Thursday, May 10, 2012

● NIGERIA: More dodgy deals - Government wants USD$15m from Lufthansa.

NCAAIn yet another aggressive shot fired at foreign carriers by the Nigerian Government, the Minister for Aviation, Stella Oduah, was today directed by the Nigerian Senate to immediately recover from German airline, Lufthansa, USD$14.8 million (about Naira37billion) owed to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), albeit, under a very murky pretext.

This follows on from a recent spate between the Nigerians and British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, whom it accuses of overcharging and ripping off Nigerian customers on Nigeria - UK routes.

However, as is often the case when doing business in Nigeria, the case is not so cut and dry as it seems.

It is claimed that in 2008, Lufthansa entered into a verbal Memorandum of Understanding with the NCAA - an MoU that was allegedly never physically signed - whereby Lufthansa would pay the NCAA in kind for services rendered by: "employing Nigerians, training Nigerians as cabin crews, building aircraft hangars, making Nigeria a hub and training Nigerians in catering service."
"The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Hope Uzodinma also expressed surprise that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) upon which Lufthansa based its decision not to honour NCAA invoices was not signed.

The controversial MoU stated that Lufthansa should pay NCAA in kind including employing Nigerians, training Nigerians as cabin crews, building aircraft hangar, making Nigeria a hub and training Nigerians in catering services.

He said: “Now that a verbal directive worked for you, can I direct you now to write Lufthansa to pay all the money it owed NCAA? Because there is nothing binding either in the MoU or the Commercial Agreement that would stop Lufthansa from paying royalty.

“People are quick at comparing us with all these mushroom countries. We have this huge market here that must be protected.

“When they go and have something convenient for them in Ghana and Togo that is not up to two local governments in Nigeria."
Read More Here [The Nation Nigeria]

In what seems an interminable sabre rattling war, Nigeria's Government fined British Airways and Virgin Atlantic US$235 million in 2011 for alleged price-fixing on the Nigeria-UK route; a fine that was later overturned on appeal.

Who will be next?