NAMA Didn’t Get Customs’ Waiver to Clear Navigational Aids, Says MD

Fola Akinkuotu

The Nigerian Airspace Management Authority (NAMA) has disclosed that it did not get the  waiver it requested from the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to clear the CAT111 navigation aids equipment from the Lagos seaport.

The Managing Director of NAMA,  Capt. Fola Akinkuotu,  said this yesterday while briefing journalists in Lagos.

He said that NAMA paid over N100 million  to clear the imported equipment worth about N1 billion.

He said, “CATIII is a modern Instrument Landing System (ILS) approach used in low visibility weather condition. They are specialised instruments installed at airports to assist  pilots  to fly at almost zero visibility.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that NAMA on January 9 had said that the idea behind the installation of CAT III  instrument landing systems in strategic airports was borne out of the need to enhance safety.

NAMA’s  General Manager, Mr. Kalid Emele, in a statement added that the installation would also ensure efficiency, access and seamlessness of flight operations in the airspace, especially, during the harmattan.

Akinkuotu told journalists that the equipment had been  at the seaport for about six months before they  were eventually cleared and deployed in the last quarter of 2019.

He said that NAMA as a government agency had applied for duty waiver from NCS to clear the critical safety equipment.

“However, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), declined the request, despite the duty waivers granted the aviation industry by the federal government.

“The equipment was at the seaport for some few months because of issues of customs duty, application for duty waiver and others, but we had cleared them and they had  been installed.

“We didn’t get waivers for the equipment and we had to pay hundreds of millions of naira for the clearance of the ILS.

“They are part of the automation project. They are mobile potable cabins that contain the one-stop Aeronautical Information Service (AIS),” he said.

He said that the automation equipment were installed in Lagos, Jos and Ilorin airports, adding that the agency was gradually upgrading the facilities at the nation’s airports and stations.

He said that the agency was asked not to include the clearance fees for the equipment in the 2018 budget and was assured that as a government agency the equipment would be granted waiver.

Akinkuotu also  said that NAMA had installed the Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) in Jos and Enugu airports in order to improve the radio networks in those parts of the country.

On the inclement weather, the NAMA boss assured  the flying public that the  agency would continue to install more Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) at  the nation’s airports.

Akinkuotu said any navigation aids that required calibration would be done as at when due, saying this would further improve service delivery by airlines  to their clients.