Finchglow CEO seeks FG’s support in reducing capital flight in aviation downstream sector
Bernard Bankole, the managing director of Finchglow, one of Nigeria’s top travel agencies have called on the federal government to support the downstream sector by creating deliberate policies that will help reduce capital flight in the country.
Bankole, who is also the president of the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agents (NANTA) said the downstream sector should be left to Nigerians to manage so as to create employment opportunities and generate internal revenues for the sector.
“The downstream sector of the aviation industry covers the travel agents, the ground handlers and the catering companies amongst others. What foreign direct investment in the aviation downstream sector does most of the time is that you are never concerned about the growth of that downstream sector; they are more interested in returns and investments.
“Some of the foreigners can come in and partner and this creates growth and development but the government should not let them come and operate and take back to income generated to their countries, as this will lead to capital flight,” he said.
The NANTA president explained that if there are no proper regulations, it means that a foreigner with financial strength can come into my country and completely push indigenous companies out because he has a lot of support from where he comes from.
“If I want to take loan in Nigeria, I’m being asked for collateral. In some countries around the world, they don’t need collateral to get loans. When foreign direct investment is being expected, there are other areas that they can invest in. Some of these areas include aircraft leasing, Maintenance Repair Overhaul (MRO) and training academy, amongst others. These areas will benefit the country. So, why must it be the downstream sector? MRO is not a downstream sector,” he queried.
Bernard also expressed concerns over lack of harmonised data in the aviation sector, adding that there is a need to have a central data system that will be managed by an independent body to coordinate the entire aviation industry.
“Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) always come up with different data. Have we been able to build a car park that will meet the need of the future influx of passengers? This will be addressed with the provision of proper data, which will also help people carry out a research that will lead to development of infrastructures to suit the industry.
“What I am proposing is a centre data system which is autonomous, independent of other units, just like what the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is doing for different countries. The data can become a source of income and they will sell it to willing investors, so that people can make analysis using the data. Our industry is vital to the growth of this economy. Data will help us to attract investors into the country,” he added.