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Alleged N12.5b debt: Arik, FAAN, NAMA get two weeks ultimatum

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Alleged N12.5b debt: Arik, FAAN, NAMA get two weeks ultimatum

Alleged N12.5b debt: Arik, FAAN, NAMA get two weeks ultimatum
April 22
06:15 2016

•Arik: we have paid over N18.9b • NCAA warns airlines over debts

The Federal Government has given the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and Arik Air two weeks to resolve all issues relating to the alleged N12.5billion debt.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika also urged concerned parties to report to him after two weeks with clear figures of how much is owed and payment plans.

The order was given in Abuja by the Minister during a meeting with the management of Arik Air, according to a statement endorsed by the Deputy Director of Press of the ministry, James Odaudu.

The Union had grounded the operation of the Arik Air over alleged 12.5 billion debts the airline owed FAAN.

The minister said: “The issue of alleged indebtedness by Arik Air which has led to disagreement with some trade unions within the regulatory agencies is highly regrettable.

“The government will not condone lawlessness within the industry. All airline operators must conform to industry rules and regulations which includes payment of applicable fees and fines as at when due.”

The minister noted that the well-being of an airline is measured by its ability to pay for services rendered to it.

“The goal of the present government is to develop an aviation industry that is founded on the principles of safety and security of not only the regulators and airline operators, but also passengers and their luggage, while also putting in place polices that would encourage the growth of domestic airlines.

“While I will go beyond my limits to ensure that domestic airlines are encouraged to grow and promoted to compete favourably with their foreign counterparts, I will not subvert applicable rules and regulations in favour of any,” Sirika said.

Earlier, the Chairman of Arik Air, Arumeni Johnson decried the impunity with which trade unions operating at the airports disrupted the operations of the airline under the guise of its indebtedness to their organisations.

Airk Air chief further explained that such practices, if not stopped by the authorities, was capable of running down the aviation industry.

Describing his airline as a responsible corporate citizen, he stated that the airline does not deserve the shabby treatment demonstrated by the unions at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.

“Is it now the duty of the union to seek payment of money owed aviation agencies? The union has clearly gone beyond its mandate and we implore the Minister to intervene,” Arumeni tsaid.

Meanwhile, Arik Air yesterday said it has paid the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) over N18.9 billion as airport charges from 2006 till date.

Its Managing Director, Mr Chris Ndulue yesterday described the disruption of its operation by FAAN workers and union members as violation of legal attempts to reconcile figures between the authority and the airline.

Ndulue said out of the N18.9 billion paid by the airline into FAAN account the, authority acknowledged N14.4 billion.

He said it is startling that FAAN could not account for the outstanding N7.5 billion that mysteriously disappeared from its account.

Also yesterday, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) directed all airlines operating in the country to forward unremitted funds accruable to the Authority without further delay.

This directive was given during a meeting in Lagos with the operators on non-remittance of five per cent ticket, cargo and charter sales charges.

Its Director-General, Capt Muhtar Usman who presided over the meeting said the directive is with regards to the five per cent TSA/TCA collected at source from the air passengers by the airlines on behalf of the Federal Government.

He said the charges were designed to enable all aviation agencies carry out their responsibilities of providing safe, secure and efficient regulatory services for the overall benefits of all aviation stakeholders.

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