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AMCON boss calls for more regulatory oversight, says Aviation intervention funds hijacked

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The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), Mr Ahmed Lawman Kuru says more still needs to be done in the areas of regulating the aviation sector in the country to enable the airlines succeed.

According to Kuru, it appears regulations are weak in the Nigeria aviation industry and there also seems to exist lack of courage on the part of the regulators to enforce compliance based on current standards.

He therefore, advised the regulatory authority to do more fine-tuning to ensure effectiveness of the airline.

Speaking at the third edition of the Annual Colloquium organised by Nigeria TravelsMart (NTM) at the Eko Hotels and Suites in Lagos, Kuru said the aviation industry was as important as the Health Industry because it deals with the lives.

He equally opined that the sector required more regulation than even the Banking Industry.

While supporting the need for an intervention funding in the sector, Kuru however, lamented that the last Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Bank of Industry (BoI) Aviation Industry Intervention Fund was a fraud because it was hijacked and manipulated by some individuals for their selfish gains.

At the Colloquium with the theme: Corporate Governance and Airline Industry Development in Nigeria” Kuru said “it is only in Nigeria that an Airline can abandon you at the airport for more than 5 hours without any recourse. Indeed, there are consequences for frequent cancellations, however I cannot recall any airline punished in the recent past. Equally disturbing is the state of the Aviation infrastructure”.

The AMCON boss reminded the large audience made up of airlines, aviators, administrators and other stakeholders, that the aviation sector was a catalyst for the economic development of nations and that it was a wheel that drives economic activities.

He attributed the challenges airlines in Nigeria face to two major problems which he listed as lack of an effective Board of Directors (BoD) and poor regulation.

“The Aviation industry is as important as the Health Industry because it deals with the lives of travellers. It requires more regulation than even the Banking Industry. It is only in Nigeria that an Airline can abandon you at the airport for more than 5 hours without any recourse. Indeed, there are consequences for frequent cancellations, however I cannot recall any airline punished in the recent past. Equally disturbing is the state of the Aviation infrastructure”, Kuru said.

Kuru said “since we have proven that we cannot manage even our toilets, we it is important that the airports are concessioned”.

Explaining further on the need to carry the private sectors along, the AMCON boss emphasised “it is common practise all over the world that the airports are privately managed. We should not spend our energy on who owns the concession company as long as our airports are managed according to global best practise. Lagos is strategically positioned to be the African hub, linking the Americans and the rest of the world”.

Proffering solutions to bringing the industry out of the woods, Kuru said “It is very obvious that for any change to be effected in the Corporate Governance of the Airline, it must be regulatory-driven, self-regulation has not worked so far.

Other areas, he pointed out that the regulatory agency needed to look at closely include: cash flow for setting up Airlines which must be professionally scrutinized to make business sense; provision of affordable sources of funding and access to foreign exchange and Scrutinising of the ownership and source of funding of the prospective Investors to confirm fitness amongst others.

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