The acting general manager of the Sierra Leone Airport Authority (SLAA), Sheikh Swarray Deen, has appealed to the government to consider the Lungi environment into its national grill package.
Speaking to journalists on a wide range of issues yesterday, he outlined that currently they were spending a huge sum of funds to operate a battery of generators on 24 hours basis, which is costing them more than Le28 million.
He emphasized that, “let the government extend that privilege to us, as we are the gateway to and from the country.”
The acting general manager also disclosed about how they were gradually being boxed by encroachers within the airport more especially along its northern boundary.
Commenting on payment of Sierra National Airlines for ground handling equipment that has received negative reports of late he disclosed that, “such publications have sought to present our management as callous and unfeeling for the SNA staff who were not taken for the ground handling secondment”.
He added that, “we want the public to understand that our holding back on payments to SNA is borne out of a number of serious concerns and considerations.”
He cited that, “SNA has long since been slated for liquidation, but the process is unendingly being protracted causing the ground handling activity to be performed under protem arrangements which hinder efforts at undertaking the much needed upgrading of this sector of airport business.”
Swarray Deen revealed further that, “all the payments made Le750million in just seven months go towards paying full salaries and allowances to the few non-ground handling personnel of SNA for doing nothing,” citing that, “these monies as suggested by the bulk of SNA staff (the ground handling related ones, could better be set aside towards the eventual settlement of staff benefits on SNA’s liquidation.”
Journalists were informed that the “equipment for which SLAA is being forced to pay a rental fee close to Le120 million are old.”
“As we currently address you”, he said, “SNA owes us eight hundred thousand dollars in respect of unpaid concession fees and utility charges,” lamenting that the non-recovery of which was a major contributory factor that precipitated the authority’s current liquidity problems.
The acting general manager took the opportunity of the briefing to debunk series of articles in the “African Champion” newspaper that portrayed the authority negatively.
He stated that, “on the above vague generalizations, management notes that it is these attitudes that drive away investors as no serious investor can invest in a country that is declared a den of corruption.”
By Samuel John