ABUJA – The National Assembly Joint Committee on Aviation Investigating the Dana and Allied Air Crashes was told, yesterday, that a total of N135 billion was inherited as non-performing loans of eight airlines in the country.
Speaking, yesterday, when he appeared before the Senator Hope Uzodinma-led committee, Managing Director of Asset Management Company of Nigeria, AMCON, Mustapha Chike-Obi disclosed that the money was sunk into reviving ailing airlines in Nigeria.
Chike-Obi, who told members of the committee that airlines should be supported with low interest guarantees over a long tenure, explained that this will enable the industry function effectively without hitches, adding that modalities must be put in place to ease financial burdens on operators.
The AMCON boss, who emphasised that for improved service in the aviation sector there was the need to set up monitoring systems to ensure that operators use allotted funds appropriately, explained that the company had so far spent N2 trillion in buying non-performing loans of both banks, airlines and toxic assets of many other companies.
He added that the only money being expended by his company was the N10 billion appropriated to it by the National Assembly, just as he stressed that AMCON has made progress in recovering bad loans.
According to him, the move became imperative against the backdrop of the need to uplift the financial burden on the airlines, adding, “we feel that airlines need help and we have stood ready to assist any airline.”
Chike-Obi, who told the committee that the money spent in the acquisition process was not government money, said: “All the airlines put together are owing AMCON N135 billion. Government must make it a priority to make sure that airlines are well funded.
“There is a challenge that when you free airlines of debt by giving them fund, they would be using the new funds for the airlines or other interests.”