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N47bn for Nigeria Air in 2019 budget enough to attract investors—Expert

The fact that the Federal Government has given a human face to the nearly controversial national air carrier, Nigeria Air, by scaling appropriation for it from paltry N8.7bn to N47bn, will serve as a strong indication that the government is now ready to float an airline.
Business Hilights recalls that in the Outline Business Case (OBC) as approved by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), the airline remains a Public Private Partnership (PPP), with 95 per cent share pushed to investors while the government, which initially planned to own just five per cent stake, has scaled it up to 10 per cent after raising initial funding placement to N47bn.
In an interview, Lagos aviation lawyer, Mr. Ronald Ukodie, said “Many foreign investors who had earlier developed interest but later walked away did so based on poor funding and packaging platforms by the former Minister of State, Capt. Hadi Sirika.
Ukodie noted that even if the Federal Government may have as much as 10 per cent stake in the new national carrier, saying “We are hopeful the equity, already backed with at least N47 billion take-off fund in the 2019 budget, is to boost the morale of intending investors in the project”.
“However, I wish to advise the government to hold on pending when credible investors have truly expressed and displayed interest to avoid the scheme suffering paucity of funding midway,” Ukodie added.
Recall that the former Minister, Sirika had in July 2018, unveiled the name and logo of the proposed national carrier, at the Farnborough International Public Air show in London, ahead of the initial take-off on December 24 which never materialized.
In his valedictory press briefing, the former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, raised a different angle as to why the scheme failed to takeoff as planned for the Minister of State for Aviation. When asked on why Nigeria Air failed to fly on December 24, 2018, he revealed that the project suffered discordant voices and poor rating by members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), hence it was suspended.
However, in a swift response, Sirika countered Amaechi, saying there was nothing like divided voices over Nigeria Air at the floor of the FEC.