The newly-unveiled national carrier, may suffer a setback as the House of Representatives has indicated interest to investigate the concession process of the Nigeria Air, which was unveiled on Wednesday in London.
In order to avoid failure, losses and embarrassment of the country, Honourable Dennis Agbo who sponsored the motion recommended an ad-hoc committee to look into the process of concession of the national carrier.
While raising the motion on the floor of the house, Agbo noted the recent attempt to revive the country’s national carrier by the minister, who had obtained a conditional Certificate of Compliance, along with the Outline Business Case (OBC) from the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC).
Agbo revealed that while ICRC, in the conditional certificate, stated that the process should have federal government’s zero investment and management interference, the Federal Ministry of Transport had already made open an initial requirement of $8.8 million and another $300 million for the purchase of aircraft by December, 2018. According to Agbo, these funds were not in the 2018 budget.
Agbo’s further maintained that the concession process so far, outlawed the pre-conditions in the OBC by ICRC, which is charged with ensuring favourable result of any concession of national assets.
Controversies surrounding new national carrier
The Federal Government, in August 2015, inaugurated a 13-member committee for the establishment of a national airline for Nigeria. The committee was saddled with the responsibility of consulting with international partners to ensure the project comes into fruition.
On Friday, October 2, the committee submitted its report to the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Aviation, Hajiya Binta Bello in Abuja.
Minister of State, Aviation, in 2017, Hadi Sirika revealed that a sum of N1.52 billion had been approved for the national carrier by the Federal Executive Council, FEC, Chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Having unveiled the national carrier at Farnborough Air Show in London this week, the Nigerian government has since come under heavy attack as many opined the concession process is questionable.
Despite claim that the new national carrier would be fully operated by the private sector, the Nigerian government in May, 2018, received a $20 billion investment fund for the project alongside one other. The funds, according to the government, would be invested in an aircraft leasing company, as well as a Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility. The aircraft leasing company, is however, expected to provide aircraft for the national carrier.