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The Senate Committee on Aviation, which gave the directive for suspension of the charges, also directed the agency and private jet owners to convene a meeting where consensus charges would be adopted in line with the Civil Aviation Act, 2006.
The directive was given at a tripartite meeting organized by the Committee in Abuja on Monday to resolve the contentious charges imposed by NAMA on private jets owners in the country.
By this development, NAMA would now revert to the old charges. The agency was charging $3000 for those registered abroad and $2000 for locally-registered ones.
There are about 87 jets registered overseas while 57 others were registered in Nigeria.
Bala Na’Allah, who represented the airlines at the parley said the charges were discriminatory, adding that they breached the Civil Aviation Act of 2006.
According to him, the Act provides that private jet operators should be consulted before new fees regimes are introduced.
“We want to be led by the rule of law. NCAA did not consult us before imposing levies on us. We are urging the senators to impress upon the NCAA to always carry us along through consultations because section 70 (1) C of the act did not allow them to do whatever will be detrimental to the nation,” he said.
“For every take off, we are paying $2, 500 why are we paying in dollars when it is not our local currency in the country and NAMA did not see anything bad in implementing such discriminatory policy.
“It is discriminatory for NCAA to charge different levies for scheduled and non scheduled aircrafts. The law recommends payments either in local or hard currency but NAMA do not collect Naira.”
However, the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of NAMA, Nnamdi Udoh, denied the claim that the agency compelled the operators to pay charges in dollars.
According to him, “They (operators) are also at liberty to pay in Naira. Payment in dollars is at their liberty. The provision of section 30 was being used in the past to collect levies. The charges would make them to ensure sanity.
“Before the new one-stop-shop payment, we were charging navigation, landing, parking and terminal navigation levies but services being offered in Nigeria must also conform to international best practices.
“They don’t pay five percent charges out of the revenues they make. Safety is not cheap, the new levies are desirable because we have to maintain standards at all times.”
The NAMA MD alleged that some private jet owners had abused their licenses to engage in fraudulent commercial air operations.
Statistics showed that the Federal Government loses about $15 billion annually to private jet owners who operate commercial charter operations with their airplanes.