The House of Representatives have called for stoppage on 25 percent compulsory remittances by aviation agencies, stating that the agencies need the revenues for infrastructure development, training and modernisation of airport facilities.
Nnolim Nnaji, the House Committee Chairman on Aviation, who made the call demanded that the agencies should have 100 percent retention of the internally generated revenues (IGRs) in order to ensure continued development and maintenance of the critical infrastructures in the sector.
Nnaji who is a member representing Nkanu East/West Federal Constituency made the submission on the floor of the House in Abuja during a debate on the 2020 Budget Appropriation Bill transmitted to the National Assembly by President Mohammadu Buhari.
He stressed that the aviation industry was pivotal to the overall development of the national economy because of its speed in the movement of top players in the industrial sector.
“Aviation can stimulate foreign direct investments, (FDIs) if well-developed so we must do whatever is possible to ensure that our infrastructure is up to date and in line with the global standards at all times”.
He argued that the aviation agencies need the internally generated revenues to provide safety critical personnel and manpower development; so they do not need to be included in the Ministry, Department and Agencies (MDA), noting that most of the revenues generated by the agencies are debt recovery and not profits per se.
He suggested that the 25 percent of the IGR should be kept in a consolidated fund for a period of ten-year-rolling plan for development and maintenance of aviation infrastructures, adding that such will trigger off robust commercial activities in and around airports which the government would in turn reap through value added tax (VAT) and other tariffs.
“If our aviation infrastructures are well funded and they are up to standards, investors will feel comfortable to come into the country and invest. Our international airports create the first impression of Nigeria to the visitors. The feelings they get from the airports will affect their confidence level in our economy and that is why we must strive to give them maximum attention when it comes to funding,” he said.
Meanwhile, Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation, Senator has said that the reconstruction of Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu, runway would include cargo terminal as part of its components.
Sirika made this known during a meeting with the House Committee on Aviation, Wednesday in Abuja, assuring that the mistakes made in the last reconstruction project would be corrected.
He further stated that the runway would be extended to accommodate the installation of approach lights for the airfield lighting systems to enable the airport function properly as an international aerodrome.
Sirika emphasised that the federal government was passionate about the airport not just because it is the only international gateway to the people of South East region but because it is one of the oldest airports in the country.
He noted that the contractors for the projects were yet to mobilise to site because his Ministry was waiting for the approval of funds by Federal Executive Council, (FEC) since the projects were not captured in the 2019 budget appropriation.
According to him, the over N10 billion needed for the reconstruction was coming under special intervention fund because the project was being treated as an emergency case, adding that the collapse of the runway was not envisaged at the time of preparing this year’s budget.