…AIB urges unions to work with Govt
By Sade Williams
The Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP) and Nigeria Union Of Pensioners (NUP), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), branch have kicked against the 5 percent of Passenger Service Charge (PSC) by Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) ceded to the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), saying it contravenes the law.
The union in a letter addressed to the President and Commander in Chief, Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, and dated 7th July, 2017, also stated that ‘Aviation minister, Hadi Sirika’s position on airport concession, 5% FAAN Passengers Service Charge (PSC) to AIB are not in line with the government’s change agenda’.
While alleging that the minister has done nothing to review some issues as they relate to concession, the unions in the letter jointly signed by the Secretary General of ANAP, Abdul Rasaq Saidu and the NUP General Secretary, Emeka Njoku further added: “We have vehemently told him Capital NO because, about 80% of FAAN IGR were forcefully put under the highly questionable concessional agreements by the former managements under the supervision of former Administration and we thought that with the change in policy the Hon. Minister of State, Aviation Hadi Sirika, should have upwardly reviewed these agreements upon his resumption”.
The unions however advised the minister to cancel previous arrangement and allow FAAN staff and officials to collect the revenue accruing from Advertising Bill Boards throughout Nigeria airports; collection of fees from toll gates and car parks; fuel surcharges; shop rents and VIP Lounges etc,
On 5% FAAN PSC approded for AIB, the unions said “While we are not against the commissioner for requesting for more funds for AIB, we saw the approval and directive of 5% PSC of FAAN to AIB as an abuse of office by the Minister of State, Aviation. Government owned companies, parastatals and agencies etc, were established through enabling Acts, stating how funds or revenue could be provided. It is therefore dangerous now, trying to unlawfully rob FAAN to pay AIB, when both were established by law stipulating their source of funding”.
According to them, yearly budgets are being prepared and defended by both FAAN and AIB based on individual IGR and have obtained approval before appropriation.
They therefore, stated that ‘for the minister to direct FAAN to be remitting 5% from monthly PSC without due process of law amounts to an outright illegality on the part of the Minister of State and shall also result into threat to safety and security for which FAAN is statutorily empowered’.
“We are aware that the United Nations charter on Aircraft accident investigation does not allow AIB to charge for services rendered as IGR and this is the reason why 3% of total revenue derived from Ticket Sales Charges (TSC) in addition to their yearly budgetary Federal Government allocation are the source for funding AIB by the Federal Government”, the union stated’.
Having critically looked into the reasons given by the commissioner/CEO of AIB for requesting for more funds, the unions stated that such demand, may be feasible ‘but not from the overburdened FAAN’.
“With the numerous operational financial needs of FAAN, knowing fully well that the Federal Government does not fund FAAN unless Capital Projects Approved by FEC, the Hon. Minister of State’s 5% approval and directive that FAAN should be paying AIB is to us an attempt to cripple FAAN like was done to the then Nigeria Airways.
“Senator Hadi Sirika knew very well that FAAN is being owed huge sums of revenue by Airlines and concessionaires as a result of impunity and corrupt tendencies perpetuated under the former Administration and this should have become his concern to ensuring that FAAN debtors pay for the services enjoyed by them but all to no avail”.
Meanwhile, the AIB has called on all trade unions to work with government in order to improve the lot of the sector.
The Bureau said rather than hit up the polity, the unions should see reasons with AIB and cooperate with government as both FAAN and AIB were government Agencies that must be sustained.
According to Tunji Oketunbi, AIB’s spokesperson: “Five percent of the PSC is what we were are talking about, the two organisations are government’s and government has the responsibility to sustain both. Rather than hitting up the polity, the trade unions should work for the advancement of the sector. FAAN can increase charges, NCAA can increase charges but AIB has no revenue.
“As it is, government believes that it has the responsibility that AIB does not collapse because it is not generating revenue, the process of readjusting the Ticket Sales Charge is ongoing but cumbersome, we need to support one another to ensure that the industry is evenly developed”, he said.