Govt bureaucracy killing aviation – NUATE

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Nigerian Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika

…Workers’ remunerations poor

By Adegboyega Oni

National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) says the aviation industry in Nigeria would not record the desire economic growth once the human capacity development in all aviation regulation agencies is still at the whims and caprice of the federal government bureaucracy.

The union noted that air inspectors from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) are not at par with airline pilots they inspect because of over interference of government on human capacity development of these agencies which is not in line with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards.

The NAUTE Secretary General, Mr. Ocheme Aba in a chat with PortNews in Lagos, described the development as unfortunate as take-home packages of these air inspectors are far below what airline pilots earn, advising government to reduce its involvement and allow NCAA and NAMA to charge of human capacity development in accordance with ICAO standards.

Ocheme noted that aviation is global and Nigeria’s aviation cannot be localized or detached from the global standards as set by ICAO, saying ‘’human capacity development in our industry must march up with the ICAO Standards. Continuous government’s involvement in training and retraining of air inspectors by these agencies won’t help the industry to grow. The industry cannot be localized; it is necessary for government to reduce its bureaucracy and allow the agencies to handle their human capacity development in line with ICAO. Our air inspectors must earn at par, if not above, air pilots in the country.‘’                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Ocheme noted that the welfare of air employees is a big challenge and are not well remunerated due to various events such as terrorism, slide in economy which have affected the fortunes of the industry globally. ‘’Aviation is an upscale industry; when such things happen, workers bear the brunt. We have not been having it ease as companies have not negotiated good working conditions of service for workers. It is a big challenge getting conditions of service negotiated at government agencies especially NCAA and NAMA. And that was the reason for our recent picketing of NCAA. We have begun moves to do same at NAMA,’’ said he.

On airport concession, the NUATE scribe said the union was not against concession as it would create more employments. According to him, ‘’there are many questions on the concession which government has failed to answer. Is it the terminals which have since been conceded to private operators that they want to re-privatise? Or the tarmacs? What is their plan for workers? Government is yet to present its plans on privatization as regards workers to the union and we have been shouting.’’

Speaking personality on the reappointment of Hadi Zirika as the substantive minister of aviation, Ocheme maintained that the minister did well in his first term as a lot of projects beneficial to the industry were carried out in key agencies of the government.

According to him, ‘’we look forward to positive development in the coming years with the hope that we can anchor our national air carrier, achieve aerotropolis and attain economic stability in the industry.’’           

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