Minister of Aviation, Mrs Stella Oduah
By Chinedu Eze
The Federal Government has earned over N16 billion ($100,874,918.00) in seven-and-a-half years from the payment of royalties accruable to the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) signed between Nigeria and countries which airlines fly into Nigeria without reciprocal flights from local carriers.
BASA is an agreement which two nations sign to allow international commercial air transport services between their territories.
A report of the BASA account made available to THISDAY by Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) sources showed that between January 2005 and June 2012, the country earned over N16 billion from international scheduled passenger airlines and cargo operators.
The amount was arrived at after the reconciliation of the account carried out by the Ministry of Aviation and NCAA for the stated period.
Details of the account revealed an opening balance as at January 6, 2005 of $5,910,737.70, but when receipts from January 2005 to June 30, 2012 amounting to $94,964,180.30 were added, the total accruable to the account rose to $100,874,918.00.
A breakdown showed that payments were made during the period by KLM – $19,360,200.00; Alitalia – $172,320.00; Air France – $6,795,983.78; Emirates – $8,498,015.00; Lufthansa – $13,531,715.00; Middle East Airlines – $1,042,374.00; Israel Aero Space – $9,167.00; and Intertek – $22,940.00, totalling $49,387,714.78.
Also, there were receipts into the account without the identities of the payees, which amounted to $18,267,417.36; a transfer from the old account into the BASA account as at October 16, 2008 of $24,976,768.00 and interest that accrued into the account during the seven-and-a-half-year period of $2,332,279.03, amounting to $45,576,465.52.
The report, which was signed by Deputy Director, Accounts, Federal Ministry of Aviation, Ishaya Awotu, and the General Manager, Finance/Accounts, NCAA, Jibayo Akinshipe, further presented deductions from the accruals.
The deductions include 2005 payments to the Office of Accountant General of a$468,945.00; 2006 payment at OAGF – $641,060.63; 2008 direct debit – $687.01; 2009 direct debit – $16,833.94; 2009 Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) charges – $230.00; 2010 CBN charges – 275.00; and 2012 payments for the rehabilitation and modernisation of 11 airports – $8,616,945.80.
Owing to the deductions, the balance in the account as at June 30, 2012 stood at $91,129, 940. 62 (about N14.57 billion).
Following the reconciliation, NCAA sources informed THISDAY that it was recommended that in order to resolve the issue of opening balance and the unidentified transfer, the CBN should be contacted to provide bank statements from inception of the BASA account to January 2005.
Also, is was recommend that a reconciliation of the account be carried out with First Bank UK by the staff of Finance and Accounts Department of Ministry of Aviation and NCAA.