Imo Air begins, indigenes to fly at 10% rebate
State govt explains recruitment of 2,000 graduates despite cut of workers’ pay
Governor Rochas Okorocha yesterday launched Imo Air at the Sam Mbakwe Airport, Owerri, the state capital.Okorocha said that the airline would operate under a 10-year agreement with Dana Air until it obtains its licence.
He said it was planned to create new jobs and address the high traffic volume in the area, describing Owerri as the fastest-growing city in the country after Lagos and Abuja.
Okorocha said that four aircraft would be added to the 140-seater plane by next year, adding that an international cargo airport would be built to complement its operations.
He added: “From March 1, Imo indigenes will fly at 10 per cent discount once they have registered as indigenes of the state. The governor’s Special Adviser on Technical matters, Ikenna Ene, said the State Executive Council (SEC) gave approval for the airline in April 2016.
He explained that the plane would fly the Lagos, Abuja and Owerri routes.In another development, the state has explained its recruitment of 2,000 graduates into its workforce despite slashing workers’ salaries.
The Commissioner for Information, Tourism and Public Safety, Obinna Nshirim, said it was to fill numerous vacancies in the civil service.
Fielding questions from an Owerri-based private radio station, Nshirim denied that the state government resolved to pay workers a particular percentage. He insisted that it was resolved last year between the Owerri government and the national leadership of labour unions to set aside 70 per cent for recurrent expenditure and 30 per cent for capital expenditure of total amount that accrued into the state coffers any month.
He said: “For sometime now, there is this unemployment problem hitting the nation. Unemployed youths keep mounting. So we have to fill our vacancies.’’
“The state does not pay civil servants 70 per cent. The government agreed with the national labour, that whatever comes into the state, recurrent will take 70 per cent. Two months ago, it was 80 per cent. They are sharing according to what you are earning.’’
He said the resolve of the state government was not to enter into irresponsible recruitment as was in the past, stressing that it would be gradual.
Ene said the state would become a regional and international player in the next few years under the existing Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA).
The Chairman of Nigerian Aviation Safety Initiative (NASI), Capt. Dung Rwang Pam, urged the state to acquire its other aircrafts by lease, instead of outright purchase, due to the unstable nature of the market.
Also, Dana Air’s Chief Accountable Officer, Obi Mbanuzuo C commended the partnership.At the commissioning, cultural troupes entertained guests that included traditional rulers and state government officials.He added: “From March 1st, Imo indigenes will fly at 10 per cent discount, once they have registered as indigene of the state.