Disparity Trails Air Passengers’ Traffic In Nigeria As NBS Releases New Figures

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NBS, trade, inflationLagos – The lack of reliable accurate data gathering and information in Nigeria has played up its head again as the figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) for air travellers in the country in 2017 is over two  million at variance with the earlier one released by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

The discrepancy in the figures released, stakeholders said, would make international communities to look at the country as unserious.

An earlier report released by NCAA indicated that only 11,221,617 passengers passed through the nation’s 32 airports in 2017, representing 26.3 percent drop when compared to the preceding year.

The breakdown of NCAA statistics indicated that eight domestic airlines ferried 7,646,075 as inbound and outbound passengers while the 30 international carriers airlifted 3,575,542 passengers within the period.

The total passengers airlifted by domestic airlines represented 53.2 percent of the total volume of passengers ferried within the period as against 72 percent recorded in 2016.

But, statistics released by NBS late last week, gave the full year passengers’ traffic for 2017 at 13,394,945, of which 6,693,687 at arrivals and 6,701,258 at departures.

The difference in the data released by the two organisations indicated 2,173,328 passengers, a situation, which led to the query of NBS data by players in the sector.

Commenting on the disparity, Grp. Capt. Jon Ojikutu (rtd), the General Secretary of Aviation Round Table (ART) said that it was not the first time that the NBS would release conflicting figures from that of NCAA or any other agency in the sector.

For instance, he said that NBS in its statistics for 2016 said aviation industry contributed less than one per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), despite the report of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which said the sector contributed $8.5bn to the economy in the same period.

Ojikutu noted that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), which is in charge of passenger traffic in the sector and NCAA came out with about 11 million passengers’ traffic for the industry in 2017 and wondered where NBS got its statistics from if not from the government agencies in the industry.

He said: “This is not the first time that the NBS would goof with conflicting figures from aviation recorded statistics. Last year, it said that the industry contributed less than one per cent to the national GDP, even when IATA said that aviation contributed $8.5bn.

“This figure did not include the domestic airlines earnings, while only about 30 per cent of the figures are for tickets sales, which the foreign airlines repatriated home; the rest 70 per cent are in payment for Passenger Service Charge (PSC), landing and parking, ground handling services, air traffic and navigational services, fuel services and others.

“Remember that FAAN “the airport passenger traffic gate keeper and the NCAA came out with similar figures of about 11 million passenger traffic and that the figure was 26 per cent less than the figures of last year.”

Ojikutu called on the aviation agencies to jointly take the NBS to task on the conflicting reports and report such to the office of the ministry of national planning before organisations started using the NBS figures for national planning.

“The government must investigate the source of the NBS figures,” he said.

On his part, Mr. Olumide Ohunayo, the Direct, Research, Zenith Travels said that data basically is used to plan, access, analyse and extrapolate.

But, once there are discrepancies in data, the main essence is destroyed while it also gives room for fraudulent activities.

He said that the wrong statistics released by NBS may be as a result of carelessness or orchestrated fraud to have a wide difference of over two million passengers.

Ohunayo called for reconciliation of figures as a first step to correct such anomalies in the future while the government could also probe the process of data gathering to determine if the intent was to defraud the system.

He added: “The automation of air transport industry has greatly improved data capturing why we have different figures in Nigeria really baffles me. Considering these figures are needed to complement airport concession process while also using it to attract investors to our airlines and other sectors of the industry.

“Prompt investigation of present discrepancies is key while the ministry coordinates data information, which should be delivered on a monthly basis.”

According to NBS, the passenger traffic of 13,394,945, indicated that the total figure fell by 8.03 per cent from 2016 and attributed this to the six-week closure of Abuja airport in March 2017.

It however said that the annual total numbers of domestic and international air passengers grew by 8.40 per cent and 7. 15 per cent respectively compared with the previous year.

NBS said that Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Owerri and Kano airports remained the busiest through the year of 2017.

According to the organization, passengers travelled through Abuja airport largely increased from quarter two (577,386 domestic and 692,207 international) to quarter three (841,401 domestic and 231,414 international) due to the reopening of Abuja airport.

Kaduna airport recorded higher than usual numbers of domestic traffic in the first two quarters of 2017 (124,996 in Q1 and 129,034 in quarter two) since a large proportion of air traffic through Abuja was redirected to Kaduna after Abuja airport’s closure in March 2017.

The agency added: “The annual total number of aircraft arrived at or departed from Nigerian airports in 2017 stood at 214,258, which grew marginally by 0.61 per cent from the same quarter in 2016. Cargo movement kept declining since the year of 2014. The annual volume of cargo movement in 2017 -bottomed at 161,800,520kg (a decline by 17.07 per cent from the annual figure in 2016).

“Abuja international airport recorded the highest year-on-year decline in cargo movement traffic among the five airports (59.21 per cent), followed by declines at Enugu (44.35 per cent), and Lagos (18.19 per cent). Cargo movement at Kano international airport and Port Harcourt international airport in 2017 increased by 20.28 per cent and 17.56 per cent respectively.”

The post Disparity Trails Air Passengers’ Traffic In Nigeria As NBS Releases New Figures appeared first on Independent Newspapers Nigeria.

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