Contrary to ongoing insinuation from the domestic airline operators that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is using a third party arrangement to collect the statutory five per cent Tickets and Cargo Sales Charges (TSC) from them, the statement may not be true after all.
This is just as the controversy being raised by the airlines over the alleged usage of a third party to collect the TSC has been described as an attempt by the airlines to default in payment of the statutory levy.
A document made available to Tribune Aviation has however, faulted the position of the airlines on what they termed failure of NCAA to directly collect the levy or use International Air Transport Association (IATA).
According to the document, “IATA as a settlement engine presently handles payment for international airlines and domestic airlines on IATA Billing Settlement Plan (BSP), whereas all other domestic airlines who have not met the requirement of IATA BSP are handled by Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS).”
The source, while maintaining that the regulatory body has been mandated to collect the five per cent TSC on base fare with fuel surcharge for all flown tickets, “payment of five per cent TSC due is between airline bank and NCAA bank account and no third party involved.”
The domestic airlines at different fora had raised the alarm on how the system AviCollect platform being used by the NCAA to collect the TSC fund from them had been shrouded in secrecy calling for the suspension of the policy until it is made more transparent.
From the document made available to Tribune Aviation, “AviCollect platform is a Data collection platform owned by NCAA, not a payment platform, similar to the data collection platform used by Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) for VAT automation, considering the need for accurate billing data to deal with lingering problem of revenue reconciliation, leakages and losses to the Federal Government.
“NCAA through the AviCollect platform collects ticketing data via seamless system integration with airlines reservation system, thus providing transparency between the airlines and NCAA. IATA also utilises data collected via AviCollect platform for accurate source of billing data for all International Airlines and Domestic Airlines on IATA BSP platform,” it stated.
According to the document, contrary to the position of the domestic airlines, the international airlines are also already on the NCAA AviCollect platform.
The five per cent ticket and cargo sales charges are revenue accruable to the NCAA to make the agency not dependent on funds from government.
The airlines speaking through their Chairman, Captain Nogie Meggison had said: “the AON is not asking for the cancellation or suspension of the five per cent of the passengers, but asking for suspension of the automation till we have clarity of the cloudiness on what the five per cent should be applied to.”
Accusing the NCAA of engaging a third party to collect the levy, Meggison declared: “AON would not like to find itself in a similar situation with NCAA and the third party company being engaged to collect funds on its behalf, when they can collect it themselves or through the International Air Transport Association (IATA); the norm worldwide,”
The source has called on the NCAA not to look back but ensure the airlines known for defrauding government are made to comply with the terms of payment for the TSC.
“All this ruse by the domestic airlines is just a way of looking for an escape route to continue to defraud the government. And this should not be allowed”, the source said.