There is a strong indication that the federal government would soon start disbursing the approved bailout fund of N5billion to operators in the aviation sector, which is intended to ameliorate the harsh realities of the COVID-19 pandemic on their business operations.
The disclosure was made by the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, to the key stakeholders, during the ongoing three-day public hearing to repeal and enact Acts of the 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).
According to the Minister, out of the N5 billion bailout fund, N4 billion would go the domestic airlines, while the balance of N1 billion will be fairly shared amongst other agencies and other relevant aviation companies that were severely affected by the pandemic.
According to the Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Adeyemi Smart, he considers the bail-out fund as too small to cushion the effects the pandemic had on the operators’ businesses and requested the FG to magnanimously review to a more reasonable amount, that would be sufficient to bail the operators out.
In his words, “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.”
That COVID-19 pandemic pummeled Nigeria’s aviation industry is no longer a subject of argument or analysis, but the impact of its devastating effects will take a long time and resources to erase. A beleaguered sector that was merely floating, got hit by a ravaging pandemic, albeit unprepared, and caught some of the airlines’ hemorrhaging.
What you should know
At the commencement of aviation activities after over three-month lockdown as a result of the whirlwind of COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government promised to assist the industry with N27 billion bailout palliative, to cushion the effects of the lockdown in the industry.
It is important to know that some airlines have been limping since life came back to the sector, after the lockdown, in the hope that the proposed bailout would speedily come to provide them with the much-needed lifeline/succor for them.
No doubt this fund would go a long way in assisting the sector to rebound, but not adequate to assuage the excruciating losses and pains inflicted by the pandemic on the sector.