The chairman House of Representatives Committee on aviation, Honourable Nnolim Nnaji has assured the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN of support in recovering of its huge debt owed by Arik and Aero Contractor who are now under the management of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON
Nnaji said that as members of parliament and stakeholders in the aviation industry, they will not allow FAAN to bear the debt burden alone.
Speaking in an interview after their oversight visit to FAAN to inspect some of its facilities at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, Nnaji stated that the committee is going to help the authority to pursue this.
In his words: “We will not allow FAAN to carry the burden alone, we are definitely going to pursue it, we are lucky that we have members in this committee who are also members of the finance committee and others that have direct bearing on debt recovery, these members will come together and see it as a huge burden on us to support FAAN in this aspect.
He noted that FAAN needs funding like every other agency in the aviation sector to carry out its fuctions effectively as all the projects they plan to embark upon, the budgetary allocation and the IGR cannot carry them.
Nnaji explained that: “ As part of our plea to the federal government as a way of helping FAAN in the area of aviation infrastructure, the 25 percent remittance by FAAN to the federal government, the FG can find a way to create a consolidated account where this 25 percent will be remitted to and create a 10 year developmental plan on how to improve their infrastructure. It is not just about the budgetary allocation alone, this 10 year plan can enable them to carry out a project that can live beyond a managing director and executive directors, MD and ED. The problems we are having is that an MD and EDs will come and create their programme. But if we have a plan that involve the federal government through the ministry of finance, budget ministry and the other agencies will form part of the consolidated account so that whatever project that is coming will live beyond the management of FAAN”.
He said the House will ensure that the FAAN Amendment bill sent by the President will be passed on time with the commencement of the public hearing on it early next year.
Nnaji stated that the security situation in the country today is worrisome that a lot of people has chosen to travel by air, stressing that this is an opportunity for the country to improve on the facilities an the airports.
He frowned at the poor state of headquarters of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN in Lagos.
Nnaji said the FAAN headquarters is very poor considering its huge investment profile and the projects it is undertaking.
In his welcome address earlier, the managing director of FAAN, Capt. Rabiu Hamisu Yadudu decried the impact of government policy of waiving 65percent of gross revenue accruing from annual pilgrimage operations which amounts to between $3Million – $4Million on an annual basis on the authority.
Capt Yadudu stated that this amount is not passed on to the passengers but to the airlines.
Enumerating other constraints the organisation is facing, the FAAN MD noted that the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos (MMIA) and Nnnmdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja mainly sustain other Airports in the country.
Yadudu stated further that the bottlenecks and delays in review of rates/tariff on its services is also part of the constraint FAAN is facing, stressing that the last time the Authority reviewed her charges was in 2011 over seven years ago which obviously requires realignment with current realities.
He pointed out that court cases and litigations instituted against the Authority is also hampering the growth of the organisation, adding that some of the litigations resulted in judgement debts which the Authority had to defray.
The FAAN boss said both national and international economic challenges affected airline operators which made them to reduce fleets, frequencies or totally withdrew operations.
He listed other challenges to include, debts arising from revenue generation like that of Arik and Aero, including the rising operating and maintenance cost of the new terminals and existing ones due to inflation and devaluation of the Naira.
He solicited for government support in collecting AMCON related debts such as Arik and Aero.
He outlined some of their achievements to include certification of two airports: “Currently two of the international airports (Lagos and Abuja) in Nigeria have been certified while effort to certify others are on-going. Construction of series of brand new terminals with ultra-modern facilities, in our five International airports of MMIA, Lagos; Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, NAIA, Abuja; Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, MAKIA, Kano; Port-Harcourt International Airport and Akanu Ibiam International Airport, AIIA, Enugu. Abuja and Port Harcourt are already commissioned, while the three others are to be completed and commissioned soon.
“Remodelling of FAAN training school and subsequent Certification as a training Institute, Improvement of Runway End Safety Area at MMIA, Lagos, repair of Runway and Apron at MMIA, provision of Transit Lounge and hotel at MMIA, construction of General Aviation Terminal at Wing D Abuja airport, rehabilitation of Runway at Abuja Airport, upgrade and Rehabilitation of Kaduna airport terminal Building, direct Procurement of Solar Power Airfield Lighting Systems at Ten (10) airports among others”.