The National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) on Monday urged the Federal Government to pay outstanding entitlements of the defunct Nigeria Airways workers before inaugurating the new national carrier.
The union’s General Secretary, Mr Olayinka Abioye, made the appeal in an interview in Lagos.
Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, had recently said that the government would inject $8.8 million as start up capital for the new national carrier through a Public Private Partnership.
The carrier, which is expected to replace the defunct Nigeria Airways liquidated by former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration in September 2004, is expected to be unveiled before the end of the year.
According to Sirika, Nigeria will receive the first set of five airplanes for the airliner on Dec. 19.
Abioye, while applauding the government’s decision to midwife the take-off of the national carrier, said that the process could suffer setback if the government failed to settle the former workers.
According to him, NUATE and other aviation unions want the N45 billion approved for entitlements of the former Nigeria Airways workers by the Federal Executive Council to be paid to them as soon as possible.
The union official said it was wrong for the government to neglect the payment of the former workers while considering the establishment of a new national carrier.
Abioye appealed to President Muhammad Buhari to direct the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, to disburse funds for payment of the former workers to enable the new national carrier begin operation smoothly.
He said that it was disheartening that some of the former workers had died while waiting for the payment of their entitlements after serving Nigeria faithfully.
The government recently received the Outline Business Case (OBC) of compliance certificate from the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) for the establishment of the national carrier.
The OBC was developed by a consortium of transaction advisors which comprised of the Airline Management Group Ltd, Avia Solutions Ltd and Tianerro FZE, who were appointed in March 2018 by the government to midwife the process.