The National Association of Nigerian Travel Agency (NANTA) has alleged that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is responsible for the high rate of fraud prevalent in travel agencies in Nigeria.
NANTA said the regulatory authority has failed to effectively monitor the activities going on the downstream of air travel in Nigeria.
The association said the absence of laws guiding the sector has led to unfavourable rules by International Air Transport Association (IATA), which tend to constrict the growth and profitability of the sub-sector.
Speaking during the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI) in Lagos, the President of NANTA, Bernard Bankole said the New Generation of IATA Settlement System (New Gen ISS) introduced by IATA allows anyone in and out of Nigeria to issue tickets, thereby depriving the government its five per cent remittances, and revenues meant for local travel agencies, noting that these challenges have continued to drive genuine travel agencies out of the market.
Bankole said while IATA promised that the system will be faster, safer and more cost effective, the reality is that the system is only killing local travel agencies and increasing the level of fraudulent activities by impostors across various countries.
NANTA President stressed that all these challenges may not have emanated in the first place if NCAA had put in place laws to protect the downstream sector. “IATA should not come into our country and dictate for us how to run our business. There must be laws put in place for IATA to adhere to. We don’t want foreigners coming into the market and taking over our businesses,” Bernard added.
He advised that to properly regulate the sector, travel agencies would have to register with NCAA and NANTA, so as to properly monitor activities of the travel agencies.
In response, the Director, Air Transport, NCAA, Edem Uyo Ita said NANTA needed to put its house in order if it needs to be properly regulated by NCAA.
Uyo Ita disclosed that 600 travel agencies in Nigeria do business with IATA, while 200 travel agencies are registered with NANTA.
He however stated that only 157 are registered with NCAA, thus revealing the inconsistencies in the downstream sector.
“We cannot regulate someone that is not registered with us. This is a wake-up call for us all. Why should IATA be violating Nigeria regulations? NCAA has not even heard of IATA’s New Gen ISS platform. This is not about NCAA. It is a problem we all need to address,” he added.