The 5 per cent passenger service charge (PSC) approved for Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) by the federal government has continued to generate controversy as Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) joins in the condemnation of the approval.
It would be recalled that minister of state for aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika had lately directed the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to make a monthly remittance of 5 per cent of the revenue accruing from PSC to AIB.
When FAAN begins to implement the minister’s directive, AIB will be raking in about N4.2 billion annually beside the N2 billion yearly federal allocation as well as the monthly 3 per cent of the revenue accruing from ticket sales charge which it (AIB) receives from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
Speaking in Lagos, the FAAN branch chairman of ATSSSAN, Mr. Danjuma Ahmed described the minister’s directive as “unpopular” saying it is detrimental to FAAN’s operations and performance.
With huge wage bills, unpaid staff allowances and with over 6,700 workers and 4,000 pensioners, Danjuma argued that 5 per cent remittance to AIB would affect FAAN’s revenue base adversely.
The union leader disclosed that PSC contributes 60 to 70 per cent of FAAN’s internally generated revenue stressing that the agency does not get any subvention from the federal government.
He said FAAN is not permitted to spend more than 45 per cent on overheads adding that the ministerial approval cannot done without recourse to the law.
He said FAAN was established by an Act of Parliament which approves its expenditures through budget and as such stressing that it is only that national assembly that can warrant any removal of such revenue to any agency.
He said FAAN cannot afford to remit a Kobo to any agency said “already FAAN remits about 20 per cent of its internally generated revenue to the federation account, part of which this PSC is involved.”
Danjuma pointed out that PSC is the N1000 tariff FAAN charges passengers for the services it offers to them in respect to terminal building, screening equipment, conveniences for travelling passengers, among others.
“The amount generated is inadequate and FAAN is even finding it difficult to operate and provide those services efficiently as expected by the passengers.
“The request by the minister for 5 per cent remittance to AIB will definitely affect FAAN’s performance, vis-à-vis the provision of those services.
“That is why we as a responsible union have said NO to that; we strongly object to it. We sincerely acknowledge the fact that AIB needs funding but there are many ways through which the minister can get funding for AIB,” he said.
Danjuma therefore advised the minister to device other creative means of providing funding to AIB.
“There is the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) fund, which we all believe is very free for the minister to finance AIB through a bailout fund. There is also this aviation security fund; he can equally access it and support AIB. But removing 5 per cent from FAAN is definitely going to be a serious problem to us and that is why we are kicking against it and we will continue to resist it till the minister sees reason,” he added.