Onyema’s Advocacy and the Need to Save Aviation Jobs
By Chidiebere Nwobodo
The outbreak of coronavirus codenamed covid-19, took the world economy like a thunderbolt. Only few people saw it coming, but never knew it will metamorphose into a ravaging pandemic that as last count, had infected over ten million people and taken more than five hundred thousand lives, globally.
The effects of the pandemic cannot be erased in a short period of time, because the world economy was literally shutdown for more than three consecutive months. Some countries have flatten the curve of infection and deaths, while some are still struggling to curtail the devastating effects of the virus.
The world economy was heavily pummeled by this coronavirus pandemic. The losses incurred by businesses are too humongously enormous to measure. Millions of jobs cut by this pandemic, families railroaded into financial depression and lofty dreams dashed, will need to time and efforts to recover.
As the world is already working towards post-covid-19 era, governments of different nations are marshalling ways not only to reopen their economies, but resuscitate them from the crippling effects of global lockdown. One of the ways to achieve this, is through bailout for critical sectors of the economy.
In the foregoing, I found as patriotic, strategic and empathic, the recent clarion call of Chief Executive Officer of AirPeace, Allen Onyema, on the need to save jobs in the Nigerian aviation industry via bailout for the industry. Nigerian government had approved commencement of aviation activities, especially in the domestic segment of the sector.
AirPeace boss based his call on the need for a government bailout (palliatives) for aviation industry to cushion the excruciating impacts of the three-month lockdown of the airspace, to avoid loss of jobs and investments. Retrenchment of workers in sector should be prevented by the government through a bailout, of which government is already working out its modalities.
Nigerian economy is very weak now to absorb the shock of having additional thousands of aviation workers thrown into already crowded and strained labor market. This is why this advocacy from the honcho of biggest domestic airline, AirPeace’s Allen Onyema, should be treated with uttermost importance.
Some countries have rollout post-covid-19 bailout for their airlines. Even the biggest airlines of the world; from advanced economies, are benefiting from this package. Recently, United States of America through the office of Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, approved $25 billion dollars bailout for its top ten airlines.
Four leading airlines in United Kingdom: British Airways, EasyJet, Wizz Air and Ryanair, have collectively taken 1.8 billion pounds from the government bailout scheme. This is geared towards stimulating the post-pandemic economy of the Britain that just broke out of her territorial marriage with European Union (EU).
If developed economies of the world are bailing out their aviation industries as post-covid-19 lifeline, Nigerian economy should emulate such gesture. If one juxtaposes our prevailing challenges of skyrocketing unemployment vis-a-vis increasing poverty rate in the country—even before covid-19, Allen Onyema’s advise; as an avid aviation maven, came at the right time. Aviation jobs should be protected at an auspicious time like now.