Airlines’ owe FG agencies N37bn –Sirika

July 9, 2021
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From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has disclosed that Nigerian airlines are owing  federal agencies to the tune of N37 billion. 

He said while Arik owes about N13bllion or N14billion, Bi-Courtney  is owing Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) about N14 billion, adding that for the past 13 years since it began operations, it has not remitted a single dime to them as stipulated in the agreement.

Sirika, who was the guest at this week’s ministerial press briefing organised by the Presidential Communication Team at the presidential villa, Abuja, said the debt was owed to agencies including Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) among others. 

According to him, government had been cautious in demanding for the payment mindful of how the media and the Nigerian public might react. 

The Minister, however, vowed that the government would go after the airlines to make sure that they pay what they owe. 

Sirika, who addressed the controversy over the disbursement of the N5 billion COVID-19 palliative to aviation stakeholders, said the point was made that airlines owing aviation parastatals should not benefit. 

He explained: “In fact, the service providers in our system, FAAN, NAMA, said oh these guys are owing us, we  should take the money from the money being given as palliatives. We said no but the intent of President Buhari is to ensure that he cushion the effect on businesses. Let us find a way of surviving, and let them take the money. So we would have taken the money and left them with nothing and we stay with nothing. 

“So, this brings to the question on the money owed the parastatals. It is about N37 billion that they are owing, especially Arik, the culprit. I know they’re owing us about, N13 billion or N14 billion. 

“If you’re owing government, you are owing FAAN, the Bi-Courtney  is owing about N14 billion as at the last count. It has not paid a single dime since the time he started to run the terminal building. And we have  not ceased giving him electricity, water, fire cover, and so on and so forth. He  hasn’t paid a dime for 13 years. 

“And if we go to shut his doors, media, of course, and Nigerian people will say we’re killing businesses but he is killing our services too, because we have to have that  money to provide for that toilet  that you’re looking for in Lagos Airport. Most of these are living by their IGRs and so, we need the money but we will go after the money.”

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