Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, yesterday revealed that the Bilateral Aviation Service Agreements (BASA), security and safety fund account at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is meant for the development of civil aviation in the country, noting that the fund can be utilised by all the agencies in the aviation sector.
To this end, he stated that it’s centrally collected for improved accountability-knowing where the money is deposited.
Sirika stated this in Abuja when he was responding to the Senate Committee on Finance and National Planning at the public hearing on 2021-2023 medium-term expenditure framework and fiscal strategy.
The minister in a statement issued by the ministry’s Director of Press, James Odaudu, noted that the idea for all the agencies utilising the fund was for them to work in unison and create a system where aviation works perfectly and efficiently.
According to him, “I want to inform this committee that the Ministry of Aviation
is not a key revenue organisation, but all deductions from payments to the third party which was automatically done online to the government account in CBN is being done at the ministry.”
On security aspect of the fund, he said: “The function of security is not all for FAAN but all the agencies in civil aviation industry. Security exists in all part of the agencies, and this can be utilised better if they are centrally collected and redistributed.”
He said the question of whether the minister has the authority to approve from the fund, Sirika said: “It is the act of the law that says they cannot expend foreign exchange without the approval of the minister so that there is control on foreign exchange that we have.”
Earlier, the Committee Chairman, Senator Adeola Olamilekan, said the minister was invited to come and explain what the committee discovered last week in some of the accounts of the agencies under his supervision, and that they maintained two forms of accounts-one accrued by the agencies through internally generated revenue and the other one is security and safety fund.
He added that the utilisation of the account is not within their prerogative, but that of the minister.