• Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Aviation unions contemplate strike over 50% TSA deduction

Airplane

The aviation sector in Nigeria is facing potential disruptions as the Federal Government persists in enforcing a 50 percent deduction from the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of aviation agencies.

In response, the general secretary of various unions within the sector is expected to convene next week in Lagos to strategize on actions to oppose the deduction.

The looming strike threat stems from the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), which cautioned that unions may resort to industrial action to compel the withdrawal of aviation agencies from the Treasury Single Account (TSA).

Addressing delegates at the National Executive Council ‘Ibadan 2024’ themed “Challenges of Labour Unions in a Depressing Economy: Aviation Sector In View,” Ahmadu Illitrus, President of ATSSSAN, revealed that union representatives will meet to deliberate on the matter and report back to their respective union presidents.

The TSA policy, initially introduced with a 25 percent deduction from revenue-generating agencies of the Federal Government in October 2022, escalated to 40 percent shortly after. However, President Bola Tinubu raised the deductions to 50 percent in January 2024.

Illitrus expressed concerns about the adverse impact of the increased deductions on aviation agencies, emphasising that they are not profit-oriented entities. The affected agencies include the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), and the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT).

He underscored that continuous deductions could jeopardise the forthcoming International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) security audit.

Furthermore, Illitrus argued that the deductions contradict ICAO Document 1982 on charges and cost recovery, which stipulates that charges imposed on aviation organisations should aim to recover costs, not generate profits.

Illitrus emphasised, “In aviation, what we do as government agencies, we don’t make profit per se, we charge for services.”

He recounted efforts to engage government officials, including the former Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, and the incumbent Minister, Festus Keyamo.

Despite assurances from Keyamo, the implementation of the 50 percent deduction has commenced, causing financial strain on the agencies and impeding their operational capabilities.

Illitrus concluded by stating that if the government fails to address their concerns, unions may resort to protests.

The general secretaries of the unions will convene in Lagos to formulate their stance, aiming to communicate it to the government within the next week.