The Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, has said his agency borrowed from the Federal Government through the Ministry of Aviation to ensure that sstaff salaries were paid during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an interview with Arise TV yesterday, Akinkuotu explained that the due to negative impact of the pandemic on the aviation sector, revenue generation was at an all time low, hence the agency resort to borrowing in order to pay salaries. He also expressed optimism that the industry will make full recovery by 2023.
On the issue of bail out for the industry, he said it was still being discussed at the ministry level as impact assessment was still being carried out.
“The limited international flights that would come in would not be enough to cover our operational costs but we would be cautious to ensure that we what we have goes round. Part of what is needed in any circumstance is to be frugal with your funds. We never have enough, so what we have, we make good efforts to make do with it by spending judiciously. We have had to go over our immediate funding system to pay salaries. We got help from the Federal Government, as the Minister of Aviation, Captain Hadi Sirika was very nice and gracious enough to ensure that our workforce got paid so the government must be commended.
“Even as we speak, there are people who don’t come to work or who were asked not to come to work but they are being paid. So, the issue of our taking a loan from the government was to ensure that our workers were paid, whether or not they have worked. We want to be able to provide for them and make sure that when they come back to work, they are able to perform optimally without thinking about their financial situation and their homes so that they can concentrate on their jobs.
“The issue of bail out is being addressed by the minister of aviation and he is more than capable of addressing the issues of how the bailout will be structured. What he has said is that efforts are being made to look at the impact of COVID on the industry. Akinkuotu said.
In a related development, the agency has created 9 new Performance Based Navigation (PBN) Area Navigation 10 (RNAV10) regional routes across the nation’s airspace.