Why AON raised concerns over NCAA status–Capt. Nuhu

Capt. Musa Nuhu, DG, NCAA


Posted by Sade Williams


Director General Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu, has explained reasons why members of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), raised concerns over inability to attract the right personnel because the Authority operates under public service rules and government salary structure.

The AON had few days ago, written a letter to the Senate and asked government to remove the NCAA from the civil service structure to enable the agency attract the right personnel in order to safeguard the aviation industry.

In a separate interview at the weekend, the NCAA DG, Captain Musa Nuhu, explained that the airline operators had complained that their services which are to be rendered by the NCAA officials were being delayed but the operators were told that that there were only few inspectors which made the Authority prioritized its work.

He said the letter might have arisen out of the fear that they would lose money if the delay from the Authority persists, hence the need for them to also take it up as stakeholders in the sector.

‘’On AON letter, they came in and complained that some of their services are delayed and we explained to them that we do not have enough inspectors because they have a lot of work to do. So, we have to prioritis e the system, but if we have more hands, the work will be quite faster. And I understand the concerns of the airlines; they invested money and they don’t want delays. If you delay them, they are losing money.

‘’Let me explain that NCAA is a government agency and not an independent body; we operate under public service rules and government salary structure. We have very experienced pilots with minimum of 4,000 flying hours. That is the recommendation to be a flying instructor, but our pay is poor when compared to what the industry is paying. Our pay within the civil service structure seems to be great, but if you compare that to the closest, we need from the industry, our pay is poor. So, people will rather go and work in the industry as a captain, earn some millions of naira, than to come here and earn less than N1 million.

‘’It is normal for humans to do that. If I can work somewhere and get triple of my monthly salaries for less work, why will I go and work somewhere else? The only people that come to work for NCAA as flight operation inspectors are people who have retired from flying. People who have attained the age of 65 years or more and we employed them on special contracts and even as a special contract staff, when you get to 70 years of age, you are supposed to leave.

‘’If you employ someone who is 65 years old, it takes you about 18 months to two years to train him and by the time he’s going to function as a full inspector, he has three years to go. He has to go by age 70. This is not a very efficient system. We need to find a right balance within the senior inspectors and the younger ones so that we do not have this every four years disruption where we have to start looking for inspectors. It is very disruptive and it is not the most efficient use of resources. We certainly need the elderly people for their experience, but we need to strike the right balance.’’, he said.

Nuhu explained that the Authority needs need people who can be employed as regular staff or people who are under 50 years old and can come out to work, adding that by the time they retire at the mandatory age of 60, they can still be engaged as contract staff for another 10 years.

‘’So, you will have people who can work with you for 20 years and this promotes stability in the system.

‘’According to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) documents 9737, we are supposed to be a competitive employer, but because we are under the civil service rule, which we must comply with, I cannot compete with the airlines in the hiring of staff and in the other side, the aviation safety inspectors, they come out of school, we employ them, train them, they are here for six years and when they are about to become very productive for the system, the private sector comes and attract them with better salaries and take them away.

‘’We need to find a way of balancing this so that the system gets enough technical personnel to function. We are however, working on the government to see how things can be addressed. There is a limit we can pay. We are working with the ministry through the Honourable Minister of Aviation, Head of Service and salaries and wages commission to see how we can address this’’., he added.

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