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Recession: No bailout for the aviation sector – Senate

The Senate rejected the suggestion that bailout fund be made available to airline operators in the country, voted against it when Saraki raised the issue

The Senate has, on Wednesday, rejected the suggestion that bailout fund be made available to airline operators in the country.

The senators voted against it when the Senate President, Bukola Saraki raised the bailout issue.

Speaking against the bailout, Senator Ibrahim Gobir (APC, Sokoto) said that the airline operators should rather seek for soft loan from financial institutions.

He maintained that the N350bn bailout fund previously given to the sector was not properly utilised.

Senator Samuel Anyanwu had earlier requested the federal government to grant bailout fund to airline operators.

Senator Anyanwu made the appeal in a motion tagged “The looming crisis in the Nigerian aviation industry.”

The Senator argued that the aviation sector is dying, citing some Aero contractors, Medview , First Nation, Arik Air and some others as reference points.

He said: “A couple of weeks ago, Aero contractors, Medview , First Nation, Arik Air and some others, airlines suspended their operations as a result of poor economic activities and other surrounding factors affecting the industry”.

He added that the current economic recession had made the situation ever more critical.

The Senate, however, mandated its committee on aviation to liaise with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to look into problems facing the industry.

In another development, the Senate on Tuesday began probe into alleged Money Laundry of $13.9 billion involving President Muhammadu Buhari’s Minister of Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, for Mobile Telecommunication Limited (MTN) in collaboration with four banks.

The decision of the Senate was sequel to a motion sponsored by Senator Dino Melaye Who alleged that the money was moved out of the country between 2006 and 2016.

Leading the motion, Melaye‎ reeled off the names of other Nigerians whom he alleged were complicit in the act.

He said, “The senate notes with serious concern the repatriation of $13.92bn illegally out of Nigeria by Mobile Telecommunication Limited (MTN) through its‎ bankers between 2006 and 2016.

“Pained that these Nigerians, including a serving minister who MTN used in moving $13.92bn out of Nigeria, which is over 50 percent of our external reserves floated and incorporated offshore SPVs in Cayman Island, Mauritius and British Virgin Island.

“The minister of industry, trade and investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah, owner of CELTELCOM Investment Limited with address at No 608, St James, Denis Street Port-Lewis Mauritius purportedly claimed to invest in MTN on February 7, 2008, got certificate of capital importation and filled form A on the same date, closed his investment in Nigeria after receiving dollar payment‎ for repatriation to New York same day, Melaye alleged.

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