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Nigeria Air: The Man who saw ‘The still Birth from Conception’

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Captain Mohammed Joji, former AON Chairman

An open letter by captain Mohammed Joji  to the Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo Published on Nigerian Aviationnews on February 15, 2018

His Excellency, Prof, Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON

The Vice President,

Federal Republic of Nigeria, Aso Rock Presidential Villa, FCT – Abuja.

Your Excellency RE: ISSUE OF NATIONAL CARRIER AND MATTERS ARISING. 

You would recall Your Excellency, that the Federal Executive Council sometimes in May, 2017 gave an approval to the Ministry of Transportation to appoint Six Consortium of Advisers to help Nigeria set-up a National Carrier and develop its Aviation Infrastructure.

The Six Advisers are foreign based companies from Lufthansa (now replaced by AMG), Avia Solution GE, Arrow for concessioning of Airport and Aerotropolis, Infrata for Maintenance Repairs Overhaul (MRO) and JEBB for Cargo terminals, all at a huge cost of NI52 Billion.

As a concerned citizen, a responsible corporate organization and a Stakeholder in the Industry, I am constrained to raise some issues regarding the appointment of Foreigners as mere Advisers and Consultants in establishing a National Carrier, when the country has enough and experienced professionals who are capable of performing even more better than the so-called Foreign Consultants with attendant loss of income and foreign exchange.

We note, however that our Nigerian professionals in Aviation, accounting are more competent and can understand our core value, Psychology and intricacies involved in setting up a National Carrier far more than the appointed foreigners, whom we know their pedigree worldwide in Aviation.

We can vividly recall that we started the issue of the National Carrier as far back as 1993 when I was the Managing Director/ Chief Executive of Nigerian Airways under the chairmanship of Prince Tony Momoh with the late Alhaji Gidado Idris as the Director General of the Ministry of Aviation.

I was a party to the Incorporation of AIR NIGERIA PLC, with an authorized share capital of USD$IOOM (then N2 Billion) midwifed by the Federal Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI).

However, after wide consultations with the people that are part and parcel within the company, the company was incorporated and issued with the Certificate of Incorporation, Certificate Non RC 219,299 dated 5th day of April, 1993. (attached)

The Company after incorporation has been well structured by the professionals to take off when it was frustrated due to no reasons.

Although, the idea of National Carrier in today’s World could be a misplaced priority, with the concept of private driven economy to drive efficiency and competitiveness, with enabling business environment, capacity and capability to steer the Industry in the right direction.

With the issue of multiple designation currently in practice where more than one airline can be designated to carry the National Flag which is the current practice worldwide.

What is required is to grant the indigenous airlines the necessary concession to carry the flag and compete with their foreign counterparts.

Sir today, Nigeria is the largest market and a great market potential for all the African Airline going by the following statistics; Nigeria population estimate according to the Worldin-Figures for December 2017 is; Population = 191,835,936; population density 211/km 2 Average (median) age = 18 years Aged = 4% (Japan 46.2%) Fertility Rate = 6 (Between Age 15-49) one woman can produce 6 children Population Table – 7th in the world (2.52%) World population The year 2050 Nigerian population will be 400miIIion which makes us number 3 behind India and China.

Are we planning for all these not only in aviation industry, but particularly in agriculture etc?

You may wish to note that there is a new innovation in place where Aeroplane are used for agricultural purposes, this innovation is now in practice at Olam Rice Farm in Rukubi, Doma Local Government of Nassarawa State.

The aircraft was assembled by Skypower Express Airways and was put in operation, as a result, the farm is now producing 40,000 tons of paddy rice annually.

That is how private sector can contribute meaningfully to the economic development of the nation without public sector who are to create enabling environment.

Our objections as stakeholder is borne out of service to our DEAR NATION, Nigeria and are as follows:

That Government having decided on local content policy with recently signed Executive Order, the issue of Appointment of Foreigners to Advise and Consult in setting up National Carrier is a misplaced priority and waste of resources.

That the Foreign Advisers appointed may not have the capability nor the pedigree to give Nigeria a National Carrier that will be a pride of everyone.

That the appointment would lead to Capital Flight with attendant Foreign Exchange losses and consequent capital flights

That Nigerian Professionals, if engaged will be further encouraged and developed, as they do not lack experience in this regard.

That the Honounrable Minister failed to consult the stakeholders before making his recommendations to the Executive Council.

Although, the Minister has stated that the Government will have no hand in the new National Carrier and this will be Private Sector Driven, 3% is set aside by the Government as participation which in Economic term is a Minority Shareholder.

However, we noted that this will have negative effect on the whole idea.

It is therefore recommended that the 3% proposed- government should hands-off and instead provide Sweat Equity by allowing capital market to raise the necessary funding, Government can then give the airline tax holidays and be treated as infant industry.

Same privilege should be extended to the existing private airlines who have been nursing the air transport sector for the past 14 years without any contribution from the government.

In addition, the airlines have been providing employment opportunities, pay different kind of taxes, obtain bank loan at exorbitant interest rate of 28%

The approval although was given by Federal Executive Council (FEC) but as a Stakeholder, we believe it was due to misinformation and non-presentation of all the fact to the council meeting.

Do Foreigners have to determine how to provide infrastructure in our Airports?

Do they have to advise us about concessioning of Airport to Leasing procedures?

When we have on our finger print and beak and call and our esteemed Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPP) in place.

It is our fervent hope that you will take these observations in good fate, believing that this is without malice or prejudice and in the overall interest of our Nation.

Kindly accept our best assurances of our co-operation in this regard.

Yours faithfully, Captain Mohammed Joji, Chairman/CEO, Skypower Express Airways.

 

 

culled from Nigerian Aviationnews.blogspot.com

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