Chairman of Arik Air, Sir Joseph Arumemi -Ikhide has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to do a forensic audit of the Nigerian aviation industry accounts to rid it of corruption.
Speaking yesterday in Lagos at the Aviation Round Table, ART breakfast meeting, with the topic, ‘Ownership, funding and sustainability of Nigeria airlines… a perennial challenge,’ Arumemi Ikhide stated that the call becomes necessary because the aviation industry is riddled with corrupt Civil Servants.
He said the Civil servants are the problem of aviation industry in the country as their concern is just their personal interest and not the growth of the industry.
Arumemi- Ikhide said the Ministry of aviation is part of the problems militating against the growth of the industry through their wrong policies and personal interest.
They are too rich from ill gotten wealth acquired through corrupt means and in the process taking the industry backward, he said.
Arik boss stressed the need for the airline operators to come together for the industry to move forward, rather than the splinter group in the Airline Operators of Nigeria, AON which is dividing the operators.
He condemned the publishing of some airlines by the Federal Inland Revenue over their inability to remit their Value Added Tax, VAT, saying such action is not good for the airlines involved.
According to him, this may militate against the airline from getting loans from foreign banks because the airlines are Nigerian airline that employed Nigerians, doing things that will harm the airlines is not good for the industry.
He challenged the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN to reconcile the debt it claimed Arik is owing with AON as Arik will pay whatever the result of the reconciled figures are.
Arik Air boss pointed out that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority should not be part of the committee on the national carries because it is abnormal for the regulator to be a player and a referee, that rather it should help if need be to midwife the new national carrier.
He disclosed further that Arik does not owe any Nigerian bank, as it has secured a $100 million loan from American Exim bank.
On the arrest of the its cabin crew in possession of cocaine in London, Arumemi Ikhide said the Airline has made efforts in the past to check the rising cases of drug trafficking by donating sniffer dogs to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA and FAAN but they were not receptive to their offers and as a result of that the Dogs were returned to South Africa.
In his presentation earlier, the chairman of AON, Captain Nogie Meggison called for a fresh bailout for the airlines to work because the earlier bailout was not for the airlines but for the banks.
He lamented the high rate of aviation fuel in the country which he said is taking over 40 percent of the airline overhead cost.
Meggison observed that the navigational aids at the country’s airports are not working at its optimum capacity, adding that the Navigational aids should be digitalised.
Speaking also, the managing director and chief executive of Financial Derivatives Company Limited, Mr. Bismack Rewane called for caution on the move to establish a new national carrier.
He said though the national carrier is a thing of a national pride, but caution should be the watch word as pride goes before a fall.
Rewane said most countries in the world have more flag carriers, instead of national carrier as the country need to decide on what it wants.
In his remarks, the President of ART, Gbenga Olowo stated that one airline cannot reciprocate all the Bilateral Air Services Agreement, BASA which the country has entered into.
Olowo suggested for the airlines to come together under one umbrella with all their airlines with the name Nigerian Express to run an efficient airlines so as to reduce losses.

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