DUNOMA ASKS FG TO RELAX TAX POLICY AT AIRPORTS TO MAKE FAAN MORE PROFITABLE

If there is any albatross the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) wants removed for it to become more efficient and profitably run, it is the burden of multiple taxation on its customers operating at the various airports across the country.

This was the position of the agency’s Managing Director, Engineer Saleh Dunoma, who lamented that government policy, currently in place, favours high and multiple tax charges by those doing business at the airports and therefore would want a review of such a policy in line with the Executive Order.

The FAAN boss, in a paper titled: “Attracting Investment: Role of Government and Industry Players,” argued that unless the government evolved sound and consistent aviation policies especially ones that will lower taxes payable by industry players, it will be difficult to attract investors at the airports.

The MD’s speech was read by FAAN’s Director of Commercial and Business Development, Mr Sadiku Rafindadi at a forum organised recently by Abuja Transport and Aviation Correspondents (ATACA).

According to the FAAN boss, the issue of high and multiple taxation by airport users and investors is capable of inhibiting direct investment at the airports, a development which can impede the productivity of the agency that manages airports across the country.

“There is need for government to review aviation its policies in order to guarantee reliability and trust to contractual agreements especially on airport concession and leases such that the sector can attract investment to the airports,” he said.

Specific areas where he said investment can be attracted include the Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facilities, development agro allied cargo infrastructures, template for airport concessioning as well as the establishment of national carrier, among others, will attract right investment and funding if the right policies are in place.

The government, he said, is seen as an enabler that should create an enabling and well regulated environment capable of attracting the right industrial players to invest in the nation’s aviation sector, pointing out that Nigeria, by virtue of its population and size, is a good investment destination by foreign investors. He, however, noted that investors are hamstrung by inconsistent policies that could trap their investment.

Engineer Dunoma was of the opinion that the challenge of multiple taxation accounts for high insurance premium underwriters put on asset financing in the country’s aviation sector especially as it affects aircraft leasing, terminal management and other businesses.

“The nation’s aviation sector will do better if all these issues are properly harnessed into consistent and sound civil aviation regulations that will ensure low aeronautical charge regime, a development that will result in profitability on the part of airport managers,” the FAAN boss further explained.

He however had a word for the aviation industry to form cluster that would encourage government’s attention to issues of financing regulations, policy and aeronautical charges to sustain the growth of the industry.

According to Engineer Dunoma, the local industrial players could pool their resources and skills together in order to attract investors to set up aircraft, for instance, an aircraft maintenance centres to reduce hard earned currencies expended on aircraft maintenance overseas.

In a related development, the Presidency has commended FAAN for improving upon facilities at our airports and its services particularly at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja in line with the Executive Order aimed at doing government business with ease.

In a paper titled “Servicom and Citizens’ Satisfaction,” the National Coordinator and Chief Executive Officer, Servicom, in the Presidency, Mrs Nnenna Akajemali, noted that FAAN has made significant improvement in passenger facilitation, the airports cooling system and toilet facilitiesat both Abuja and Lagos airports.

Mrs Akajemali, who spoke at this year’s Servicom’s Customer Service Week in Lagos recently, argued that it was only the adequate provision of facilities and effective customer service delivery that would guarantee passenger satisfaction, trust good and seamless experience.

For the improved services of FAAN especially in the areas of provision of facilities and quality service delivery to become a culture of excellence, the staff should listen to passengers, understand the situation of the customers and make sure they act as experts in the products and services offered the public.

She therefore called on the management and staff of FAAN to consolidate on the gains of the execution of the Executive Order to ensure that the transformation of the Lagos and Abuja airports is replicated at all airports across the country managed by the Agency.

Speaking on this year’s theme, “Building Trust,” the FAAN MD/ CEO, Engineer Saleh Dunoma said the only way to succeed is to carry out business seamlessly in order to build trust in airport users.

“Building trust in our customers and within us are essential ways to make the Executive Order make its mark in this dispensation,” he emphasised.