabouts of the balance of N22bn.

But Chairman of the House Committee, Hon. Nnolim Nnaji, in a statement on Monday, said the House would investigate the disbursement of the funds.

He stated that the avalanche of concerns raised by stakeholders regarding the disbursement was too weighty to be ignored.

He noted that some airline operators had complained that despite being asked to submit their details which they did, they did not get any payment.

According to him, there was also the allegation of selective disbursements.

Honourable Nnaji assured that though the House had already adjourned for the Easter holidays, the committee would cut short its break to look into the matter because of the critical role of aviation in the overall economy of the country.

He disclosed that the House Committee on Aviation has resolved to demand from the Ministry of Aviation the detailed disbursement of the intervention fund.

He however clarified that the move was not to witch-hunt anybody “but to clear every doubt over the disbursements.

“We want to know the detailed disbursements, airline by airline, the parastatals under the ministry and other organisations,” he said.

The chairman noted that the committee was quite aware of the challenges facing the industry due to the COVID-19 impact and the genuine concerns expressed by the Minister, Senator Hadi Sirika, on the need for the Federal Government’s palliative to the industry.