Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP) on Thursday called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to arrest and prosecute all debtor airline operators in the country for the N15 billion debt profile of the ticket and cargo sales Charge (TSC and CSC).
Speaking to aviation reporters in Lagos, the secretary general of ANAP Comrade Abdulrasaq Saidu described the airline’s action as an economic offence that left unchecked has grown into an entitlement for the perpetrators which is killing the industry.
Saidu called on the EFCC to wade into the matter, investigate arrest those responsible for this historical debt which was amassed when there was little or no accountability from government.
Reacting to the events of the past few days, General secretary of ANAP, Comrade Saidu described what was happening as stealing by a trick of public funds as the monies the Airline Operators were unwilling to let go off did not belong to them but the government.
“This money they are owing it is stealing by trick of public funds, air travellers pay that 5%, that money has never been a tax to any airline as some of them will erroneously lead people to believe. The money is a charge on passengers the airlines only collect it on behalf of government to allow facilitation, imagine the chaos at the airport where people are travelling if that money is collected as you intend to travel and the fraud that would happen.”
“These payments’ were being made until Arik entered the fray and due to the impunity of the former managers the indebtedness started and so other airlines joined suit stating that if Arik was not remitting the charges why should they? Even at those times, some unions would take action and then an order from Abuja would override whatever they have done and the debt would continue to rise.”
“In the past Minister, Fidelia Njeze intervened with the pay as you go technic but same airline scuttled it.”
According to saidu ANAP is ready to go the extra mile to help the agencies and service providers recover their debt through every legal means as according to him, the N15billion was a delibrately orchestrated debt.
“We are calling on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) because this is their purview. They need to wade in as this anomaly is killing the industry.
“We disagree with the airlines who are trying to justify their criminal acts and impunity, spending public funds and we are calling the EFCC to come in because the money they are talking about never belonged to them in the first place. The money is for aviation development and so when unremitted how do they have justification to complain about regulation? Or training at NCAT? Or the pace of investigations at AIB? Or even infrastructure for that matter?”
ANAP is supporting the Federal Government through the NCAA and is demanding immediate remittance of those funds.
On the unions objective and why it was interested in these matters, Comrade Saidu stated: “ These are the kinds of things the unions should be agitating over mostly to get enough of the agencies funds so as to ensure salaries of staff and others are met.”
“Besides apart from that, everyone says aviation is global business and we shout that here every time but globalization must come in all ramifications because as you know here there is no globalization in remuneration and ANAP aims at improving the working conditions in the industry that is why we came to being as a union.”
He also stated that the union aims to engage government through constructive criticisms to ensure that government takes the right path on the journey to grow the industry.