Uche Usim, Abuja
The Minister of State, Aviation, Hadi Sirika, Thursday disclosed that pensioners of the defunct Nigeria Airways may receive their outstanding N45 billion pension arrears immediately after the Easter celebrations subject to Senate approval.
He said the government has raised money for the payment but needed to toe due process path by getting Senate’s nod before disbursement.
The Minister also unveiled transaction advisers for the concession of Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt and Kano Airports; for the establishment of a Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility, and Aerotropolis project among others.
Speaking in Abuja at the 4th Aviation Stakeholders’ Forum, Sirika said: “the House of Representatives has approved and passed the payment and the Senate says it will pass it after the Easter break. So there is no need to close down the economy of the country
“You don’t need to close the airspace. In this hard times, we have been able to raise N45 billion to pay for the pension arrears owed the workers. They worked for it and Mr President realises that. He is committed to the welfare of workers”, he explained.
The Minister’s explanation came as the aviation unions in partnership with the Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress (TUC) and United Labour Congress (ULC) on March 19, gave the Federal Government a 14-day ultimatum to pay the pension arrears or risk having the sector grounded.
The Unions decried the delay in the payment of N45 billion which they said was approved by government 10 months ago for payment of pension and other entitlement of over 5,000 workers of the defunct Nigeria Airways.
The unions added that a lot of them pensioners had died out of grief, stressing that such a development was unacceptable.
The ultimatum is expected to expire on April 2, 2018.
For the airport concession project, the lead adviser is Infrata, a UK based project consultancy firm. Another adviser is Dentons, an international law firm based in London with experience in project advisory services across both developed and emerging markets. The third adviser is Rebel that specialises in economics, feasibility, financing and transaction advisory for projects in all infrastructure.