AON disputes N15bn debts…offers to hire firm to audit NCAA

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Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) has debunked that it owes the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) N15 billion.

NCAA had, in a press release announced that airlines’ indebtedness accruing from unremitted 5 per cent ticket sales charge/cargo sales charge (TSC/CSC) amounts to N15 billion.

NCAA therefore directed the airlines to automate their remittances of face appropriate sanctions.

Rising from an emergency meeting of airline chief executives, AON described as “completely wrong and false” the figures of what the airlines owe.

“Airlines don’t pay monthly fixed rate. The rate is a percentage of the fare paid. How can an airline like Arik Air with 27 aircraft have a fixed monthly remittance rate of N61, 477,779.69 and Air Peace with an average of five aircraft to pay N109, 862,633.84 monthly? At what rate were these figures calculated to get a fixed amount?

“Even from the phantom breakdown mentioned 80 per cent of the bills are from airlines that are either out of operation or in receivership with the government today.

“Moreover, a couple of the airlines that make up the phantom numbers are not Nigerian registered airlines such as Cronos and Africa World Airlines (AWA). It is obvious that the phantom numbers cannot add up.

“We the airlines are working and struggling to stay afloat in a harsh terrain and made to bear the sin of others. NCAA should come out with a true picture of things.”

The airlines’ umbrella organization therefore challenged the NCAA to come open with the breakdown of how it arrived at the N15 billion and publish the details of the airlines and what they owe.

“Owing is not unprecedented anywhere in the world. What matters is that whatever is owed is being serviced.

“Most of the current and active 29 AOC operating airlines are servicing their debts as agreed between themselves and the relevant agencies after the usual reconciliations.

AON said the surviving domestic carriers do not owe a fraction of what is being claimed by NCAA if put to test by an audit firm.

Continuing the challenge, the organization offered to hire renowned auditing firms to do a forensic audit NCAA and the N15 billion claims.

“AON hereby further offers to pay for an independent auditing firm at its own expense; such as KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, or Deloitte and Touché, to audit NCAA as an organisation, and the N15 billion NCAA claims airlines owe.

“We therefore encourage the NCAA to take advantage of this offer and open its books for this audit. The exaggeration by NCAA is tarnishing to the good image of the airlines and as such, AON is unhappy with this unfortunate, damaging and misleading pronouncement by the NCAA.”

On the issue of automation, AON demanded clarity of the process and the person behind the private third party being engaged by NCAA to do the automation.

“Why does NCAA need a private third party company to collect its money?” These cloudy issues need to be cleared first by the NCAA before talking about automation.”

“We therefore urge NCAA to suspend the automation till there is clarity on its components, those behind the private third party being used and why the need to use such private third party in the interest of transparency and fairness and not collapsing the domestic airlines again and again.”

AON pointed out that domestic carriers are bogged down by 37 multiple charges that come under the guise of statutory levies and taxes.

They include; (i) 5% ticket sales charge, (ii) 5% cargo sales charge, (iii) 5% value added tax (vat), (iv) passenger service charge, (v) charter sales charge, (vi) aircraft inspection fees, (vii) simulator inspection fees, (viii) landing charges, (ix) parking charges, (x) terminal navigational charge.

Others are (xi) en route charge, (xii) fuel surcharge, (xiii) airport space rent, (xiv) electricity (xv) charges, (xvi) apron pass, (xvii) on-duty-card, (xviii) registration fee, (xix) service recovery charge, (xx) processing fee, (xxi) Avio Bridge, (xxii) aircraft registration, (xxiii) service recovery charge, (xxiv) processing fee. yet other charges include; (xxv) toll gate fee, (xxvi) VIP lounge, (xxvii) trolley service, (xxviii) clearance fee, (xxix) check-in counter charge, (xxx) courier/tarmac/pre-release, (xxxi) import charge (domestic, (xxxii) export charge (domestic), (xxxiii) import royalty, (xxxiv) export royalty, (xxxv) ports charge, (xxxvi) exports charge, (xxxvii) trans-shipment, and (xxxviii) concession fee.

 

 

 

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