With the scarcity of aviation fuel bedevilling airlines in Nigeria, the senate committee on aviation has pledged to dislodge the cartel in the aviation fuel marketing network in the country.
The vice chairman, senate committee on aviation, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah stated this in Lagos yesterday when he and members of the committee embarked on oversight of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB).
Na’Allah who was responding to a complaint by the managing director of FAAN, Mr. Saleh Dunoma about the dwindling capacity of airlines occasioned by scarcity of aviation fuel said the problem in the aviation industry should be dealt with decisively.
“The problem in the aviation fuel distribution network is a cartel issue. We are going to dismantle the cartel; we are going to unbundle aviation fuel supply system. If they do not want to supply the product, they should leave. They have been lying about the crisis in the Niger Delta. But there is crisis in Southern Sudan, yet aviation fuel is still cheaper there. If we don’t take steps, it will take two to three days to fly from Abuja to Lagos,” he said.
Na’Allah said the committee’s mission was not a jamboree but to look at what was appropriated for the agencies in the 2016 national budget and how the funds were utilized.
“The visit is unlike any other in the past; we intend to honestly look at where the industry is especially as there are no funds to carry out some high-end projects due to the economic challenges in the country.
“We have appropriated money; implementation has begun already and what we are looking for are the successes and shortfalls. We must accept that the industry is in trouble and we are all involved, we are not here to indict anybody but we are reviewing the entire industry and projects line by line to see where we are, reduce certain or not continue with them so as to bring the industry back on course.”
He said “we are all involved in self denial” and wondered why things that are taken for granted in some other countries had become big issues in Nigeria.
“We have not done our duties rightly. We are going to look at the projects one after the other; we are going to review the entire industry. Aviation industry should not go into extinction because Nigeria has no money. Nigeria has spent five times of what the neighbouring African countries spent on navigational aids at their airports. Navigational aids work at those airports; why are the ones at our airports not working? We have something peculiar here and we have to address it. We are in trouble,” said Na’Allah.