Despite indefinite suspension, FG budgets N8.7bn for national carrier


A total of N8.7 billion was budgeted for Nigeria Air, the national carrier, in the proposed 2019 budget.
This is despite the indefinite suspension placed on the project by the federal government.
The logo of the airline had been unveiled in July 2018 by Hadi Sirika, minister of state for aviation, at the Farnborough International Airshow in London only to be suspended indefinitely in September.
Checks made showed that N8 billion was allocated to working capital for the national carrier. This was a new addition to the budget of the ministry of transportation.
Another N500 million was allocated to the appointment of transaction advisers and N200 million allocated to consultancy for the establishment of the national carrier.
Both projects are continued from the 2018 budget.
Speaking on the reason for the indefinite suspension of the project, Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, had said it was suspended due to investor apathy.
“If the understanding of government at the beginning was that the project might be self-financing or the project would be financed by investors and you think that such a project can no longer be sponsored by investors, either because they are not forthcoming or such venture can no longer be viable, the government is at the discretion to take a decision,” he said in September.
“The position of government in business is to provide the enabling environment and it is not to become the sole source of finance or funding and in addition, there is much more than funding in trying to get our national carrier.
“So, the federal government thinks this thing should be stepped down now until we get a better funding structure.”