AON Excited, Commends FG Over Duty Waivers On Aircraft, Spares


Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) has lauded the Federal Government over the immediate response in the removal of seven percent sur­charge on imported aircraft and spares.

The operators also com­mended the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) for the swift im­plementation of the directive by the government.

Mr. Allen Onyema, the Vice Chairman of AON, in an inter­view with aviation journalists on Wednesday in Lagos said the waiver had further boosted the performance of the indigenous airline operators.

Onyema, who is also the Chairman of Air Peace, also frowned at a media distortion of the proceedings in the interac­tive forum at the Senate on July 6, 2021, when he made presenta­tion on behalf of the airlines on the challenges facing the airline sub-sector in the country.

According to him, an online medium reported the meeting as an issue concerning Air Peace alone and brought ethnic dimension to it, which he de­scribed as highly condemnable.

Onyema explained that the Senate Committee on Aviation heldaninteractivemeeting with all aviation agencies in Nigeria led by the Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, together with allNigerianairlinesrepresented bytheAONleadershipinwhich he represented the association as vice president and made pre­sentation on behalf of the body.

“The meeting was called by the Senate to discuss the rea­sons for the recent upsurge in flight delays and flight cancella­tions amongst other issues and challenges facing the aviation industry. It was on this occasion that AON made its presentation of challenges facing all the air­lines. Our member airlines were present but we made an articulated collective presenta­tion to the Senate, which I read as the vice chairman on behalf of the association,” he further explained.

“It was on this occasion that AON presented the issue of the partial implementation of the Finance Act 2020 which prohibits the payment of duties and VAT on imported aircraft and aircraft spares by the Cus­toms Service. Of note, was the presence of a seven percent sur­charge on the assessed duties which was not supposed to be. This caused delays in the clear­ance of aircraft and aircraft spares leading to grounding of aircraft that would have been flying,” he explained.

The AON vice chairman stated that after the Senate meeting, the airlines contacted the Ministers of Finance and Aviation on the aforementioned challenges, stressing that “as representatives of a responsible government, the two ministers swung into action immediately.

“AON, for the avoidance of doubt, commends the Federal Government for its unflinching support for the growth of indig­enous investments in Nigeria. This was very evident in the manner the government got this challenge addressed imme­diately within 48 hours to the joy of the airlines.

“We equally commend the Nigeria Customs Service for also assisting the airlines, in­cluding but not limited to Air Peace which was used as an ex­ample, in getting their aircraft spares and aircraft released. Our planes have since started flying,” he said.

Onyema said since July 7, 2021, airlines had been clearing their aircraft spares and aircraft without having to pay any seven percent surcharge.

“It is therefore very mischie­vous for any media outfit to be circulating videos of the pre­sentation of AON complaints made on July 6, two weeks after the said presentation and two weeks after the issues had been resolved, as though they are still existing.

“The target of the sponsors of this falsehood is the Federal Government of President Mu­hammadu Buhari. I person­ally frown at the ethnic angle currently circulating in the social media that the ‘Fulani’ is destroying Air Peace.

“Those who want the coun­try to go up in turmoil will never stop fanning divisive falsehood. The video was deliberately doctored to show only my face while obscuring the presence of the entire Senate committee members, Minister of Avia­tion and the leadership of all aviation agencies in Nigeria. The target here is also me. No amount of deliberate intimida­tion, blackmail and falsehood will deter me from standing up for peace and unity in my coun­try. This has been my life since my childhood.”  




Read the Source post on Independent Newspaper Nigeria.

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