The Federal Government has given reasons on why Lufthansa Consortium’s contract that was expected to provide modalities for the establishment of a new national carrier was determined.
The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, who spoke in Lagos on some issues affecting the aviation sector, said that the decision to substitute the company in the ongoing process was taken in the best interest of the nation.
Specifically, the minister alleged that the company changed the terms of the contract it had with government by asking for 75 per cent of N341 million upfront payment as well as requesting that the money to be converted to Euros.
Sirika explained that while the request for 75 percent upfront payment was not in consonance with the nation’s procurement law, the demand for conversion of the contract sum into Euros was not also acceptable to the government.
The minister clarified: “What transpired at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting which I explained very clearly is that we substituted Lufthansa Consulting as part of the consortium to provide transaction advisory services for the establishment of a national carrier.
“The reason is very simple and clear. We thought that Lufthansa Consortium is an arm of Lufthansa Airline Group and this may compromise the process. They might be interested party latter in the day of this procurement and this may compromise the system. We want it to be transparent, as fair and equitable as it should be.
“They wanted about 75 per cent to be paid of the sum ab nitio and this is not in line with procurement laws. The contract was in Naira N341m but they wanted to change it to Euros and this was not acceptable to us. This was neither in our request for proposal. What we did was there were many in the consortium, we substituted them with another company that is even fair, that is no appendage to any other company that might be interested. So, they are more of a neutral company to take over the place of Lufthansa”, Sirika added.
He confirmed that the efforts by the government to ensure that a new national carrier is established were already yielding the desired results, projecting that the dream will be realized before the end of the present administration.
“I think in the next couple of months; one month, two months maximum, we should be able our business case. I can say that we are very close to the establishment of a national carrier”, Sirika enthused.
On the achievements recorded in the aviation sector in recent months, the minister attributed the positive developments to policy measures of the government which were aimed at raising the industry practices to globally accepted standards as set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
He explained that Nigeria scored above average marks in aviation security and in safety ratings by the global organization.
The minister said: “That of safety was well above global average. We were scoring 66 and 96 per cent respectively and I believe all of those safety critical matters and that of security concerns were addressed progressively”.