With many Nigerians still bickering over the possible effects of the recent increase in the Value Added Tax (VAT) rates from 5.0 to 7.5% by the Federal Government and its implementation by various sectors of the country’s economy, some officers of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has decided to cash in on the juicy opportunity to rack in more funds into their private coffers as sources has decried the release of a document recommending an upward review of the local Airfare rates.
The internal memo as seen by SecretReporters released from the office of General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Operation Engr. Adeiza Adams Jatto dated 24th January 2020, with reference number HQ/GM/C&SC/OP/VF/045, read “The division has observed the recent hike in the prices of Local Tickets across the country, in view of the above and in order to keep abreast with the reality of our times, it is hereby recommended that the rates for the local flights be revised upwards accordingly as detailed below”.
The revised airfare rates from the document show that for a multi-leg flight from Lagos to Abuja then back to Lagos, the sum of N250,000 was penned down for the business class while N200,000 for Economy.
Similarly, a local flight from Lagos to Port Harcourt, then back to Lagos showed N300,000 for Business Class and N260,000 for Economy with the highest rate according to the document going for a multi-leg flight from Lagos to Yola then back to Lagos at N320,000 for Business, N290,000 for Economy while the lowest rate is N180,000 and N150,000 for Business and Economy class respectively for a flight from Lagos to Ilorin then back to Lagos.
The recommendation for the review of the Airfare rates was unsurprisingly, speedily approved four days later on January 28, 2020, meaning that about N105,000 on the average is now pegged as the local Airfare rate for a one-way flight (Economy class) by the Hadiza Balla Usman led Management of the Nigerian Ports Authority as against the initial amount between N23,000 to N27,000 for Economy and N61,000 to N71,000 charged for business class by most local airlines Air Peace which is Nigeria’s most expensive local airline.
There is growing speculation that there may be more than meets the eye in the almost more than 100% increment of the local Airfares by the management of the Ports Authority as even Air peace, adjudged to be the most expensive local Airline Company in Nigeria does not charge more than 73,000 for a business class ticket.