300, 000 jobs at risk if foreign airlines stop operation, says NANTA

Second Deputy President, National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA), Kabir Maiwada (left); National Publicity Secretary, Olumuyiwa Salami; National President, Bankole Bernard; National treasurer, Zackary Abdulllahie; First Deputy President, Susan Akporiaye and Vice-president North, Aliyu Abdullhahi at the NANTA press briefing held in Lagos recently

Second Deputy President, National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA), Kabir Maiwada (left); National Publicity Secretary, Olumuyiwa Salami; National President, Bankole Bernard; National treasurer, Zackary Abdulllahie; First Deputy President, Susan Akporiaye and Vice-president North, Aliyu Abdullhahi at the NANTA press briefing held in Lagos recently

There are strong indications that about 300,000 Nigerians might lose their jobs if foreign airlines stop operation in the country.National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) recently expressed fear over the N118, 200,000,000 ($591 million) foreign airlines money trapped in Nigerian banks.

NANTA said: “ If the foreign airlines stop flying into Nigeria; no fewer than 300,000 jobs will be affected in the aviation sector, both upstream and down stream.”

Speaking at a media briefing held at the NANTA House in Lagos, president of the association, Mr. Bankole Bernard, appealed to the airlines not to rush into withdrawing their services, as it would further worsen the current economic situation of the country.

Bankole stated that the development is going to affect everybody, including the travel agencies, government and the general public, stressing that if a ticket that is supposed to be issued in Nigeria is done in Ghana, the government will lose money.

“Government is equally losing revenue to neighbouring countries, as tickets could be purchased from outside the country and once that is done, taxes on such tickets would not go to the government through the withholding tax,” Bankole said. 


While calling on the government to resolve the matter quickly, Bankole noted that the aviation industry contributes to the country’s Gross Domestic Product, (GDP). 


In a swift reaction to this, the Federal Government has already instructed the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN to come up with a flexible foreign exchange policy that would assist airlines to repatriate their funds.

Bankole added that the body met with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA and the permanent secretary Federal Ministry of Transport with a view of resolving the problem of the trapped foreign airlines money.

Bankole said this phase would surely come to an end, as the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, is resilient in resolving the issue.
He added that most European Airlines such as, British Airways, Air France KLM, Lufthansa are still selling tickets in naira, though for higher-class tickets, while few others are still asking for dollars like, Delta Airlines and United Airlines that has left.

Bankole stressed that there is need to continue selling ticket in naira or to patronise African airlines and to travel to African destinations. Disclosing NANTA’s position at the briefing, the national treasurer, Zackary Abdulllahie, also urged the Federal Government and its aviation agencies like the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and the NCAA to collect all aviation taxes, fee in local currency to reduce the naira exposure the government has with the airlines.

He also appealed to their foreign trade partners to consider re-introducing other economy classes, even if it is at a higher fare, adding that it will be preferable to Nigerian passengers.

Abdulllahie used the medium to plead with their members to desist from dollar sales and to stand together as one and probably move business from those airlines that have insisted on selling in dollar to those that permit them to sell in naira, while he enjoined the airlines to be more patience with the unfriendly business environment.

He, however, disclosed that his new executive is restructuring the secretariat by ensuring that members data are centralised, in talks with Association of South African Travel Agents, ASATA, Association of Kenya Travel Agencies, and others to help the industry get better, including a visit to the International Air Transport Association, IATA to forge a good working relationship with the body.

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