By Samson Echenim
- As Cabo Verde Airline enters Nigeria Dec.
Aviation expert, FataiAfolabi, has insisted that the Nigerian government review the country’s all existing Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA), with elements of double taxation in favour of local airlines.
Afolabisaid while Nigeria is no doubt a huge market and able to accommodate multiple airlines, the instability in local airlines businesses means that the government must help out with deliberate policies.
The frontline member of National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), was reacting to the planned entry of Cabo Verde Airlines into Nigerian market in December this year.
He told business a.m. that the Nigerian government should ensure that any airline coming to the country must be made to pay income tax accordingly.
He said, “As far as the Passenger Airline business is concerned Nigeria is a very huge market. And as such every airline wants to come and have a share of that huge market. The travelling public are better off for it. The presence of Air Maroc here for example, offered the travelling public a very cheap alternative to the understandably high fare European carriers.
“For the government, the off and on nature of airlines of Nigerian origin calls for serious concern. In view of that circumstance all existing Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) in which the Double Taxation Agreement is clearly spelt out should be reviewed. It is meant to be a reciprocal relationship which has been to the disadvantage of Nigeria since the absence of a national carrier or any airline bearing her flag. Any airline coming here must be made to pay income tax accordingly.”
He however, advised Nigerian airlines to concentrate on local market and regional operations until they become stronger for international competition.
“Nigerian airlines should concentrate on local and West Coast operations and stabilise before venturing into other continents. That will take about five to 10 years of successful local and west coast operations. The rush for overseas operations when they are not yet grounded locally is one of the bane of Nigerian airlines,” he said.