Based on growing concerns over the state of businesses and jobs post-COVID-19, governments at all levels must begin to fashion outsmart and indigenous means of providing palliatives to support businesses.
The Chief Operating Officer of Dana Air, Mr. Obi Mbanuzuo, told newsmen that it would be very difficult for aviation workers to find jobs elsewhere, as “there is no alternative if the airlines lay off employees.”
Lending his voice to the calls by Nigerians for government palliatives, the Dana Air chief also appealed to the government to provide stimulus package for the citizenry to help cushion the effect of the lockdown, which grounded businesses and households.
He said, “If the economy shuts down, there is no alternative for the workforce in the aviation industry.
“Really, what we are looking for is what Nigerians are looking for. We are still appealing to the government to provide a palliative for the entire population of the country because what affects the country affects us.
“Everybody is sitting at home hungry now. You don’t know whether the person works for an airline or for a bus company. Everybody is hungry.”
He called on the government to bail out companies in its own way, so as to get the economy rolling, arguing that other countries like the United States and the United Kingdom had kick-started bailout processes for businesses to cushion the impact.
“Nigeria might not have that kind of clout right now, but it is possible that there might be some indigenous ways that we can try and help the public at large. Of course, when the public is helped, then our own workforce is also helped. They are one and the same; you cannot separate them.”
Mbanuzuo dismissed as baseless fears of the airlines going under because of lockdown.
“My question is, what is this assumption that airlines will go under based on? This is because I am only seeing this from personal experience. We have reduced our cost to the barest minimum. What is going to drive me bankrupt now that I am not flying when I am hardly paying out anything?
“Yes, some airlines might find it difficult, even before the shutdown, which is why I said we would need some kind of assistance to restart. When you restart, those that are shaky and cannot find their feet might then finally go bankrupt at that point like you said.
“But apart from the minimum cost that we are paying out, the other cost to the agencies for now are not going on. And of course, they are not demanding anything right now. They are all kind of shutdown,” he stated.