By Sumaila Ogbaje
The Minister of State, Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika has explained that the delay in the establishment of national carrier was occasioned by the counter offer by the transaction advisers it earlier appointed.
Sirika, while addressing stakeholders on Thursday at the 4th Aviation Stakeholders Forum in Abuja, said the Lufthansa Group earlier appointed by the Federal Government failed to accept the offer.
He explained that the consortium failed to communicate its acceptance or rejection of the offer to the government six months after leading to the delay in the process.
The minister added that when the company eventually responded, it came up with a counter offer, which the government could not accept leading to the cancellation of the offer.
He said that Lufthansa asked the government to open an escrow account in abroad as well as requesting that transactions be carried out in foreign currencies.
“In order not to rush and take wrong decision, we decided to take time to engage the consortium comprises Airline Management Group Ltd, Avia Solutions Ltd and Tianerro FZE.
Airline Management is a UK based firm with experience and expertise in Airline Start Ups and turn around, which has led to some of the most successful transformation and cost reduction programme in the Aviation industry.
“The Transaction Advisers have all commenced work and are liaising with the Project Delivery Team to outline Business Case for adopting PPP methodology.
“They are to develop a well-structured PPP procurement process and select a PPP Partner.
“This is not the first time the transaction advisers are starting the job, they have been on ground but because the Nigerian public are eager to know them.
“We decided to unveil them and let them talk to the stakeholders.
“People want to know if those advisers are legally engaged, whether due process was followed in accordance with the ICRC regulations and like you heard from ICRC person, we followed the due process,’’ he said.
Mr Noggie Meggison, Chairman, Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), urged the Transaction Advisers to always engage the stakeholders in the processes of all the projects.
Meggison pointed out that the existing facilities owned by some private companies in the country like MRO should be taken into consideration when establishing a new one.
He called for a win-win situation for all stakeholders in the industry, while urging the government to reconsider its position on the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) initiative.
According to him, it is good to sign an open sky agreement but the government must look at it to see how the country can take advantage of it.
Mr Ilitrus Ahmadu, National President, Air Transport Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSAN), said the forum had afforded them opportunity to see how they could grow the industry.
Ahmadu urged the government to come to the rescue of Aero Contactors to save jobs through Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), adding that government could do more.
He explained that their earlier stance against the concession of airport was borne out of their struggle to save their jobs.
“Our primary concern is the welfare of our members because we don’t want to go the way of the Nigerian Airways workers.
“Let the concession be the model that suits everybody’s interest and we intend to engage the transaction advisers for the various projects,’’ he said.
The Minister unveiled the Transaction Advisers for the national carrier, establishment of Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility, Agro-allied and Cargo Terminals, Development of Aerotropolis (Airport Cities) and Establishment of an Aviation Leasing Company.