The Chairman of Air Peace, Allen Onyema has expressed support for the campaign to reduce the taxes on airlines by government agencies, saying that the high taxes are responsible for the high air fares charged travellers in the continent.
Experts said with lower taxes, the number of travellers would double from 120 million people in 2015 to 300 million in 2035.
Onyema, who aligned with the submission of the President of African Development Bank (AfDB), Mr, Akinwunmi Adesina on high taxes imposed on airlines, however condemned him along with other airline operators in Nigeria for labelling the continent’s airlines as poorly managed and unsafe, saying that Adesina was ill-informed about the states of the airlines on the continent.
He noted that in the last two years, the continent has not recorded major accident with commercial airliner. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has also confirmed the improved safety record among airlines in Africa.
Onyema lamented that operators on the continent especially airlines in Nigeria pay spurious taxes and charges to government agencies, state governments and organisations, stressing that unlike in other parts of the world where airlines were given leeway to boost their operations, the reverse was the case in the country.
He observed that most of government officials were unfriendly with private investors in the country, saying that rather than helping businesses to grow, they contribute to their early demise by their actions.
“Unless the civil service in this country understands that investors must be helped to create jobs and put food on the table of so many people, we will continue to have this issue of insecurity because some people are jobless and they will be opened to social vices.
“Excess taxation is one of the banes of our aviation industry, it’s one of the things that is stunting our growth in this part of the world and except that is addressed, nothing will happen. But, in order to address that, the Federal Government set up a tax force in which I am a member to look into the issue.”
The Air Peace Boss also warned against quick implementation of the Yamoussoukro Declaration (YD) of 1999 by the Nigerian government, which is a policy on open sky for African airlines and stressed that Nigeria had a lot to lose in the policy than any other African country.