There’ll be no sacred cow in recovering debt from airlines, others, says Amaechi



Rotimi Amaechi, Transportation Minister said on Wednesday that nobody would be spared or referred to as untouchable in a new drive to recover debts owed to Federal government by airlines, concessionaires and other organisations.


While speaking at the Murtala Muhammed Airport after inspecting facilities, he said he does not believe in what people referred to as bad debt, adding that they all would be recovered as long as they collected the money from passengers.


“There will be no sacred cow in recovering debt owed to government, there is nothing like bad debt, I believe they were offered services and passengers pay for flights, all would be recovered”, he said.


The airlines, both defunct and existing debt to Aviation Agencies is running to several billions of naira.


Several threats and ultimatums issued by the Agencies seemed to yield little or no fruit.


Meanwhile, the Minister has explained why government was yet to implement the waiver granted to airlines on aircraft importation.


According to him, the current government is currently reviewing all waivers granted under the the immediate past government, adding it was discovered that the policy was abused.


“Airlines may have to wait till the outcome of the review of all waivers granted in recent past. The review became necessary because they were abused”, he added.


Amaechi, who said safety and security is the watchword of this administration, revealed that the new terminals in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port-Harcourt, would be completed by December 2016.


Government had in about two years, ago,  got $500 million from the Chinese bank for the construction of five new terminals to ease congestion at the current ones.


He said on Wednesday that the new terminal in Lagos when completed, would handle about 30 million passengers per annum, together with the new one.


“We have said it, take us for our words, those terminals would be delivered as promised, we will not also toy with anything that will jeopardise safety, we will look for money to get safety and security in force”, he said.


Amaechi, also asked the agencies to resist “commercial pressure that will jeopardise safety  from any company, adding that if any organisation refuses to work within the ambit of Nigeria Civil Aviation regulations and International Civil Aviation Organisation, it will face the wrath of the law’.


While insisting that that there is need to encourage more private participation in the Aviation sector, he said part of the new plans is to look at what can be concessioned or what can be privatised to ease government of a whole lot of burden.


Also speaking, Hadi Sirika, Minister of State for Aviation,  said government is currently studying the report of the committee on national carrier, expressing belief that if such is established, several jobs would be created, apart from training and access to maintenance facilities.


He said funding was not the main problem of the airlines but accessibility to required training and other necessary facilities and environment that could be created with the presence of a national carrier.


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