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Keyamo Raises Red Flags Over ‘Nigeria Air’ Project

Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, has expressed concerns over certain aspects of the agreement signed with private investors regarding Nigeria’s national carrier, Nigeria Air. Speaking after the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting, Keyamo refrained from preempting President Bola Tinubu’s final decision on the airliner’s future.

“Nigeria Air, founded in 2018 with ownership stakes divided among Ethiopian Airlines (49%), Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) (46%), and the Nigerian Federal Government (5%), received its first aircraft in May 2023 but has since remained inactive.”

Keyamo disclosed that critical details of the agreement with the major stakeholder – Ethiopian Airlines – required reevaluation, citing concerns about tax waivers, staffing arrangements, and the potential for creating a monopoly at the expense of other local airlines.

He said, “Now we have looked at all the issues and it’s before Mr. President. But let me just give one or two snippets because of Nigerians who are quick to judge.”

“In the agreement, you are giving tax waivers to Ethiopian Airline coming into Nigeria. They asked for tax waivers for five years and you granted them, to come and compete with your local airlines who are paying those heavy taxes.”

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“I’m just giving you snippets. I’ll do a full interview, I’ll not give more. So when I’m ready to talk, I will talk, but I cannot preempt Mr. President. We have raised all the concerns before him.”

“While Keyamo refrained from giving a detailed press interview, he assured that all concerns about Nigeria Air had been forwarded to President Tinubu for review and further action,” Keyamo said.

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