Just after the regulatory body Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) told the House of Representative Committee on Aviation that there is a dearth of technical manpower in the industry and that the Civil Aviation Authority is in competition with operators to keep technical manpower.
NCAA announced it has reached a compromise with the country’s airline operators to ensure that debts owed the agency are reconciled and a payment plan agreed on that would be favourable to all concerned.
Director General of the NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu who made these known said: ” We had a meeting with the operators on issues of debt collection; we have met with them and have agreed on reconciliation and a payment plan. We do not expect that all the money owed will be paid immediately because of the difficulty ushered in by the pandemic but we have put a payment plan that would be favourable to us and to the airlines, we will continue to sit down with them in an open, transparent and friendly manner.”
Recall, at the just concluded Senate Public Hearing, the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika disclosed that Nigerian airlines operators are owing a staggering US$6, 993, 284 million and N19, 365, 374,336 billion as non remittance of Ticket Sales Charge (TSC) and (CSC) collected on behalf of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), a thorny subject for some airlines.
On the competition for technical staff, Captain Nuhu said that the situation although critical was not synonymous with Nigerians alone as the regulators needed to try and meet remuneration of operators pilots and engineers to enable them carry out their regulatory function.
The DG also explained that training for the inspectors and other regulatory staff are key to the agency and that was why they needed funding to ensure continuous training and retraining of manpower especially pilots and engineers.
“We are in competition with airlines for staff. It is a global problem and we need to get staff and give them good remuneration so they can stay and do the job
Captain Nuhu further said, “Sincerely we do not have capital projects like FAAN or NAMA but we need to train and retrain and keep abreast with the trends of the industry especially in the area of Information Communication and Technology (ICT).
The DG also said that between now and 2024, it will be developing all its regional offices providing adequate training, manpower to ensure that the regulatory agency provides its services in all nooks and cranny of the country.
He said the need to develop regional offices became important in an effort to reduce the cumbersome nature of centralized regulation stating that with the region, the NCAA would not only be decentralized but ensure that service gets to airlines in every region they call base or hub and not just Lagos and Abuja.
He said, ” We are empowering five regional offices to ensure the job in smaller areas gets done and they do not have to refer to Lagos or Abuja. It brings regulation closer to the operators outside Lagos and Abuja opening more regional offices in the far reaches of the country.
” Already Port Harcourt takes care of the south East and south-south buyer are looking at opening a regional office in Enugu for the South East. We are looking at another one in either Maiduguri or Yola for the North East, Ilorin for the middle-belt and Uyo or Calabar for the South-South.”
Reacting, the Chairman House Committee on Aviation, Honourable Nnaji Nnaji said the House was on its oversight function and would look at what the NCAA has done and intends to do with what has been allocated and would be allocated to them
He also commended the NCAA for a job well done especially during the peak of the pandemic and how the regulatory agency handled it.