Fear of impending mass retrenchment and redeployment of staff in key aviation parastatals is now giving managers and employees sleepless nights as the Federal Government plans to implement a restructuring programme to make them more efficient and to contribute more to its revenue.
An industry source which confirmed the possibility of imminent purge in the sector was however hopeful the apprehension already generated by the proposed action would not affect workers productivity. “There is the strong likelihood of a downsizing of workforce and changes in the leadership of some parastatals,” a top official of the Aviation Ministry told Daily Sun. It said that government’s plan is to make the sector contribute more to the GDP as its current 1.4 per cent contribution is too muniscal compared to its peers around the globe.
“The current managements in the major parastatals were inaugurated by former President Goodluck Jonathan, and there is this trend in the industry for a new regime to get its own men on ground to achieve its plans for the economy. Except for the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) whose Director General/CEO passed through the screening of the National Assembly, Buhari has the liberty to fire the rest of the CEOs,’ the source said.
Parastatals whose CEOs could be affected in the impending reforms include, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), National Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET) the Accident, Investigation and Prevention Bureau (AIPB) and the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT). It was also learnt that other staff with allegations of graft in their files may be shown the way out as the government moves to sanitise the sector.
“It is the usual thing in the industry; a new government comes in with its own vision and then it wants to change those in management positions it inherited from the previous government to achieve its aspirations,” said a spokesperson for one of the agencies.
“So there is nothing like the fear that President Buhari could make those changes. He has the liberty to choose his own team,” the official who would not want to be named said.
Shortly after being sworn, Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi embarked on a tour of the airports and major parastatals where he met with top officials to register government’s displeasure with the industry’s 1.41 per cent contribution to national GDP.
Amaechi said for a sector that plays a major role in the nation’s development, the government’s new vision was anchored on“ an urgent need to exploit the opportunities within the sector to improve its revenue contribution to the national economy.
A drastic reduction in the global price of crude oil in recent months has seen Nigeria’s economy which is hugely dependent on oil dwindling in revenue. This negative trend, leaves President Muhammadu Buhari’s government with no other option than to look to other dormant non-oil sector, like aviation, for improved revenue generation to boost the falling income.