By Mahmud Jika
The Federal Government has set up machineries in motion to merge Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) to one amorphous agency to be known as Federal Civil Aviation Authority (FCAA).
This is in consonance with an earlier memo dated 14,July,2014, SGF/12/S.II/C.9/42 by Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim the ministerial technical implementation committee have reportedly submitted its report on the white paper to the office of the SGF in the presidency, according to a report by Aviation news.
The report also contained that before now, various professionals, trade associations and labour unions have vehemently opposed the merger of the three agencies on the basis that it would draw the industry to pre-1999 era when there was no difference between industry regulator and service provider as laid down ICAO.
However, the safety concerns expressed that due to the amorphous entity then tagged FCAA, the government listen to voice of reason and set in motion the review of Civil Aviation Act by constitution of members of review committee which led the promulgation of the Civil Aviation Act, 2006 and separation of the regulator from service provider.
This eventually led to the establishment the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority as an autonomous regulator of the industry; the Federal.
Airports Authority of Nigeria as against the previous Nigerian Airports Authority(NAA), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency and NIMET all three service providers.
NAMA as navigation service provider, FAAN airport development/management and NIMET, weather forecast services. To this end, ICAO member States of which Nigeria belong at a conference in Montreal, Canada between 15-20, September, 2008 on theSeparation of Air Navigation Services (ANS) Provision from Regulation Oversight summarised as followed : “ Autonomy for the air navigation services provider, and its separation from the regulatory oversight function is well established in ICAO guidance material.
It is evidenced that greater financial and operational autonomy for the ANSP HAS encouraged a business approach to service delivery and an improved of service. Separation of ANS provision from the regulatory oversight function enhances ATM performance and instils public confidence in the ANSP and the services it provides.
Separation of provision from regulation is consistent with principles of good governance the regulatory oversight function must be seen as independent and transparent. While this guidance material is only supplemental to standards and recommended practices (SARP’s), it is of significance to ICAO’s strategic objectives of Safety and Efficiency “. Following the above, the National Union of Air Transport Employees in April this year noted in a memo to the presidency that the above stated objective of ICAO “ Is currently the role Nigerian Airspace Management Agency plays and which she has played to the admiration of world bodies and international stakeholders and which has earned her international awards”. The same also applies to NIMET which the Nigerian government set up through an Act No 9 of June 19, 2003 as a semi-autonomous agency. NUATE in the said memo noted:” Our Union most patriotically request therefore that the pronounced merger of these agencies should therefore be stepped down immediately to avoid further further embarrassment.
In a similar vein the Aviation Round Table, a non-governmental industry watcher following the announcement of the planned merger in its white paper on the Steve Orosanye report advised government against going ahead with “This ridiculous recommendation” as regards the three aviation agencies. Despite all the explicit explanations and the ICAO stand on the separation of service providers from the regulatory agency, the federal government through a memo to dated 14, July,2014 was bent on prosecuting the merging of the agencies by asking the Ministry of Aviation to set up technical committee for the implementation of the merger.