Hadi Sirika, minister of aviation, says the federal government has approved the sum of N4 billion as bailout funds for airlines to cushion the effects of COVID-19 on the country’s aviation industry.
Appearing before the senate committee on aviation on Monday, Sirika noted that most of the airlines are having challenges paying workers’ salaries.
The minister appeared before the panel in respect of a public hearing on the repeal and the reenactment of the laws establishing the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
The former legislator said the aviation sector is key to the development of any country in the world.
However, Smart Adeyemi, chairman of the aviation committee, said the amount given to the airlines “is very little”.
While calling for more funds for the sector, Adeyemi said the federal government must offer assistance to the airlines.
“[The] N4 billion is very little to solve some of the problems of the airlines who are battling to survive. We urge the government to take charge of the sector,” the Kogi senator.
“They need to give them more and they also need to support in all ways. The airlines are in business but we cannot continue to look at them without offering them assistance.
“I am not comparing Nigeria with the United States, but I think we can do better than the N4 billion we are assisting them with.”
Nigeria had to rework the 2020 budget to make provisions for some sectors of the economy after a drop in crude oil prices which was caused in part by the pandemic.