The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has devised ways of carrying out compulsory training for its technical and administrative staff in Nigeria as against the former practice, whereby the staff were sent overseas for the training. This cost cutting measure, according to the agency, will save it about N2 billion annually.
Spokesman of the agency and General Manager, Public Affairs, Sam Adurogboye, who made this known on Tuesday said that civil aviation authorities all over the world have outlined compulsory training programme for their staff endorsed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and because of poor local capacity, most of these training programmes were done overseas, but in the reality of Nigeria’s present economic recession, the NCAA has decided to domestic many of these programmes.
Adurogboye noted that long before the recession set in, NCAA was expending the bulk of its forex on overseas training for its staff, both technical and administrative.
“It was a matter of policy that all middle and senior cadre staff attend one form of foreign training programme or the other at least once in two years. It was an entitlement, something staff really looked forward to. But it was a drain on the Authority’s purse. Its workforce has climbed steadily from just over 400 at its founding in 2001 to around 1,400 now. And this is without commensurate rise in its earnings. In fact, its main source of income, the five percent ticket and cargo sales tax has remained almost static. Worse, airlines and other service providers owe NCAA over N12 billion, and are defaulting in rescheduled payments,” Adurogboye explaned.
He noted that despite this reality the agency still carries out its training programmes for the staff because NCAA’s training programmes are mandatory and must be run on schedule, otherwise its status as a Category 1 institution could be in jeopardy.
Adurogboye explained that such was the situation that Captain Mukhtar Usman found on ground when he assumed duties as the Director-General in 2015.
For him, it was a delicate balancing act: find funds to train staff or risk losing the much cherished Category 1 safety status, which had just been renewed on his watch.
The Director General, Captain Usman also explained, “One of the first steps we have taken is to domesticate some of the courses, bring in certified instructors to run the programmes in our classrooms at our training facility in Lagos. This has helped us to save scarce forex without compromising the quality of the courses or safety.”
He said the courses are conducted by reputable global aviation bodies such as the International Civil Aviation Organisation, US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) among others.
Adurogboye however, noted that predictably, not all staff have warmed up to the idea of domesticating essential trainings. For them, it may mean a loss of estacodes and other travel peeks, adding that the NCAA boss is aware and has been eager to reassure them that “this is in the overall interest of the Authority and the country.”