The Minister of State Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika has said the federal government neither spent $8.8m nor N1.2bn on the suspended National Carrier, Nigeria Air.
The Minister who addressed stakeholders yesterday in Abuja at the 5th Aviation Stakeholders Forum described the reports in some quarters that he spent those sums on the Nigeria Air project as baseless and malicious.
He said so far the commitment to contactors on the Nigeria Air project is less than N100 million adding that the commitments are for the Transaction advisers, branding and participation at the Farnborough Air Show in London, where the colour scheme, name and logo were revealed.
Recall the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had suspended the Nigeria Air project temporary but the Minister said the procurement stage of the airline will soon commence.
“There is a about N50 million and another N40 million expenditure. People have been saying that we spent $8.8m on the national carrier. Its unfounded, malicious, lazy work of some people who are not seeing anything good in what we are doing as government” he said.
“I have the duty to state the record straight. We have not spent N1.2bn. we have not spent $600,000 to create a logo” he said. He reiterated that the “national carrier is suspended, not killed and it’s ongoing. We will announce the next cause of action soon” he assured.
He said the entire process of the national carrier followed all due process. “The transaction adviser for National Carrier coordinated the campaign and provided the additional services that included the development of the brand strategy and the media activities relating to the unveiling of the Airline.
Due process was followed in the branding, which included obtaining “No Objection” Certificate” he said. He also explained that “Government was not to spend $300 million. However a Viability Gap Funding of $155 million was required in accordance with the outline business case.
This does not represent the proposed 5 percent equity holding”” he said. He explained further that the $300m funding requirements stipulated in the Outline Business Case was to be spent for a period of three years. These comprise $55m initial startup capital made up of $25m dollar for aircraft deployment and $30m for working capital from June to December 2018.
He added that another $100m was estimated to be spent in 2019 as a kind of slush fund to provide buffer for the investments if the private sector.
He noted that with the planned $25m deposit, aircraft manufacturers, Boeing, had indicated interest in providing 30 aircraft starting with 15.