By Chinelo Obogo, Lagos
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) on Tuesday sealed some offices belonging to Aero Contractors following the airline’s non remittance of about N350 million in taxes.
Daily Sun gathered that after a debt review by FIRS, the offices of the airline’s managing director, finance, legal and human resource department were sealed.
Daily Sun gathered that the tax agency had written to Aero several times over its old and new debt but the airline didn’t respond to any of its letters. The debt consists of remittances before and after the airline was taken over by Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria ( AMCON) and placed under receivership.
Another source stated that the airline had paid N50million of the debt last year but the FIRS still came without notification and sealed some offices.
When reached for comments, a airline of the airline said: “As a veteran in this industry you should be blasting FIRS for sealing a company owned by the Federal Government based on pre receivership debts.”
Last week, the Air Transport Employees(NUATE) and the Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) alleged that there are plans to liquidate the airline and dispose of its assets.
The unions also accused the management of the airline of planning to cut down its staff strength by 40 percent without first negotiating terms of redundancy despite its inability to complete redundancy payment of those it asked to stay home since 2016.
The unions alleged that the airline signed a phony lease contract which operated at a total loss as only three seats out of a 180-seater aircraft at N35,000 each was given to the airline, while the rest went to the financier no matter the category of fare charged.
The unions also questioned the rationale behind seconding one Mr. Charles Johnson Arumeme from Arik to Aero, whom they say was responsible for drawing up the lease contract which negatively affected the airlines revenue and caused it to owe staff for up to three months.
But the airline responded to the union’s allegations saying it is at a loss why its staff, knowing the challenges airlines are facing in the current operating environment are always in a haste to compromise confidential information to the public and make it an issue of discussion.
“We are at a loss why the staff, knowing the challenges airlines are facing in the current operating environment are always in a haste to compromise confidential information to the public and make it an issue of discussion.
“On the High 5A’s, every partnership was done with the aim of improving the revenues of the airline, particularly in relation to our unserviceable equipments and ensuring standard customer service. The question is what was our revenue before, during and after the exit of High 5As? They should please respond,” the airline said.