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Update On Akwa Ibom Executive Jet

5 mins ago
1 min read

The Gulf Stream Executive jet used by the Akwa Ibom State Governor will soon be put up for lease to earn income and relieve the state of its rising maintenance costs. Contrary to speculations, the government has no plans to sell off the aircraft. It prefers a lease arrangement with the government as the owner. Confirming this, the SSG, Mr. Enobong Uwa told me yesterday that “the jet came back from a routine maintenance check last week. We are negotiating to get the best lease agreement for it from various aviation companies. There is no plan whatsoever to sell the jet.’’ The absence of the aircraft from its hangar at the Victor Attah International Airport, Uyo, for some weeks has triggered speculations that the plane might have been sold off – five months after Governor Umo Eno asked the SSG to determine how best to manage its operating costs.

By opting for a lease instead of an outright sale, the government wants to earn income from the plane and at the same time imposes certain restrictions on its use. For example, the government may not allow the lessee to make any alterations or modifications to the plane, including the interior and seating. Second, the lessee will never become the owner. In finance, we describe this as denying the lessee of the residual value of the aircraft. In simple terms, the government wants to keep ownership of the plane while making money from its commercial use. I imagine that the lease agreement may even contain a clause which permits the governor to use the aircraft without paying for it. A One-hour flight in a private jet in Nigeria costs about $10,000 (over N10 million).

READ ALSO: Commercializing Akwa Ibom Executive Jet: Kudos To Gov. Umo Eno

I’m in total support of commercializing the plane. The cost of keeping it has become unbearably too high (one estimate puts it at over N5 billion in a year as at two years ago). For a governor that is inclined towards welfarist programs, keeping a private jet at exorbitant costs would fly in the face of what he stands for. Last year, I wrote an article suggesting that it be sold off. Last January when the governor hinted at putting it into commercial use, I applauded the move.

Now, I ask the government to be very diligent in choosing the charter company. There are many of them in the country, but a reputable one with impressive track records will bring less headaches. In fact, the anomaly in Nigeria’s aviation is that there are more private jets than commercial planes in the country. I urge the governor to be open, transparent and honest in this transaction and all other dealings with our finances. The reason he enjoys so much goodwill is because our people have seen some sincerity of purpose in his actions.

Etim Etim
Etim Etim

ETIM ETIM is a journalist, banker and author. He has been a member of the Editorial Board of The Guardian, a Regional Manager in Access Bank and is currently a Columnist in Prime Business Africa, The Cable and Businessday newspapers.

He is also the Chief Executive of Stein Meyer Communications, a major media consultancy and the author of the best-selling book, "Akwa Ibom Heroes: Inside Story of the Fight for Abrogation of Onshore-Offshore Oil Dichotomy" and co-author of another book, "Osinbajo Strides: Defining Moments of an Innovative Leader".

ETIM ETIM is a journalist, banker and author. He has been a member of the Editorial Board of The Guardian, a Regional Manager in Access Bank and is currently a Columnist in Prime Business Africa, The Cable and Businessday newspapers.

He is also the Chief Executive of Stein Meyer Communications, a major media consultancy and the author of the best-selling book, "Akwa Ibom Heroes: Inside Story of the Fight for Abrogation of Onshore-Offshore Oil Dichotomy" and co-author of another book, "Osinbajo Strides: Defining Moments of an Innovative Leader".

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