By ‘Dotun Akintomide
Following the federal government’s decision, suspending the National career project, Nigeria Air, Gombe State Governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo has alleged that over N1.2bn of tax payers’ money might have been expended on the said project.
Reacting to the shock development that has grounded the project before take-off, Governor Dankwambo on his twitter handle stated that rather than pilfer away such a huge amount of state resources, the said money should be been invested in education and health development across the country.
A whooping sum of ₦1.2Billion tax payers money wasted on the National Carrier Project, the Nigeria Air. Money that should have been invested in Education and Healthcare development. Our party must present a better alternative for Nigerians in 2019. We can’t continue like this.
— Governor Dankwambo (@HEDankwambo) September 19, 2018
Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Serika, had on Wednesday suspended the proposed new national carrier, Nigeria Air.
Sirika did not give the reason for the Federal Executive Council action.
On 18th July, Sirika unveiled the logo of the proposed airline on the sideline of the Farnborough International Air Show in UK.
The colour is green white green, while the logo is Eagle. Sirika said the country was finally on track to inaugurating the national flag carrier to commence operations before the end of the year.
“Following the extensive market research, the branding of our new airline, Nigeria Air, demonstrates a true flag carrier of our nation, soaring through the skies in the shape of our nation’s eagle.
“The Nigerian Government will support the launch of the new flag carrier with viability gap funding, in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement to deliver a national flag carrier.
“It will be guided by the international ICAO standards, that will stand the IOSA audit from the start, and lead to a fast IATA membership for international operation,” he said.
A week after, he clarified that Nigeria would not pay 300 million dollars for a five per cent stake in the proposed airline.
The minister said the eight million dollars to be provided by the Federal Government represented the startup capital for offices and other facilities required for takeoff.
He added that the 300 million dollars was the entire airline cash flow funding requirements for aircraft, operations and working capital for three years 2018 to 2020.
According to him, this funding can be in the form of equity or debt.
“The financial model estimates cash flow requirements as follows: 2018 – 55 million dollars, 8 million is included here; 2019 – 100 million dollars and 2020 – 145 million dollars.
“In order to ensure take-off of the airline in 2018, the government will provide $55 million upfront grant/viability gap funding to finance startup capital and pay commitment fees for aircraft to be leased for initial operations and deposit for new aircraft whose delivery will begin in 2021.”