Finally, the Federal Government has approved N5 billion as bailout fund to the country’s aviation sector to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their operations.
Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, dropped this hint, on Monday, in Abuja, at the ongoing three-day public hearing to repeal and enact Acts of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) and that of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
However, in a sharp reaction, the chairman, Senate committee on aviation, Senator Adeyemi Smart, described the bailout to the domestic carriers as a paltry sum which does not impress the senate, urging the Federal Executive Council to review the airline’s bailout assistance.
Speaking on the N5 billion bailout fund, Sirika said N4 billion goes to the domestic airlines while the balance of N1 billion will be shared amongst the aviation agencies and other relevant aviation companies that have been badly affected by the pandemic.
The Minister stated that very soon, the funds would be distributed to the carriers even as he stressed that the aviation industry in Nigeria was too crucial to allow it to fail.
Emphasising his displeasure at the N4 billion bailout funds for the airlines, SenatorAdeyemi declared; “N4 billion is very little to solve some of the problems of the airlines who are battling to survive. We urge the government to take charge of the sector. They need to give them more and they also need to support in all ways.”