By Chinelo Obogo
Federal Government may imprison or placed a N5,000,000 fine or both on directors of airlines who fail to remit ticket sales and cargo sales charges(TSC/CSC) to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
These provisions are in the reviewed Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Civil Aviation Act 2022 which has been passed into law.
The law guiding remittances of the 5% airfare, contract, TSC/CSC is meant to stop the over N19bn debt and $7.8bn accrued over the years as debt to the regulatory agency.
Director General of the NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu who spoke to aviation reporters in a zoom meeting today, said areas in the new Act that has been signed by President Muhammadu Buhari and gazetted will strengthen the industry
The new Act may delegate powers to collect the charges to the airlines and by regulation prescribe the manner and time for making remittances of funds collected on its behalf.
On remittance, Nuhu said: “CAA Section 23(10) came about as a direct response to our parents experience in the past to collect those funds and those funds if collected can be used to train, add infrastructure for the industry. To collect some those funds, we have entered MoUs with airlines to get them to pay as part of the renewal process for their AOCs and everything else you must reach an agreement for the payment of all outstanding debt. ”
The Act which come with the additional checks is meant to stop debt to the Authority incurred by airlines, some of whom have refused to remit these funds held in trust.
As at August 2022, the debt of domestic airlines to the CAA was put at N19bn and US$7.8 million which has accrued over the last few decades, the funds have become a challenge for the CAA to collect as remittances are made using force.
Meanwhile, the DG while responding to issues of validity of Air Operators Certificates (AOC) and complaints for stakeholders said, “We have listened to the industry over the years, we are not adverse to improvement or changes. We are in the process of reviewing the re-validity of the AOC issued to the industry.
“For scheduled operators we extend from two years to five years then unscheduled operators those are the charters’ we are looking to extend it to three years so that we can accommodate the concerns of the industry.
“It automatically extends re-validity to give years for scheduled and three for unscheduled. Of course there are other changes and conditions. A fee for AOC now is N200,000 that’s just a return ticket from Kano to Abuja and countries like Ghana pay US$250000 and the effort the authority puts in the process from the preliminary to phase 2, phase 3,4 and 5 is a lot of you quantify it in financial terms is a lot. So we are going to look at that.
“The fee for the AOC will depend on the complexity of the operations and I think the five years gives a breather for the airlines and also on the part of the NCAA, it gives us a breather from paperwork from every two years to five years and also free us to do other oversight functions such as surveillance,” he said.