The chairman, Air Transport Services Senior Staff, Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), FAAN Branch, Comrade Ahmed Danjuma has projected an expected income of about N100 million by March ending as proceeds from the collection of tolls at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) access gate.
Comrade Danjuma who disclosed this figure in a chat with newsmen stated that FAAN had been able to garner N80 million from toll collections, added that by ending of march, FAAN would be able to know precisely know how they can get from there.
He added that “Within the first month of operation, I think we generated over N80 million despite the teething problems. Initially, we had the issue of change despite the fact that l- cube has sold off all the stickers and even 2019 stickers are still being used coupled with the fact that there are so many challenges we had in that place”.
Explaining the security aspect of the task, the labour leader said “you know our members are not guarded at night, we don’t operate beyond 11pm, so you see the difference between 11pm and 5am; any car passing through there is passing free. Despite all these, we have been able to hit N80 million. So by the ending of March, we will be able to know precisely. I assure you we will be able to hit N100 million.
Recall that one month ago, the union took over the collection of tolls at the MMIA.
Emphasising that FAAN went after the facility because they believe that they can do it better, Danjuma further explained “that was even the main reason we even went there and to God be the Glory, up till date, we have done creditably well, our members are working very hard. The fear of inconsistency in government and managing businesses have been abused here, we have not seen that and we have been able to prove to everybody that yes, we can do it and we can do it better”.
Danjuma also informed that, in a recent meeting with FAAN MD, Captain Rabiu Yadudu and others, the union had raised the need to establish a free trade zone around the airport environment.
He stated that the idea was brought to Captain Yadudu, based on the information they got on how the establishment of the free trade zone would benefit the people. He however, pointed out that, the concern of the union is that, the free trade zone would give room to business owners within the confine of that zone to operate without paying taxes.
According to him, the union frowns at a situation where stakeholders take FAAN for granted going beyond the agreement reached as regards the use of the land allocated for business.
He cited SAHCO as an example alleged to have gone beyond doing businesses not stated in the agreement thereby shortchanging the agency.
“We also drew the attention of management on the operation of SAHCO, we all know SAHCO is a handling company and they were registered with us for that purpose. Land were given to them to build their hangers, their warehouses and the rest unfortunately, we observed that they have gone outside the mandate of their duty by going into retails, building offices, renting offices to businesses and let them look at it critically, lets go back to the books, what and where were they allocated and for what purpose and what is obtainable now so that FAAN will not be shortchange.”
“And we know there are so many issues that need to be cleared on some of those clients that was why we particularly drew the attention of the MD to particularly look at Quits aviation and others that are likely to be within that zone, to critically look at their documents, the land they occupy, is it within the zone or outside the zone
because we learnt that they are claiming they are fully involved in the zone why we know is not all the land they have that are within the zone, so all these were brought to the MD so that they can look at it critically and ensure that justice is done to FAAN so that FAAN will not lose most especially.”
On the series of indebtedness to FAAN by operators, Danjuma said the union had written to some of their debtors, requesting them to offset their bills within the shortest possible time, just as they have advised management to call these debtors, sit down with them and negotiate on how best the debts could be paid.
He said the essence of a union, is for them to ensure that the welfare of their members are taken care of.
Comrade Danjuma however, maintained that they do not only emphasize welfare for workers, but that they first and foremost, find out how they can make the system better so that welfare will now be second issue.
Lamenting discrepancies in signing of MoUs between FAAN and state owned airports, Danjuma said “All the welfare issues were outlined. I think the most important one is the issue of those of our members that are domiciled in most of these state owned airports. Most of the MoUs signed between FAAN Management and the state owned airports were not properly done; it is in such a way that most of our members are exposed to hazards.”
He added, “They were not captured in the MoU’s based o medicals, their accommodations and so many benefits they are supposed to be deriving from those airports.”
He therefore, appealed to the management to ensure that they look at those MoUs and ensure that their members were captured fully.