Senate Rejects N5 Billion Bailout For Airline Operators, Others

NEWSMAN, Abuja – Nigerian Senate has rejected the offer of N5 billion as bailout for airline operators and other businesses in the aviation sector; saying the amount is grossly inadequate to relief the impact of Covid-19 on the industry.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Smart Adeyemi who made a case for bailout for airline operators in Nigeria was quick to add that what government was offering as bailout was too little to make any meaningful impact.

Aviation minister, Hadi Sirika had informed the Senate Panel about Federal Government’s plan to provide N4 billion for airline operators and another N1billion for other business owners in the aviation sector as part of its intervention to cushion the effects of Covid-19 pandemic.

Siraki said government’s decision was based on the recognition of the pivotal role of the aviation sector to the Nigerian economy.

Adeyemi however maintained that the bailout for the airline operators is a far cry from what will be required for them to finance aircraft maintenance and retain their workers.

” I do not think that N4 is what we are talking about. I think the FG should give the industry all the attention it deserves; . substantive support. N4 billion is not enough. Yes you might say they are in business; but their business is the soul of our economy”, he said.

Adeyemi further advised government to provide sufficient bail out to the airline operators to avoid them “cutting corners” in their operations.

“Such bail out will ensure they (airline operators) don’t cut corners; the implication of which is better imagined”, he said.

Responding, the Minister said the Federal Government will require the backing of the Senate for necessary Apropriation in that regards in the 2021 budget.

The conversation was as the Senate Committee on Aviation on Monday began a 3-day public hearing on six executive bills aimed at fine-tuning regulatory issues as well as effective management of agencies in the Nigerian Aviation industry.

Major are the twin bills for an Act to repeal and enact the Civil Aviation Act, 2006 and the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology Act 2010.

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan who was represented by the Deputy Leader; Robert Ajayi Boroffice said the six bills are consistent with current efforts by government to improve standards in the aviation industry.

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