- As Senate wants tolls back on federal roads
United Arab Emirates helicopter company, Abu Dhabi Aviation (ADA) has completed steps to invest in the Nigerian economy by joining forces with indigenous aircraft charter operator, OAS Helicopters.
ADA’s 15-seater full offshore equipped helicopter, AW-139, with registration number A6-AWH, arrived at the at OAS new Terminal at the Port Harcourt Airport on Thursday
Confirming the partnership to newsmen in Lagos, ADA’s Representative, Mr Kevin Den Hertog, said the company had always wanted to invest in Nigeria but had been looking for a reliable partner which had been in helicopter operations for over a decade.
He said : “With the level of implementation on the proposed business plan so far, we are quite confident that OAS and ADA partnership will enrich the Nigeria oil and gas aviation.
“Important to our success over the years has been an ever increasing engagement with strategic partners worldwide in the formation of healthy joint ventures that support oil and gas exploration in the deepest possible offshore with impeccable safety records.”
Also speaking, the company’s Nigeria operations Lead Pilot, Capt. Westwood James, said ADA and OAS technical partnership was structurally designed to guarantee and deliver credible, safe and stable services in Nigeria oil and gas aviation.
On his part, the Managing Director of OAS, Capt Evarest Nnaji, said the practical kick off of the partnership had started with the arrival and the physical presence of ADA crew and equipment in Nigeria.
Nnaji said: “We looked at ADA’s capacity to play at the highest echelons in the oil and gas aviation support, and their ability and willingness to build and transfer know-how in all the other international environments where they operate.
“We concluded that not only is ADA valuable to huge business profitability, but that they are equally reputable for reliable and consistent long term business relationship.
“Their safety record, volume of investment and ability to deliver excellent services even in the most difficult environment speaks for itself.”
He added that the airline’s huge desire to provide services that meet the best possible international standard for Nigeria oil and gas aviation was the main driving force in the relationship with ADA.
In the meantime, the Senate is proposing the return of tolls on federal roads and the setting aside of 0.5 per cent of transport fares paid by mass transit passengers for inter-state trips to generate funds for the rehabilitation and maintenance of roads in the country.
A levy of N5 will also be imposed on every litre of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) and Automobile General Oil (diesel) imported or refined in the country for the same purpose.
These were part of the recommendations of the Senate Committee on Works on the National Roads Fund Establishment Bill, 2017 “for the purpose of financing the maintenance and rehabilitation of national roads.”
Consideration of reports by the committee on the National Roads Fund Establishment Bill and the Federal Road Authority Establishment Bill, 2017 was listed on the Order Paper of Thursday.
The lawmakers, who began with the consideration of the Federal Road Authority report, however, stepped down the consideration of the National Roads Fund report to another legislative day.
In the report on the National Roads Fund, the panel listed the sources of funding to include a fuel levy of N5 chargeable per litre on any volume of petrol and diesel products imported into the country and on locally refined petroleum products.
Other sources are axle load control charges and tolls not exceeding 10 per cent of any revenue paid as user charge per vehicle on any federal road designated as a toll road, which will not be applicable to roads under public-private partnership plans.
The panel also recommended international vehicle transit charges and inter-state mass transit user charge of 0.5 per cent deductible from the fare paid by passengers to commercial mass transit operators on inter-state roads.
It also proposed a roads’ fund surcharge of 0.5 per cent chargeable on the assessed value of any vehicle imported at any time into the country, as well as lease, licensing or other fees, which shall be 10 per cent of the revenue accruing from the lease or licensing or other fees pertaining to non-vehicular road usages along any federal road and collected by the federal roads agency.
The National Roads Fund is also expected to generate revenue from grants and loans as well as “gifts of land, money or other property.”
The Senate Committee on Works listed the objectives of the bill to include the establishment of the National Roads Fund “to be a repository of revenues from road user related charges and other sources for financing, which shall be managed and administered for routine and periodic maintenance works on roads in Nigeria.”
It said the proposed fund would provide “predictable and sustainable funding for road maintenance and promote the sustainable management of the road networks; establish the governing board, which shall be responsible for the management of the fund; and create an enabling environment for private sector participation, management and financing in the road sector.”
The lawmakers recommended that the National Roads Fund be established with high level of independence under the jurisdiction of the Federal Ministry of Finance, which would only oversee it for policy direction.
Additional report from Punch