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NIGERIA: Oduah Denies Incurring N174bn Debt

The media reports alleging that the Ministry of Aviation under the immediate past Minister of Aviation, Ms. Stella Oduah, incurred a debt of about N174 billion under the aviation master plan, have been described as false.
 
The Special Assistant to the former minister, Dr. Daniel Tarka, who noted in a statement yesterday that with such allegation “nothing can be further from the truth,” advised that the current managers of the sector should “exploit these well-laid foundations that were left behind by the former minister and her team” to optimise the revenue generation potential of the sector.
 
   This came as the House of Representatives also directed the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to recover the controversial N225 million paid from its coffer for the acquisition of the bulletproof cars that were purchased during the tenure of the former Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah.
 
According to him, the agenda of the aviation master plan pursued by the former minister was for the transformation of the aviation sector such that the industry would be self-sustaining by 2016; and begin to yield additional revenue for government through improved Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
 
He said it was in the bid to achieve the goal that the minister, during her tenure ,embarked on the upgrade and rehabilitation of the 22 federal airports across the country under the Airport Remodelling Programme (ARP).
 
“As part of measures to effectively implement the master plan, several sources of funding were identified. These include, (i) annual budgetary allocations; (ii) IGR, including airport development levy and security surcharge, (iii) Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) funds, (iv) low interest loans, among others.
 
“Besides the statutory approvals, the ministry designed the projects with in-built capacities to generate funds without having to place any further financial burden on the federal government within the period,” stressing that: “These projects were not designed to start and end in 2013, and so, were not tied to the 2013 budget alone.”
 
Tarka explained that since the master plan was conceptualised to be implemented as a process and not a destination, its projection of revenue streams within its life span was such that all projects would be adequately financed from budgetary allocations and the identified revenue sources; with the high possibility of surpluses that can subsequently be deployed for the repayment of the loans on maturity after the period of moratorium.
He therefore emphasised that the question of liabilities does  not arise.
 
Rather, he stated that: “We are convinced that an efficient and effective implementation of the master plan would guarantee the realisation of these revenue projections, facilitate the seamless implementation of the projects and ensure the rapid development of the sector into a net revenue earner for the government within the next three years.”
 
Meanwhile, the House committee had on Monday embarked on oversight functions of Federal Ministry of Aviation and Nanamdi Azikwe Airport, Abuja as well as Nigerian Metrological Agency (NIMET).
 
The directive, according to an online news medium,   Emperornewspaper.com, was issued by Nkiruka Onyejeocha, Chairman of the House Committee on Aviation during an oversight visit to Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos.
 
She said that NCAA had no business  keeping the cars stressing that the contract terms between NCAA and Cosharis Motors should be terminated and recover the paid sum from the supplier.
 
Onyejeocha said: “What we said about the bullet proof cars is that, that contract should be cancelled that they don’t have any business keeping the cars, it should be returned to the supplier and then recover our money.”
 
The lawmaker, reiterated the House resolution on the scandal, maintained that due process was not followed before the purchase of the bulletproof armoured cars.
She added that the House “recommended that they should cancel the contract and recover our money, so those cars are not supposed to be parked, therefore, send the cars to the seller.”
 
Speaking earlier, Benedict Adeliyela, acting NCAA Director General disclosed that the controversial bulletproof cars were parked at the NCAA’s office in Abuja.

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