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Keyamo rubbishes Hadi Sirika's deal with Ethiopian Airlines on national carrier

Keyamo says he has submitted his report on the matter to President Tinubu for consideration.

New Minister of Aviation, Festus Keyamo faults Hadi Sirika's deal with Ethiopia Airlines. [The Whistler Newspaper]

Five years after he launched the logo and the name of a new national carrier, the former Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, in May 2023, unveiled the Nigeria Air aircraft at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja.

During the ceremony, Sirika, who midwifed the project in partnership with the Ethiopia Airline Consortium, described the airline as one of the missing infrastructures in the Nigerian aviation industry.

However, it is not yet clear if President Bola Tinubu’s administration would continue the national carrier deal as Keyamo faulted the agreement between his predecessor and Ethiopian Airlines.

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While addressing journalists at the State House on Monday, November 27, 2023, Keyamo said the agreement Sirika signed with Ethiopian Airlines gives the monopoly of Nigeria’s aviation industry to a foreign entity.

He said the deal has critically been looked into in the interest of Nigeria, adding that his report on the matter has been submitted to President Tinubu for consideration.

He said, “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 airline which are paying those heavy taxes.

“How? Do you want to create a monopoly? That’s why when they tell you that we want to crash price by…it’s a lie. It’s robbing Peter to pay Paul.

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“The only thing that brings down prices in the commercial world is fair competition.”

Keyamo also lamented that the contract ceded the appointment of employees at all levels to the Ethiopian investors.

“In the agreement, they also made a proposal that they will appoint everybody; top management, everybody Ethiopian, in Nigeria, and we agreed. We agreed,” Keyamo complained.

The minister said if the agreement Sirika signed with the Ethiopian investors had been implemented, it would have created a monopoly for Ethiopian Air, at the expense of the Nigerian local airlines.

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