May 19, 2022

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NATIONAL CARRIER: REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL- the long tortuous runway to takeoff

4 min read

The Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Aviation seems to be inching forward unsteadily or at best-making circles with its latest public announcement put out by the ministry requesting “for proposal for the establishment of a national airline for Nigeria”.


The public announcement signed by the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Aviation claimed that the intention of government requesting for the proposal is that the “FMA is seeking to reposition Nigeria Aviation sector as part of efforts toward the diversification of the economy, promoting the competitiveness of the sector, boosting productivity and enhancing economic growth”, the announcement claimed.


No doubt the above line smacked of a very hazy objective and an ambiguous goal to achieve by the exercise it announced the ministry will embark upon on behalf of the federal government.


Succinctly put, prospective respondents are likely to be in quandary as to the objective of the invitation which to over 200 million Nigerians is simply to establish a modest but promising national carrier.


In what eloquently depicts an ambiguous intention from the content of the announcement is in the second paragraph which explains the motive of the invitation thus; “the FMA is inviting interested private bidders to submit proposals for the take-over and further development of the national carrier, the recently launched “Nigeria Air”, to take advantage of the opportunities of the largest market in Africa.


Quite revealing to over 200 million Nigerians was the existence of a national carrier, (either a de facto or a de jure,) recently launched, Nigeria Air”.


There is no iota of doubt that respondents, even if just returned from Ukraine or Russia, will definitely find it hard to comprehend and most likely will be wondering if this paragraph is definitely not alluding to the grand outing in Farnborough about four years ago or whether another launch took place somewhere else and exclusively with the knowledge of the ministry’s management.


One begins to wonder why not the ministry volunteer straight, simple, coherent and correct information as to the exercise to be embarked upon? Perhaps there have been investments sunk into the project but done clandestinely without the knowledge of the public who the project is meant to serve.


The statement elucidates further on the announcement’s intention thus, “proposals for the take-over and further development of the national carrier”…. implies the existence of an ongoing concern that merely needs a shot in the arm. Yet the incontrovertible truth is that of an airline start-up from scratch to fruition.


It is a fact that being economical with the truth at this conception stage, and even at any stage of a business concern will eventually become injurious to the project if it will not out-rightly thwart genuine intentions if any abinitio.


Another contentious issue to business consultants and renowned investors as contained in the request for proposal is the aspect of, “Private sector partner/consortia, are expected to comprise of an international airline, (Max 49% shares) and Nigerian financial and institution of investors, (Min 46% shares), so that the total Nigeria shareholding will hold a minimum of 51% of the shares of Nigeria Air (including the 5% non-interactive FGN share), as required by international laws for a national carrier”.


Putting value to the shareholding structure as expected is still a mirage. The project cost outlay ought to be provided by the business promoters who must have done their homework to come up with forensic financials in line with the type of operations it desires for the startup.


This statement is telling the world that over 200 million Nigerians are bland in airline management and financials and can’t figure out a business model that will be profitable for us as a people but a consultant perhaps from Fiji or Colombia will suffice.


That the entire equity sharing formula is hinged on unfathomable “international laws for a national carrier” is another clear and present danger to the entire program. Any statement or dictum based on half-truth will fatally injure the project. Unless that route is the goal of the promoters’ abinitio.


The public announcement urges that “Interested parties can download the RFP and the information memorandum (IM) from the website; www.nigerianaviation.pppprojects.com


The announcement informed that “any addendum issued to the RFP will be published on the same website. Clarifications and enquiries may be sent via email to, info@nigerianaviation.pppprojects.com and enquiry at nigerianaviation.pppprojects.com”


The request says further, “all responses to the RFP must be received in hard copies not later than 15.00hrs on the 10th May 2022, at the address below;
“The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Aviation, Federal Secretariat Complex, Shehu Shagari Way, Abuja, Nigeria. Attention, Director, Planning, Research and Statistics”.


Matters arising from the entire exercise are those consistently inconsistent comments. Mostly incongruent comments emanating from the office of the Minister. Just three days to Sunday, 6th March when the public announcement requesting proposals submission was issued, the entire Nigerians, especially stakeholders and the national assembly members were informed of the Minister’s pronouncement that the Air Operator’s Certificate, AOC, shall be issued in April for the much-touted national carrier. That statement was partially in sync with the one made in November by the highly revered minister that, by the first quarter of 2022, Nigeria Air will take to the skies.


While the most recent information issued on Sunday 6th March 2022, directed that the deadline for the Request For Proposal, RFP, submission is “not later than 15.00hrs on the 10th May 2022”. This automatically knocks out the April date. And the sliding in take-off date continues unabated. May the takeoff date not be ad infinitum


It is the fervent desire of Nigerians that this national carrier start-up
and the airports’ concession will be “done and dusted” before the expiration of the eight years tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime.

Reproduce below is the announcement calling for proposals;-

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