The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) may resort to jerking up the fees for the all important Air Operators Certificate (AOC) from its present ‘paltry’ sum of $500, in a bid to shore up its revenue base that had been depleted by over 40% due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Director-General of NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu made the disclosure on Saturday when the Senate Committee on Aviation, led by Senator Smart Adeyemi, paid an oversight visit to the regulatory body’s office at Lagos airport.
Nuhu who decline what the new fee might be disclosed that the cost for the issuance of an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) in Nigeria is only $500 while that of Gambia is a whopping $200,000, lamenting that the amount is too small compare to what obtains in many African countries.
“We are in a tight situation and things are very difficult for us, we really need help from the National Assembly,” he lamented.
He equally stated that the NCAA recorded a 40 percent drop in its revenue between December 2019 and November 2020, stressing that the authority makes 25 percent remittance of its revenue into Consolidated Revenue Fund, saying the proposal to increase it to 40 percent will spell doom for the regulatory body.
According to him, “We recorded a significant drop in revenue between December 2019 and November 2020, it was 40 percent. We know that 85 percent of our income come from the Ticket Sales Charge (TSC), and of course, there were no flights, no passengers, no operations.
”We are also mandated to pay 25 percent of our revenue to the Consolidated Account, there is even a plan for it to be increased to 40 percent but we are not recovering cost, we are actually operating at a loss.”, he said.
He disclosed that training and welfare of staff were among the areas with biggest expenses, adding that the Authority has established an in-house capacity training to handle some mandatory ones, pending the full lifting of the travel ban.
He also hinted that the Authority has set up a committee to look at establishing additional regional offices to adequately cover the nation.
He appealed to the Senate to urgently pass the bill for the repealing of the Act, saying, ‘the new gives us a new mandate on what we are allowed to do’.
Adeyemi assured that all the bills of the sector would be passed in the next two months.
“Some of the issues raised have been debated in the public hearing but I can assure you that we will effect changes in the areas you have itemised, in the next one or two months, we should be able to pass all the bills before us” , he said.
He charged the NCAA to give priority to economic regulations of the sector above all other functions.
According to him, the Authority should not just focus on the number of airlines and companies applying for Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) but on whether the airlines and companies have the capacity and funds to handle what they have requested from the NCAA.
While responding to the Director-General of NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu’s revelation that the cost for the issuance of an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) in Nigeria is only $500 while that of Gambia is a whopping $200,000, Adeyemi said, ‘You must also ask questions about the kind of airline that is getting the AOC, you must ensure to know whether they have the resources to manage the airline or not, you must ensure to know whether they are formidable enough or not to do the business, not just giving the AOC but be fully involved.
We need to make it more stringent in the bill that is before us.”
While commending the DG for displaying professionalism in his job in the last one year, Adeyemi said he was sure President Muhammad Buhari made the right choice.
He said the commitment of the NCAA remains critical to the development of the aviation sector, adding the sector is still the one that determines the socio-economic interest and position of the nation.
“Safety and confidence of the flying public are very important, the sector must be developed, Nigeria is not doing badly in aviation but we can do better because many of our personnel have been exposed to world-class aviation,” he added.