Demuren flays FG for signing BASA’s without capacity for reciprocity
Former director general of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr. Harold Demuren has stated that the signing of numerous Bilateral Air Services Agreement , BASA by the federal government without equal capacity for reciprocity by Nigerian carriers is good politics and bad economics.
Speaking during a breakfast meeting organised by Aviation Round Table (ART) at Ikeja Lagos, Dr. Demuren explained that the country do not have what it takes to compete with the well established strong carrier in terms of resources and even personnel on the routes.
Commenting of the recent BASA agreement signed by President Muhammadu Buhari in Qatar, the former director general of NCAA noted that Nigeria cannot gain anything meaningful from such agreement.
He explained that it was because of the lack of what Nigeria could gain from BASA agreement that the NCAA had to introduce the five percent Ticket Sales Charge (TSC) so that the government will gain something.
Demuren said for him, he would prefer if that charge was increased to 10 percent so that the additional five percent will go into government coffers.
According to Demuren, even the royalties and taxes that were levied on the foreign airlines because of the inability of Nigerian carriers to favourably compete in the BASA deal were also removed due to political reasons .
He lamented that this new policies of government is killing the country and the aviation industry.
The former NCAA boss added that it was the accumulation of the TSC, royalties and charges that constitute the BASA funds that was domiciled in NCAA .
“In the day of Nigerian Airways, those foreign airline used to pay 180 dollars to Nigerian Airways per passenger for the extra frequencies into the country.
It is good politics to sign BASA agreement but most of the times, it is bad politics because Nigeria is not really fit to compete with the other countries. Again when Nigerian Airways was still operational, we could say that we did compete a little but right now that we cannot compete effectively, the government still went ahead to cancel the royalties and taxes, so we don’t even get anything from BASA fund”, he said .
Demuren continued that :”The two countries must benefit from it, it should not be one sided because they are advanced than us, so we should do it to see how we can make money from it. You must ne strong to do this, you cannot be operating from a weak side. You cannot be wrong supporting your own”.
He observed that the problem with the NCAA autonomy is that of political interference from the government.
He said though this may not be related to Nigeria alone, but that political interference by the government is milittating against good policy implementation where rules have to be bent for political reasons.
In his remarks at the event, former director of operations Nigerian Airways, Captain Prekemi Porbeni stated that getting foreign airlines to come into Nigeria without any reciprocity was unacceptable.
Captain Porbeni said: “Getting foreign airlines to come here without reciprocity is not acceptable, the local airline should be implore to take part in it, we did it before. Even we can use the equipment of the foreign airline to do the same flight when it is using frequency, it is an indirect co-share”