Nigeria risks 300, 000 jobs if foreign airlines stop operation-NANTA
The National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies, NANTA has disclosed that the country is at the risk of loosing about 300, 000 jobs if the foreign airlines stop flying into Nigeria
This is coming as anxiety continue to mount over the $591 million foreign airlines money trapped in Nigerian banks.
Speaking during a press conference at the NANTA House in Lagos, the president of NANTA, Mr. Bankole Benard appealed to the airlines not to rush in withdrawing their services as it will further deepen the current crisis which will affect 300, 000 jobs in the aviation sector, both upstream and down stream.
Bankole stated that the development is going to affect every body, both the travel agencies, government and the general public, stressing that if a ticket that supposed to be issued in Nigeria is issued in Ghana, the government will loose money.
“The government is equally losing revenue to neighbouring countries as tickets can be purchased from outside the country and once that is done, the taxes on such tickets will not go to the government through the withholding tax which they would have benefited from such transaction,” Bankole said.
While calling on the government to resolve the matter quickly, Bankole noted that the aviation industry contributes to the country’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP.
NANTA boss observed that if the industry is allowed to go down, it will affect the country as it will lead to more job loss like what is happening in the banking industry.
He said that the federal government has already instructed the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN to come up with a flexible foreign exchange policy that will assist airlines to repatriate their funds.
NANTA boss stated that he is trying to build on what the previous executives have done.
“We want to open a new channel for NANTA and make ourselves to be known in the market and establish good working relationship with government,” Bankole said.
He explained that the new executive is restructuring the secretariat by ensuring that members data are centralised, in talks with Association of South African Travel Agents, ASATA, Association of Kenya Travel Agencies, and others to help the industry get better, including a visit to the International Air Transport Association, IATA to forge a good working relationship with the body.
He stressed that, “we need to project ourselves as professionals, there is going to be a lot of training with the full support of the airlines, we are setting up training committees to make sure that our members are professionals”.
Bankole added that the body has met with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA and the permanent secretary Federal Ministry of Transport with a view of resolving the problem of the trapped foreign airlines money.
Bankole said this phase will surely come to an end as the minister of state for aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika is resilient in resolving the issue.
He disclosed further that most European Airlines, like British Airways, Air France KLM, Lufthansa are still selling tickets in naira, though for higher class tickets while few others are still asking for dollars like Delta Airlines and United airlines that has left.
Bankole stressed that there is need to continue selling ticket in naira or to patronise African airlines and to travel to African destinations.
Reading out NANTA’s position at the press briefing, the national treasurer, Zackary Abdulllahie also urged the federal government and her aviation agencies like the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA and the NCAA to collect all aviation taxes, fee in local currency to reduce the naira exposure the government has with the airlines.
He also appealed to their foreign trade partners to consider re-introducing other economy classes, even if it is at a higher fare, adding that It will be preferable to Nigerian passengers.
Abdulllahie used the medium to plead with their members to desist from dollar sales and to stand together as one and probably move business from those airlines that have insisted on selling in dollar to those that permit them to sell in naira, while he enjoined the airlines to be more patience with the unfriendly business environment.
Picture 1 Caption:
L-R: National publicity secretary NANTA, Olumuyiwa A. Salami, National president of NANTA, Bankole Benard and national treasurer, Zackary Abdulllahie at the NANTA press briefing held at the NANTA house in Lagos on Friday June 10th.