National Assembly’s joint committee on aviation has urged the Federal Government to plough back its mandatory 25 per cent deducted from generated revenue into aerodrome development.
The committee, during a visit to the Lagos Airport recently, said the gesture was in line with international standards to hasten the development of air transport.
The lawmakers, in reaction to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria’s (FAAN) call for support to close infrastructural gaps, said the current state of the entry ports were unbefitting of Nigeria and its quest for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
House Committee Chairman on Aviation, Nnolim Nnaji, said the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS), Doc 9562 on airport revenue generation, clearly specified that earnings should be retained for the consistent upgrade of the facilities.
“That has been our position too. Because the way an airport looks will determine the amount of investment the country deserves. As this (international) airport is, it is not encouraging. So we need to do more, even if we will need to demolish the current structure and build another one,” Nnaji said.
Managing Director of FAAN, Capt. Rabiu Yadudu had explained that the airports were in dire need of infrastructural development, and the authority was cash-strapped due to the exigencies of the COVID-19 pandemic and unrecovered debts.
Yadudu said the airports need the government’s support to bridge gaps, and “one way to render such support is by suspending its revenue contribution to the federation account.”
He said the revenue generated by airports should be transparently re-invested wholly in operating and in developing airport facilities.
He noted that revenue generation in the industry was still low due to travel restrictions as a result of the pandemic but the authority was able to remit N16.7 billion to the federation account in December 2021, as a contribution to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
“It is worthy to mention that even though FAAN does not have an operating surplus, we had to remit N16.7 billion to the Federation Account as a contribution to the Consolidated Revenue Fund as at the end of December 2021, for the year 2021 alone, in spite of the effect of the pandemic during this period,” he said.
Yadudu said the authority was able to execute some capital projects in the face of financial constraints in the last three years. Some of the projects, according to him, include the building of new airport terminals in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja, and Kano, among other projects.
He, however, said most of the key projects listed under the authority’s 2021 Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) budget were still ongoing at various levels of completion.
These, according to him, include the expansion of the GAT (General Aviation Terminal) building in Lagos, procurement and installation of Disabled Aircraft Equipment Recovery System, construction of car park and landscaping at Enugu Airport, among others.
On financial projections in 2022 going forward, Yadudu said the authority was proposing a budget of N188 billion as against the N125.4 billion approved for the year 2021.