Business News

AMCON takeover leaves Arik Air and Aero Contractors worse off  – Gabriel Olowo

As the controversies continue to trail the impact of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) in the Nigerian aviation industry, the immediate President of Aviation Round Table (ART), Dr. Gabriel Olowo has described the corporation’s performance in the aviation industry as suicidal.

Olowo also advised the Federal Government to assess the general impact of AMCON in the businesses it has taken over since its establishment in 2010 in order to determine its continuous existence or not.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Naijaonpoint in Lagos over the weekend, Olowo who is also the Chairman of Sabre Tech, regretted that AMCON’s takeover of Arik Air and Aero Contractors had left the two airlines worse off than it met them.

Recall that AMCON had partially taken over Aero Contractors in 2013 from the Ibru family due to alleged debts.

The corporation fully took over the airline in 2016, while it took over the running of Arik Air on February 9, 2017, claiming that the airline was indebted to different financial institutions and vendors to the tune of N300 billion, an allegation the shareholders of the airline, led by Sir Johnson Arumemi-Ikhide has since debunked.

Olowo said that he had always kicked against the takeover of aviation companies by AMCON saying that as a receiver manager, the corporation was set up to kill businesses and not to turn them around.

He insisted that the priority of AMCON was to pay back the debts owed to banks by companies and not necessarily to sustain the businesses.

He said: “It is suicidal, criminal; from day one, I have always been against AMCON takeover. I said if you are a receiver manager, you are there to kill the business, but a turnaround manager is to set the debt aside for a period of time and return the business back to life.

On the suspension of airport concession and national carrier projects by the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo, Olowo insisted this could not be termed policy summersaults.

According to him, the past administration for its eight years in office failed to start any of the two projects and only attempted to hoodwink the public in the last minutes.

For instance, Olowo explained that not much was known about airports concession, stressing that to solve the challenges of poor airport infrastructure, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) should be unbundled as a government monopoly.

On the national carrier project, Olowo insisted that the world had since moved from a national carrier to flag carriers.

Besides, Olowo advised Keyamo to call a stakeholders’ meeting to unveil the government roadmaps to the public, lamenting that the sector was faced with various challenges that required government’s quick attention.