The recent automation carried out on the revenue sources of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has boosted its revenue by 21 per cent.
In 2011 the agency earned about N24 billion but by the end of last year it earned over N36 billion, which however was below its projected N57 billion.
But the automation has ensured a steady progress in revenue collection, which is expected to rise up to N70 billion when the automation of all the airports is completed.
Executive member of Air Transport Service Senior Staff Association (ATSSSAN) FAAN branch, told THISDAY that the workers want to the automation but insists that it must be transparently done and expressed satisfaction with what has been done so far to boost the revenue of the agency.
“We opposed Maevis because our investigation revealed to us, and we were convinced, that it was not transparent. Instead of increasing our revenue, we were losing money.
"At a time we stopped getting our allowances and the money paid to maintain the airports stopped coming. We fully support automation, but it must be transparent," the labour leader said.
He noted that the automation has not fully taken place, adding that while the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja has been fully automated, Lagos and Port Harcourt are yet to be fully automated. He said that with the increase in revenue from the already automated system, “I am sure by the time the automation is completed we would be earning N60 to N70 billion annually.”
While the initial automation done by FAAN in the past focused only on aeronautical revenue, which concentrated only on the large airports, the current automation focused on both aeronautical and non-aeronautical revenue and indications show that non-aeronautical would soon be higher than the later in the next two years if well captured by the automation.
General Manager, Corporate Communication of FAAN, Yakubu Dati said the agency was largely kept in the dark by the automation carried out in the past because the concession model was handled by external company “in a black box to FAAN” and therefore was not transparent, but in the present automation the contractor deploys and maintains the equipment and software, but FAAN staff is trained to operate and use the system.
“So we know every amount of money that is entering our accounts, even the financial transactions by our clients who run shops, restaurants are captured by the system, so there is full transparency because our staff is empowered for full visibility,” Dati said.
The FAAN spokesman also said in the past the invoices generated by the external company was customised accordingly, but the present automation electronic invoices are generated by the agency in a more efficient and effective manner and this means full ownership of invoicing process which enhances reconciliation.
Giving credence to this, the CEO of Things Remembered, an eatery located in some major airports in the country, Adeola Omikunle, said the present automation is transparent than what was obtained in the past.