Airport tolls: Nigeria lost billions under old rules — Keyamo

The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, has revealed that the Federal Government lost 82 percent which is equivalent to N10 billion in revenue that ought to accrue from airport tollgates under old rules.

Keyamo revealed this to State House correspondents during the week at the end of a two-day meeting of the Federal Executive Council.

The minister lamented that the ministry accumulated 82 percent in the negative from the complimentary e-tags printed by the ministry, noting that 82 percent of the e-tags are given free of charge to VIPs.

He stated, “Let me give you the shocking statistics. The negative figure that we get at the end of the day from the complimentary e-tags is 82 percent, in the negative.

“In other words, where we are supposed to have a 100 per cent contract on the e-costs from these e-tags that we print, it is only 18 per cent that we now end up selling. That is how bad it is. 18 per cent and 82 per cent of these e-tags are given out free of charge to VIPs. So, imagine the loss in my sector, and I ask myself,Which other sector will I go to that they give me anything free?’

“Is it because I’m a VIP that you say that in FCT, I should not pay land charges that you waive it for me? I pay for that sector. I pay for power. Yes, I pay for everything. So, why would anybody now come to my own sector and want to get free passage? Not possible. That is how bad it is.”

He added that free e-tags to the VIPs had in the past led to the loss of billions of naira

“So this has led in the past to loss of billions of naira, not millions, annually. Yet, our airport infrastructure, you know, is decaying. I am helpless. I’m looking for concessionaires. I’m looking for help with decaying infrastructure.

“They will be the first to cry out, these same VIPs – ‘why are the toilets like this? Why are your toilets smelling? Why can’t you do this?’ They are the same people, but they don’t pay for the services. So, if we want improved infrastructure at the airport, we must pay for services,” he said.

The minister lamented that due to the policy of exemption, the ministry makes only about N100 million instead of making about N260 million from a particular airport gate every month.

“I’ll give you another example. In one of the access gates, based on the count of the barrier going up and down, we are supposed to be making N250m or 260 million from that gate every month. That gate, because of exemptions, the return to us is less than N100 million every month,” he added.

To end the loss, the FEC decided that the president, vice president, and other top government functionaries would start paying access fees or the e-tag at all 24 federal airports across the country.

Prior to this development, the president, vice president, and some government officials were exempted from paying access fees at the airports’ gates.

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