Friday 12 October 2012

Recent developments in Aviation Industry in Nigeria.

By Honorable Datti Yakubu

We read with dismay, the press statement credited to the Secretaries of National Joint Aviation Unions on recent developments in the Nigerian aviation industry. We do not intend to trade words with the authors of the said document but it is important to set the records straight, so that the public, especially aviation stakeholders, will not be misled. We therefore, wish to state as follows:

That the current automation of revenue collection in the aviation agencies is a positive, modern and beneficial way of revenue collection endorsed by the management of all the aviation agencies. It is on record that before the current Minister of Aviation assumed office, some of the agencies had commenced automation, largely because it ensured the blockage of all leakages in the process and made revenue collection easier and transparent.
The Honorable Minister of Aviation has not concession automation, a has been disingenuously alleged by the union leaders. The Minister issued a policy that required that revenue points be automated at all the Ministry’s agencies and parastatals in order to curb severe revenue leakages. As a result, the agencies instructed their major revenue bank, First Bank, to spearhead this automation on a contractual basis that allows the bank to invest up-front in the equipment, hardware and software to run the system and to be remunerated for this over a period.
This saved the agencies from having to make a major up-front investment in this critical service. It must be placed on record that the unions never saved the agencies and the ministry any money as they claimed to have done with their ‘intervention’. The automation was never going to cost the agencies any up front investment! Their allegations that the airports re-modelling exercise did not follow due process are baseless, to say the least. 
Suffice to say that Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria(FAAN) is not just involved in the projects, the Authority is also the engine room of the projects and due process was indeed followed, as could be verified by relevant government agencies. With respect to the restructuring exercise that just took place in the agencies, it is the
prerogative of the minister and the management of the agencies, on behalf of the Federal Government, to carry out the necessary changes that are required to ensure that the agenda of Government are delivered. 
The structural changes in FAAN were necessary and this was clearly explained to all the staff of FAAN, through a letter to staff written personally by the Managing Director, Mr George Uriesi and made public.It must be stated that the structural changes in FAAN will not mean an expansion in the size of the organization.
The organization will just get more efficient and productive with proper redeployment of the available human resources to achieve the most important strategic objectives of the Authority.In the process of this structural change, hardworking  officers in the agencies whose promotions were stagnated were promoted, some were transferred to places where they could be more productive, while new hands with adequate experience and expertise were injected to strengthen the agencies. We are aware that certain elements within the industry are not comfortable with these changes and have sworn to resist same. 
We note specially that for years, some leaders of the unions have used their position as union officials to build empires in Lagos and therefore will resist any transfers or redeployment. It is necessary to state that the union leaders are, first of all, employees before becoming union leaders and are subject to the same conditions of service like other employees. The virulent, foul, uncouth and offensive language employed by the union leaders on the Honorable Minister and those who have been appointed at senior level to help drive the transformation effort at the agencies, is deeply regrettable. It is a great pity that staff of the Federal Government can display such wanton disregard and grossly disrespectful behavior to their constituted authority.

The unfortunate allegation that the Honorable Minister has used the restructuring exercise to deliberately get rid of staff of a particular ethnic profile lacks any merit whatsoever and is tantamount to cheap blackmail. In fact, the Honorable Minister, in consultation with the agency CEOs ensured that in all instances, appropriate square pegs were placed in square holes, irrespective of where they came from in the country. This is a correction of the
previous situation where round pegs had been imposed in square holes in the past. It is pertinent to wonder why there were no similar protests from these same unions in the past when lopsided and irregular external appointments were made that are responsible for the sorry state from which these agencies are now being rescued. Was it because key officials of these unions were favored by such lopsided appointments then? The only interest here was to establish professional, capable and efficient agencies. We believe that this restructuring exercise will re-position the agencies correctly 

Hon. Dati Yakubu is the General Manager, Corporate Communications of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria(FAAN)


Post a Comment