Stakeholders in Nigeria’s aviation sector have begun expressing divergent views just days after the federal government issued a palliative of N5bn to airlines, ground handling companies and other auxiliary organisations in the sector.
Similarly, some analysts have queried the disbursement of just N5 billion, wondering what the government intended to do with the other N22 billion released for the sector.
Recall that the government had promised to bail the aviation sector out with N27bn to cushion the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, aviation stakeholders have insisted that the amount, especially that for the operating airlines which got just N4 billion, was inadequate to save the carriers from collapsing”.
It was gathered that Dana Air, Med-View Airline, Air Peace, Arik Air, Overland Airways and charter operators have all benefitted from the palliatives, however, each of them have declined to decline to disclose the amount received.
Speaking to Daily Independent on the controversies that have trailed the bailout fund, Captain John Ojikutu, an aviation analyst, wondered what the bailout fund was meant for.
He recalled that the Federal Government had, in 2012, gave out such intervention funds to some of the aviation operators but many of them diverted it.
“Just like the aviation intervention of 2012, what is the bailout meant for? To supplement the shortfall in staff salaries or to supplement the cost for the periodic maintenance of aircraft on the ground, or for what?
“Were they considerations for the specific needs of the airlines and not just some kind of jumbo Christmas and New Year gifts?
“There must be specifics with results, especially now that funds are needed for critical social services like the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic under the health services.”
Daily Independent further reports that N4 billion was allocated to scheduled and non-scheduled carriers, N1 billion for ground handlers and auxiliary organisations, while the other N22 billion was allegedly set aside for the troubled national carrier.