By Chinelo Obogo
In a bid to close some of its infrastructural gap, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has asked to discontinue the 25% revenue contribution it makes to the federation account.
The Managing Director of the agency, Captain Rabiu Yadudu, made the appeal yesterday when the Senate Committee on Aviation came for their oversight function and he said that if the 25% contribution ends, it will ensure development if revenue generated from the sector is plowed back.
The FAAN helmsman also said that it is the revenue from only two airports; the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA) that sustains other airports. He also highlighted on the global economic challenge both national and international, which has affected airline operators causing them to reduce fleet, frequencies or totally withdraw operations thus affecting the agency’s revenue generation.
Captain Yadudu further decried the still rising operating and maintenance cost of the new terminals and existing ones due to inflation and the devaluation of the Naira but stressed that FAAN is tweaking its plans to make other airports that are not breaking even to perform. He also said the airport managers have embarked on an aggressive debt recovery drive while it has introduced a pay as you Go system and has also commenced cashless policy among other loophole blockage areas. Yadudu decried debt of airlines to FAAN where he said a particular airline owes N13 billion for services rendered and unpaid for.
“On the capacity and contribution of airports to revenue generation, it is the MMIA and Abuja that mainly supports other airports. The industry is still having infrastructural gap to stabilise, therefore, government’s support in stabilising the industry is needed. This can be achieved by suspending the contributions to the Federation Account in compliance with ICAO standards and recommended practices (SARPs) Doc 9562 on airport generation which provides that: Revenue generated by the airport should be transparently re-invested wholly in operating and developing airport facilities,” he said.
Reacting to the FAAN boss’ call for exemption from contribution into the federation account, Chairman Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Smart Adeyemi said the idea was commendable however the issue was constitutional and would need a review to achieve.
“The MD has been talking to us on aviation, especially FAAN, to be able to keep a good percentage of its resources generated internally. I have nothing against that for me; I feel it is good to keep so to be able to carry out the ever increasing need to maintain standards and to update the facilities of the industry but again these are issues that border on constitutional provisions as money must be appropriated for,”Adeyemi said.
He commended the managing director and the Minister for works done on runways like that of Enugu and Abuja but stressed that emphasis needs to be put on airports that have not had any form of rehabilitation since established especially those in need of refurbishing.
He said” “I was happy when we went to Enugu and saw the improvements and commissioned that runway and I want to commend the Minister of Aviation and yourself for the commendable rehabilitation of Enugu runway but of course, there are quite a lot of airports that we need to start looking at budget inclusion for next year.
“We will not wait till there is a mishap before we start looking at fixing the runways which are in bad shape, a number of them since they were constructed, their runway has not been touched and at times when you land on some of these airports you don’t need to be a pilot to know that the plane will not maintain a balance.”