By Adelola Amihere
Amidst the nationwide disappointment that greeted the announcement of the suspension of the proposed national carrier, ‘ Nigeria Air’, the federal government has said it has not abandoned the project.
Citing reasons for the suspension, the Minister of state, Aviation , Senator Hadi Sirika yesterday at the 5th Aviation stakeholders forum in Abuja said the suspension came on the heels of plans to allow Nigerians to have a fair share of the project.
According to him ,” After a meeting held with Airbus, Boeing and some well profiled Nigeria in Washington DC, the giant aviation industry were willing to give Nigeria 30 Aircraft, 15 for start and another 15 subsequently, but they requested for a sovereign shoulder to assure them that their investment was safe.
” we could have run with that because we had a lot of investors showing interest in the Nigerian Air project but we wanted Nigerians to also benefit and partner in the project. We will soon advertize in the dailies so Nigerians should get their bank account ready so that they can partner in the Nigeria Air project”
He pointed out that the move to have a national carrier was long conceived before the emergence of the present federal executive council.
“The Committee in its Report submitted in September, 2015 recommended a private sector- led National Carrier with 10% Federal Government ownership and non-involvement of Government in the management of the airline but the provision of enabling environment for its operation,” he said
Senator Sirika also debunked the media publications that $8.8million was expended at the Farnborough Airshow describing it as “unfounded, malicious, misleading, mischievous and baseless.”
“Due process was followed in the branding, which included obtaining ‘’No Objection’’ Certificate with Ref. No.BPP/RPT/18/VOL.1/075 from the Bureau of Public Procurement for the sum of N50,893,000.00. Payment for these services is yet to be made.
“Due process was followed in retaining the services of the company and Certificate of “No Objection” Ref. No. BPP / RPT/ 18/ VOL 1/095 in the sum of N40,219,769.20 was obtained. Payment to the Consultant is yet to be made
“Apart from commitments to transaction advisors, Branding and participation at the fanbrough airshow , no other expenditure has been incurred on Nigeria Air project.”, he asserted.
Also Putting to rest the apprehension that the National Carrier will go the way of the Nigeria Airways, he explained that the issues raised have been addressed by the conditions stipulated on the Compliance Certificate issued by ICRC .
“The Outline Business Case had been published in the ICRC websit. The Procurement Phase will involve placement of adverts in local and international newspapers and magazines to solicit for private sector partners
“The Final Business Case would be subjected to review by ICRC and FEC approval before Financial Closure.
The steps and the in-built checks in the approved guidelines for the implementation of PPP projects confers transparency in the entire process, especially compliance with PPA 2007, ICRC Act 2005 and FEC Approval of OBC/FBC,” he stated.