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NCAA Wallows in Financial Mess, report alleges

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There are strong indications that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) might be headed for severe financial crisis owing to alleged mismanagement of its funds by succeeding heads of the regulatory body.

It was gathered that some of the past heads of the agency frittered away the money that accrued from the 5 per cent charges paid by local and international airlines.

Sources close to the agency narrated that the NCAA, which hitherto had huge deposit of funds is no longer in robust financial health, and finds it difficult to raise money to run operations.

According to the sources, the agency only manages to pay workers emoluments without enough funds for training, which was the hallmark of the Authority as a regulatory body.

Directors-General and acting Directors-General in the past were alleged to have used spurious contracts as conduit to siphon the Authority’s funds. The NCAA was said to have at a time owed workers allowances, a situation which industry sources said was an alien in the organisation.

A senior official who confirmed the development said on Wednesday said the new Director General, Captain Usman Murktar, who has a brief stay, is making frantic efforts to control what he described as “the jamboree” that has been taking place in the Authority.

Report also revealed, that NCAA is not generating money as it used to do because although the domestic airlines still per 5 per cent charges, they are not sincere in remitting the actual funds that accrue from the charges.

Because the money is being squandered, sources said, the regulatory body might be headed to financial turmoil.
“Former heads of the agency mismanaged the funds NCAA had. There was a time NCAA had huge deposits which it did not touch and it was able to maintain and fund the training schedule and before you go for training your money will be paid to you. But now it has changed; even when you fund your training NCAA may not be able to pay you back for several months.

“What they have been doing is that they raise fake contracts and deploy money to the non-existing contracts. There was a time a N10 million contract was negotiated but N72 million was paid for it. You must have heard that recently N135 million was used to furnish the Director General’s office,” the official said.

Some of the workers of the Authority who passed vote of confidence on the new Director General expressed the hope that he bring sanity into the system and rein the excesses that existed in the past.

“Captain Murktar is making efforts to control the situation but that depends on what he would do with the saved funds. It will be good if he ploughs them back into the system, but who knows; he is still new so it is too early to judge him, but those who wish NCAA well are happy with what he has done so far. But not many people are happy; he may be standing on the way of those who had been benefitting from the jamboree of the past,” the official added.

Report also revealed that 10 per cent of the workers in NCAA are actually doing the technical job of regulation while the other 90 per cent is support staff.

This, sources said affects the morale of the core staff who allegedly earned less than their colleagues in administration and other non-technical areas.

“The argument they put up for paying the core staff poorly is that many of them are above retirement age. In fact, the non-core staff attends more training than the professionals and some of them earn twice as much as these professionals. If not for FAA Category 1 audit and the International Civil Aviation ICAO) Audit, many of these core staff would not have gone for the needed training,” the official stressed.

THISDAY, January 30, 2015

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