Reps to probe N4b bailout to airlines as carriers petition National Assembly

The House of Representatives has concluded plans to take a holistic look into the complaints by airline operators and other stakeholders on the handling of COVID-19 aviation palliative with a view to ascertaining how the money was shared.

There are indications that airlines that were sidetracked from the disbursement may have petitioned the National Assembly in a bid to know the modality applied that excluded them from the bailout fund.

Chairman, House Committee on Aviation, Nnolim Nnaji in a statement stressed that the avalanche concerns raised by stakeholders regarding the matter were too weighty to be ignored.

It would be recalled that barely three months after N4 billion of the N27 billion Federal Government palliative to aviation industry was  released and the  Ministry of Aviation have started disbursing, some airline operators are yet to receive their own share of the N4 billion  meant for carriers and ground handling companies.

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While airlines such as Air Peace, Arik, Dana Air embattled  and suspended Azman Air, Sky Power   among others have collected their own share depending on their strength , Aero Contractors, West Link, TAL Helicopters and others  have not receive their own share of the initial N4 billion.


National Assembly, Abuja

Nnaji disclosed that the House committee on Aviation has resolved to demand from the Ministry of Aviation the detailed disbursement of the intervention fund.

“The essence is not to witch hunt anybody but to clear every doubt over the disbursements. We want to know the detailed disbursements, airline by airline, the agencies under the ministry and other organizations”, he said.

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The chairman noted that the committee was quite aware of the challenges facing the industry due to the COVID19 impact and the genuine concerns expressed by the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika on the need for Federal Government’s palliative to the industry.

Some airline operators, he said had complained that despite being asked to submit their details which they did, but up till date, they were yet to benefit from the largesse.

They also alleged that the ministry was doing selective disbursements and that the exercise lacked transparency and urged the committee to investigate it.

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Nnaji assured that though the House had already adjourned for Easter holidays, the committee will cut short its break to look into the matter because of the critical role of aviation in the overall economy of the country.

Wole Shadare