NCAA, airlines agree on N22bn debt recovery plan
Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) said it has reached a compromise with local airline operators on a favourable plan to recover N22 billion owed by the carriers.
The apex regulatory body told members of the House of Representatives on an oversight function in Lagos that the measure was to ensure debt payment without an upset in the finances of the airlines.
Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, had recently disclosed that the local airlines’ total indebtedness to the regulatory agencies stood at N22 billion.
A breakdown showed the sum of N19.37 billion and $6, 993, 284 million (N2.7 billion) is unremitted Ticket Sales Charge (TSC) and Cargo Sales Charge (CSC) collected on behalf of the NCAA, the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET), Nigeria College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) and the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB).
Director General (DG) of the NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu, said the regulator understands the difficulty brought by the pandemic and would institute a payment plan that would be favourable to both the agency and operators.
Nuhu noted that between now and 2024, the NCAA would be developing offices in different regions to reduce the cumbersomeness of regulation. It would be upgrading its human capacity to ensure that the regulatory agency reaches all nooks and crannies of the country.
He said: “We are empowering five regional offices to ensure that jobs in smaller areas get done without referring to Lagos or Abuja. Opening more regional offices in the far reaches of the country bring regulations closer to operators outside Lagos and Abuja.”
The DG also explained that training for the inspectors and other regulatory staff was key to the agency and that the NCAA was competing for manpower, especially pilots and engineers, with airlines that pay better.
Nuhu, however, said it was key because these inspectors with the CAA needed more training to be better and at par with the trends in the industry. So, the only way to retain these pilots and engineers was to make the remuneration nearly at par with that of the airlines to keep them.
The Chairman House Committee on Aviation, Nnolim Nnaji, said the House was on its oversight function and would look at what the NCAA had done and intended to do with the fund allocated to the agency.