The House of Representatives has called for an end to the 25 per cent compulsory remittances by aviation agencies to the federal government.
According to the lawmakers, the agencies need the revenues for infrastructure development, training and modernisation of airport facilities.
The House Committee Chairman on Aviation, Hon. Nnolim Nnaji, who made the call demanded that the agencies should have 100 percent retention of the internally generated revenues (IGRs) in order to ensure continued development and maintenance of the critical infrastructures in the sector.
Nnaji, who is a member representing Nkanu East/West Federal Constituency, made the submission on the floor of the House in Abuja, recently, during a debate on the 2020 Budget Appropriation Bill transmitted to the National Assembly by President Mohammadu Buhari.
He stressed that the aviation industry was pivotal to the overall development of the national economy because of its speed in the movement of top players in the industrial sector.
“Aviation can stimulate foreign direct investments, (FDIs) if well-developed so we must do whatever is possible to ensure that our infrastructure is up to date and in line with the global standards at all times”.
He argued that the aviation agencies needed internally generated revenues to provide safety critical personnel and manpower development; so they do not need to be included in the Ministry, Department and Agencies (MDA), noting that most of the revenues generated by the agencies are debt recovery and not profits per se.
He suggested that the 25 per cent of the IGR should be kept in a consolidated fund for a period of ten-year-rolling plan for development and maintenance of aviation infrastructures, adding that such would trigger robust commercial activities in and around airports which the government would in turn reap through value added tax (VAT) and other tariffs.
“If our aviation infrastructures are well funded and they are up to standards, investors will feel comfortable to come into the country and invest. Our international airports create the first impression of Nigeria to the visitors.
“The feelings they get from the airports will affect their confidence level in our economy and that is why we must strive to give them maximum attention when it comes to funding,” he said.
He added that rather than take from the sector, the federal government should invest more in aviation because the industry is still at a developmental stage stressing that, “if we sufficiently invest in the sector, we will adequately harness the potentials that are abound in the industry”.
“The aviation industry has the capability of generating millions of employments because of the multiplier effects on other ancillary companies that will spring up if well developed.
“There is no reason why our airports should not have hotels like several other international airports across the globe so that someone who wishes to transact his business at the airport can relax and do so comfortably and fly back. With such you stimulate activities and make the airports more viable,” the House Committee Chairman on Aviation said.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has said that the reconstruction of Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu, runway would include cargo terminal as part of its components.
Sirika made this known during a meeting with the House Committee on Aviation, in Abuja recently, while assuring that the mistakes made in the last reconstruction project would be corrected.
He further stated that the runway would be extended to accommodate the installation of approach lights for the airfield lighting systems to enable the airport function properly as an international aerodrome.