Emeka Gbulie, an aviation stakeholder, has declared that the Federal Government’s attempt to get investors to buy into the remaining 95 per cent in the planned national carrier, Nigeria Air, may fail.
Gbulie told journalists in Lagos, on Wednesday, that the government’s inconsistency, when it comes to honouring agreements would discourage investors, especially foreign business organisations, from showing interest in the national carrier.
The Federal Government said it owned five per cent of the planned national carrier with $308m over the next five years, while investors are expected to buy into the remaining 95 per cent.
The government also said that the airline, scheduled to commence operations on December 24, 2018, would take-off with five aircraft.
He specifically mentioned the truncated Virgin Atlantic Airways agreement on Virgin Nigeria with the Federal Government, insisting that Richard Branson’s reaction to the agreement had continued to haunt the country.
He also identified the concession agreement between Murtala Muhammed Airport Two (MMA2), Lagos and the Federal Government as another reason investors may not show expected interest in the new national airline.
He expressed dissatisfaction with the over N200 million expended on the design of the logo for the airline by the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika. The logo and names were unveiled in Farnborough International Airshow in London, on July 18, 2018.
He said: “The reason why Virgin Atlantic pulled out of Nigeria is still very fresh. A government enters into a deal; another government comes and revokes it. The foreign partner or investor is disappointed, goes to his country and shares his experience with other investors and tomorrow you go back to beg for investors, and expect them to trust you?
“The concession agreement between MMA2 and the Federal Government is also a clear case that will definitely make it a bit difficult for Hadi Sirika’s team to woo investors. It is instructive to mention here that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) still collects 50 per cent of MMA2’s revenue till date.
“The agreement that MMA2 has with the Federal Government prohibits FAAN from managing the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) and collecting the revenue that MMA2 would have used to replicate the same top-notch facilities it has at MMA2 at GAT.”
He decried that the illegality of FAAN running the GAT was never condemned by the Federal Government, emphasising that no investor, whether home-based or foreign, would be willing to invest in the airline, when there were unaddressed issues.
He explained further that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), which should protect operators and business entities in the sector, had not lived to expectation.
He also accused industry unions of contributing to the de-marketing of Nigeria’s aviation industry with its actions.
He said: “The Federal Government, Ministry of Aviation and the regulators must check the activities of these unions, as they have become a serious threat to the industry, particularly the airlines, and this is because the regulators and stakeholders have continued to condone their illegality.”