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High Taxes Affect Nigerian Airlines

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Airline operators of Nige
ria (AON) have warned that if government does not rescind the policy of multiple taxation on local airlines, many of them would go under as it has happened many times in the past.
The operators said that as at today no airline in the country is making profit and many of them are existing on the fringes as they struggle to fund their operations and pay their personnel.
According to them, considering the crucial role air transport plays in the economy of the nation, government should urgently take action by stopping the multi taxation and also remove landing and packing charges for airlines’ operational bases.
They also commended government for removing custom duty on imported aircraft and parts but added that the waiver is not enough because the airlines’ domestic routes are being taking away by foreign airlines that operate into many airports in the country.
AON therefore, demanded that government remove the Value Added Tax (VAT) and other taxes like landing and parking charges as well as review aeronautical charges which they argued domestic airlines should not be paying in the first place.
The Deputy Managing Director and Head of Flight Operations of Arik Air, Captain Ado Sanusi, said that issues of multiple taxation should be tackled in order to assist the airlines sustain their operations.
“The issue should be talked and there are so many incentives that should be given to airlines that are coming up in order to protect and encourage them grow. If you look at the airlines that have been very successful in the world, they have protection and they were given government backing  to grow before they were allowed to compete with international carriers.
“So it is extremely important that government makes deliberate policies in protecting the industry and also allowing the airlines to grow, it should be in the interest of government to have viable airlines flying in the country,”   Sanusi said.
The Managing Director of Jed Air and the Executive Chairman of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Captain Nogie Meggison, described the high taxes as unfair especially the VAT, which he said domestic carriers are the only subsector in the transport industry that pay such tax.
According to him, the Nigerian constitution says VAT should not be paid on Transportation, aviation is the only sector paying VAT in Nigeria. Any other transportation, road, rail, maritime does not pay VAT, only Aviation pays VAT. The International carriers have been able to defend against paying it and government gave them waiver not to pay.
So the International carriers are also not paying VAT, only the domestic carriers pays. W e pay VAT, passenger service charge and five per cent charges to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and we also pay charges to the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), so, how many taxes are we going to pay?.”

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COVID-19: Arik Airline Sacks 300 Staff

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At least 300 staff of Arik Air have been relieved of their appointments by the airline’s management.

This was announced in a statement by the airline on Friday.
It blamed the sacking on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
The press statement was titled, “Arik Air management declares 300 staff redundant”.
The company explained that a redundancy package would be provided for the affected workers with the help of the aviation unions.
The statement read in part, “Arising from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to the constrained ability of the airline to complete heavy maintenance activities and return its planes to operations, stunted revenues against increasing operational costs, the management of Arik Air (In Receivership) has declared 300 staff members redundant to its current level of operations.
“The leadership of the impacted unions has been contacted to negotiate a redundancy package for the affected staff.”
The airline added that over 50 per cent of its workforce of over 1,600 staff have been on furlough in the past six months.
In a separate statement also forwarded to our correspondent by its Public Relations and Communications Manager, Banji Ola, the airline apologised to passengers whose travel plans were disrupted by the protest carried out by the National Union of Air Transport Employees on December 3, 2020.
The picketing disrupted operations in Lagos and prevented the airline from processing passengers at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Domestic Terminal 1 and 2.

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S’East Leaders Laud FG Over EndSARS

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South-East leaders on Saturday, lauded the Federal Government on the matured and responsive manner it handled all issues relating to the EndSARS protest and agitation.
The leaders of the zone, which included Governors, Senators, House of Representatives members as well as traditional, religious and youth leaders, gave the commendation in a communiqué issued after their meeting with a Presidential delegation in Enugu.
The presidential delegation was led by Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, who is the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We thank President Buhari for the speed and restraint with which he handled the EndSARS protest, which has engendered peace throughout the country, especially the South-East.
“We, therefore, request the President to look into demands of various groups and youths with a view to resolving them,’’ the statement, which was read by the Chairman of South-East Governors’ Forum, Governor Dave Umehi, said.
It also called for joint operation by security agencies and local vigilant groups into all forests in the zone to flush out criminals and killer herdsmen with AK47 rifles.
“But we pledge our commitment to continuous coexistence with peaceful herdsmen who have been living peacefully with us.
“We stand for an indivisible and united Nigeria, built on love, fairness, equity and justice. We believe that under this platform – NIGERIA; we are bigger and stronger,’’ it said.
It also called on the Federal Government to continue its support and diplomatic push for the former Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to be elected as the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
The statement thanked the Federal Government for the timely interventions in Akanu Ibiam International Airport rehabilitation as well as intervention in road infrastructures in the zone.
“We are grateful for the attention given to the second Niger Bridge and completion and inauguration of the Zik’s mausoleum.
“However, we urge the Federal Government to give attention to the completion of the current road projects within the zone,’’ it said.
The statement said that the states in the zone will provide money for the compensation for those affected by the EndSARS protest, help to rebuild police stations and their logistics; while engaging the youths constantly to forestall any violent development in the zone.
“We have plans to set up various empowerment programmes to gainfully engage the youths. The governors also plan to mainstream the youths in their governance to give them a sense of belonging.

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Minister Hails Meeting With S’East Leaders

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The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has described as “extremely fruitful” the meeting which a presidential team had with leaders and stakeholders of the South-East.
“The meeting of the presidential delegation with South-East leaders was very useful,’’ Mohammed told journalists on Sunday in Enugu.
The delegation, led by Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, met for more than eight hours in Enugu with selected South-East leaders.
Mohammed said that it was quite instructive that all the groups which took part in the meeting believed in the unity and oneness of the country, pointing out that they clearly spelt out this in their presentations.
“We listened clearly and carefully to all the positions and demands and we are going back to report directly to President Buhari,’’ the minister said.
He noted that the Federal Government had been spreading development and infrastructure to all parts of the country, simultaneously and equitably.
“We want the South-East people to be confident that the Federal Government is spreading development and infrastructure to all parts of the country equitably and will never marginalise any zone in the ongoing development and infrastructure agenda.
“This is what I want to assure Nigerians living in the South-East,’’ Mohammed noted.
According to the minister, when the team gets back to Abuja it will see what can be done immediately concerning some of the positions and demands made by the South-East leaders.
The presidential delegation met with South-East governors, statesmen, elders, religious and traditional leaders, as well as market women and youth leaders.

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