Nigeria's Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed on Monday disclosed the reason behind the Federal Government's recent decision to suspend its national carrier project, Nigeria Air.
On Wednesday, the Minister of state for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, announced in a brief statement that the Federal Executive Council decided several weeks after its unveiling that it had suspended its national carrier that was due to take off in December.
“I regret to announce that the Federal Executive Council has taken the tough decision to suspend the National Carrier Project in the interim. All commitments due will be honoured,” Sirika said last Wednesday.
“We thank the public for the support as always.”
While Sirika failed to reveal the reason the project was suspended, Lai Mohammed has hinted that it could have been due to the commitment of investors.
During his address at the official opening of the LSG Sky Chefs, an in-flight catering facility at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos on Monday, September 24, 2018, the Information minister said investors were not as forthcoming as earlier believed by the government.
"If the understanding of government at the beginning was that the project might be self-financing or the project would be financed by investors and you think that such a project can no longer be sponsored by investors, either because they are not forthcoming or such venture can no longer be viable, the government is at the discretion to take a decision.
"The position of government in business is to provide the enabling environment and it is not to become the sole source of finance or funding and in addition, there is much more than funding in trying to get our national carrier. So, the Federal Government thinks this thing should be stepped down now until we get a better funding structure."
During its unveiling, the Sirikia said the botched project was going to run as a business and not a social service.
“Government will not be involved in running it or deciding who runs it. The investors will have full responsibility for this.
“The Nigerian Government will not own more than 5% (maximum) of the new National Carrier. Government will not be involved in running it or deciding who runs it," the minister said.