Tinubu, Shettima, and Top Officials to Pay for Airport Access Under New Policy

Chinwe Okafor
3 Min Read

President Bola Tinubu, Vice President Kashim Shettima, and other high-ranking government officials will be required to pay access fees or obtain e-tags at all 24 federal airports across Nigeria.

This directive was announced by the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Management, Festus Keyamo, following a Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting chaired by President Tinubu at the State House in Abuja.

Keyamo revealed that the FEC has rescinded all exemptions for VIPs regarding airport access payments. He presented a memorandum to the council detailing significant financial losses incurred due to these exemptions, highlighting that the government had been forfeiting approximately 82% of the anticipated revenue, amounting to around N10 billion, from airport tollgates.

The practice of issuing complimentary e-tags or stickers to VIPs, allowing them to bypass fees for parking and essential airport services, will no longer be permitted. Keyamo underscored the inequity of this system, where affluent individuals were exempt from fees that ordinary citizens were required to pay.

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The Council has instructed the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) to circulate a notice to all relevant parties about the termination of these exemptions. Keyamo’s ministry will also issue a follow-up memorandum to ensure enforcement.

Keyamo provided stark statistics, indicating that only 18% of e-tags were sold, with 82% distributed for free. This has resulted in substantial revenue losses and a lack of proper audit trails, fostering corruption.

President Tinubu and Vice President Shettima have agreed to pay the access fees, leading by example. Keyamo urged all sectors, including the judiciary, legislature, executive, and military, to purchase annual tags for their personnel to ensure correct revenue collection and enhanced airport services.

Furthermore, the FEC approved a memorandum for the acquisition of aircraft recovery equipment, valued at N4.2 billion, to manage aircraft breakdowns on runways. This procurement aligns with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) requirements and is projected to be completed within 12 months.

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In a related development, the federal government has temporarily suspended the controversial Cybersecurity Levy for further review. Information and National Orientation Minister, Muhammed Idris, clarified that the levy, set at 0.5% of the value of each electronic transaction, was intended to bolster the security framework of financial operations. However, its implementation has been paused amid concerns that it could worsen the nation’s economic situation. The Central Bank of Nigeria had recently issued a directive regarding this levy, but its enforcement has been deferred pending a comprehensive review.

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