Posted by Sade Williams
The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has warned all airline operators to comply with the cashless payment policy of the Federal government in a bid to ensure transparency in revenue generation and management.
To this effect and in total compliance with the presidential directive on the implementation of Treasury Single Account (TSA), the NAMA held a sensitization forum with agents and representatives of operators of non-scheduled flights in the country on the imperative of the TSA regime of the Buhari administration.
The event, which took place at NAMA headquarters in Lagos, was targeted among other things at dialoguing with operators and fashioning out ways to address their concerns arising from the process of adjusting to the new cashless payment system since it came into operation last year.
In his remarks, the Managing Director of NAMA, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu said there was no going back on the federal government cashless policy and that it was an executive pronouncement that demanded total compliance from all stakeholders.
He appealed to non-scheduled operators to “embrace the new initiative as the entire world is going cashless,” assuring them that the new system would yield positive results that would benefit the entire industry.
“This is an innovation that would not only improve and sanitize the nation’s financial system but also ensure accountability and transparency in the long run. If we desire an aviation industry that is globally competitive, we have to imbibe global best practices,” Akinkuotu said, adding that the associated risk and needless exposure associated with the old system of carrying cash around has ensured that it was no longer fashionable.
Explaining further, the NAMA helmsman said as contained in the directive, all financial transactions with the agency must be done through monetary transfers only into the NAMA TSA account domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), stressing that the era of paying cash to Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) for onward delivery to the CBN had become history.
Speaking on behalf of the non-scheduled operators in attendance, the Managing Director of Sunrise International Air Support Ltd, Mr. Sunny Ebisue expressed gratitude to NAMA for organizing such a forum, saying that the event had shed more light on some of the grey areas that attended the new payment system.
He however called on the agency to sustain such interaction with operators in order to keep them abreast with new developments.
It will be recalled that the federal government in a circular from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation dated 7th of November, 2018 issued a final warning to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and other government entities to desist from maintaining accounts with DMBs without approval from the President, saying that all affected federal government owned and controlled MDAs and other entities must close all remaining DMB accounts, whether in local or foreign currency and transfer the balances to the individual TSA sub-account of the entity domiciled at the CBN.
As part of the resolutions made at the end of the meeting, operators or their representatives are to each open and fund a domiciliary account with which to effect all financial transactions with NAMA through monetary transfers to the agency’s sub-account with the CBN using a smart phone.
On the other hand a representative can open a domiciliary account, transfer an amount of foreign currency in advance into NAMA account at CBN to enable the agency debit that balance anytime the operator needs the agency’s services.