Paucity of Funds Hit Aviation Agencies

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Chinedu Eze

Aviation agencies are currently going through difficult times due to lack of funds to effectively carry out their services, training and staff emoluments.

Sources within the agencies pointed accusing finger at the airlines, saying they owed the agencies billions of Naira and that has significantly affected their revenues.

The Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria is said to be operating on a grim budget because the percentage of funds it should earn from the 5 per cent tax paid to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is not coming.

Other agencies like the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET) and the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) may not also be getting monies from the 5 per cent charge paid to NCAA by airlines, the regulatory body gives percentage to these other agencies.

Inside NCAA source told THISDAY that airlines owe the agency about N10 billion and due to lack of funds, it has not been carrying out some of its obligations, which includes training. The source however said that it has not affected the salary and allowances of the workers, which are paid promptly, adding that the regulatory body’s main job is training and this has been put on hold.

“The capital expenditure of NCAA is training. The agency ought to and have highly skilled manpower as a regulatory body, but we have not been doing scheduled training programme. The training is no more planned. What we have is ad hoc situation when an international organisation, for example, decides to partner with NCAA for training and one or two persons will be shortlisted and invited to attend the training.

“That is not the way NCAA or any other civil aviation authority in the world operate. Training is the fundamental job a CAA does because of the sensitive nature of the work we do but this has been abandoned to a large extent and it is not good for the industry,” the source said.

The source said that in the past, under the former Director General of NCAA, Dr. Harold Demuren, every personnel knew when to go for training because it was programmed and scheduled, but since he left and other Director Generals in acting capacity took over and until now there was a substantive Director General, training has suffered a huge set back.

THISDAY however learnt from NCAA’s top official that government had directed that majority of the trainings should be done in Nigeria; only highly technical trainings should be done overseas.

Also a source from the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) told THISDAY that the salary of the workers is now being delayed due to paucity of funds; the same with allowances, which are not even paid at all, adding that for a long time training has lost the usual frequency and is done once in a while.

“All the airlines are collecting passenger service charge (PSC) on our behalf but they are not remitting the money to us; they are using it for their business and this is the money that belongs to us,” the source said.
THISDAY also learnt that the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has to suspend some of its on-going projects due to lack of funds and the fact that since the agency has been embroiled in fraud allegation with its management, some of those projects have to be suspended.