FCCPC to NANTA: Air Tickets Cross Border Trading is a Monster that must be Tackled

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L-R: Alhaji Adamu Abdullahi, Acting Vice Chairman, FCCPC and President NANTA, Mr Yinka Folami during the meeting in Abuja.

By Innocent Orok

Cross border trading of foreign airlines Inventories, which has impacted negatively on Nigeria travel economy has been described as a monster that must be tackled frontally and destroyed.

Alhaji Adamu Abdullahi, Acting Vice Chairman, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission ( FCCPC), stated that the trend if left unchecked, is dangerous, worrisome, and an economic threat to the Nigerian economy which must be arrested before it negatively compounds the plight of the Nigerian travelling public and livelihood of Nigerian travel trade professionals; engendering loss of jobs and also frustrating efforts to stop capital flights out of Nigeria .

The FCCPC boss, who spoke in Abuja on Wednesday during a courtesy visit by the President and Executive Council of National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) to his office, assured members of the organised travel trade group that the top flight Federal Government Consumer Protection Commission would tackle the monster headlong and restore sanity in the seemingly dysfunctional aviation industry.

“We shall be very thorough in this engagement and other noticeable infractions in the aviation sector, particularly about airline operators treating passengers as if they don’t matter. It is sad to just cancel or delay flights without carrying passengers along, and if you must cancel flights or cause it to be delayed beyond reasonable time, such operator must show us evidence of operational difficulties, he explained.

Alhaji Adamu Abdullahi commended the leadership of NANTA for the foresight to engage and partner with FCCPC to enthrone equity and fair play in the Nigerian travel economy, noting that a technical committee would be set up by the Commission to work out terms of memorandum of understanding (MOU) with NANTA to help sustain the relationship.

“NANTA has shown capacity and technical knowhow on the best way to organise and manage the travel trade market, and we at FCCPC can only encourage this patriotic zeal by being partners to sustain a credible and efficient business climate sensitive to global expectations and extant regulations in the industry. We cannot understand why foreign airlines would leave the airport vicinity and open trade offices in city centres, undermining the operations of registered travel trade professionals. These are issues before us, and we will approach them through detailed investigations and dialogues where necessary.”

Earlier, President of NANTA, Mr Yinka Folami, disclosed that the association was at FCCPC to appreciate the management for helping to stabilise the fragile and troubled Nigerian travel sector, particularly during the foreign airlines trapped funds saga, which created and brought about untold hardship on Nigerian travelling public and the travel agents, causing a dip to about 40% loss in the Nigerian travel market.

“We are worried about the dip in the market values of our business, particularly through cross border trading (unfair encroachment of global point of sale fares) by merchants that can be fished out and punished as their unwholesome activities have led to capital flight out of the country, exposed Nigerian consumers, trade professionals, and even foreign airlines operating in Nigeria to huge loses”. Mr Folami explained further, adding that NANTA is worried that such unfair trade practices could complicate the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises in Nigeria, factoring jobs loses and impacting on GDP of the country.

“FCCPC has shown commitment and capacity to help clean the cobwebs in the industry and also to help strengthen NANTA as a veritable body to help the government and people of Nigeria to protect our borders from external and internal obnoxious trade practices” he stated.

At the meeting representing NANTA was; the Immediate Past President (IPP), Mrs Susan Akporiaye, who reassured that NANTA is ready for this patriotic task, a full representation of the NANTA Executive Council, and Mr Bolu Agbaje, partner in Pinheiro LP who are Legal Advisers to NANTA on the path to true consumerism in the Nigeria travel space.

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