Stakeholders demand rollback of take over of JCAA funds

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Stakeholders demand rollback of take over of JCAA funds

Unread post by bimjim » Sat Apr 08, 2017

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Aviation stakeholders demand rollback of GOJ decision to take over JCAA funds
Patrice Walters
April 7th, 2017

The Management Staff Association (MANSA), comprising technical and administrative management personnel for the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority, has joined the list of air transport industry stakeholder groups, which is calling on the government to rethink and overturn its decision to incorporate the financial resources of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) into the Consolidated Fund. The staff association, whose membership plays a leading role in shaping and effecting the strategic policy and operational mandate and directives of the JCAA, as regulator and service provider for the local aviation industry, has decried the move as an ill-conceived, destructive and wanton step that will negate the ongoing thrust to upgrade and modernise Jamaica’s air navigation infrastructure to meet international safety requirements.

With the aviation industry being a dynamic one, with ever-emergent threats and an ongoing need for the adoption of new technologies and standards, the MANSA is concerned that the fiscal space for such development continues to be critical. This fiscal space, it says, is necessary for Jamaica to maintain its airspace, ensure the continued safety of air travel and maintain international confidence in the air transport sector, as a critical industry on which Jamaica’s development prospects depend, particularly in the areas of tourism and trade.

Importantly, the MANSA has also indicated that the GOJ’s actions violates and invalidates the provision of the Civil Aviation Act under section 6 (H) (1) to establish a reserve fund, as well as 6(H)(2a), where no part of the reserve fund shall be otherwise applied …. than for the purposes of the Authority. This provision was enforced so as to ensure the continued safety and security of the Civil Aviation System and airspace, as established under Section 3(i)(A.

MANSA’s staunch opposition to the move is heightened by the fact that this untimely move, which is not in the interest of national development, comes at a time when the JCAA is currently undergoing a much-publicised modernisation programme. The Association has already seen numerous challenges with the new dispensation. In outlining the challenges, the MANSA has reiterated that the development programmes, which are mandated by the International Civil Aviation Organisation, are time-critical and costly. It further stated that, even prior to the current move to incorporate the JCAA’s financial resources into the Consolidated Fund, the JCAA had to contend with excessive bureaucracy associated with government procurement guidelines, which often made project implementation processes slow and frustrating. MANSA’s stance, which has been communicated to the JCAA’s board, is that the new fiscal arrangement will negatively impact revenue flow and, by consequence, industry safety.

Despite the submission of an annual budget that is already broken down into monthly and quarterly estimates, the JCAA is now required to provide weekly and monthly budget estimates to the Ministry of Finance via the Ministry of Transport and Mining. In relation to the assurances which have been given that things will ‘operate as normal’, MANSA has rejected claims of “little or no effect” as counter-intuitive and baseless, given the greater bureaucracy, the obvious and overarching need to “fund the budget” by whatever means necessary, and the clear lack of government appreciation for the complexities, requirements and international standards-driven environment in which the air transport industry operates.

The MANSA has also queried the matter of who will accept responsibility for any lost revenue associated with operational issues linked to equipment, but more importantly, who is assuming accountability for the increased risk that could be created if there is a major air transport incident, precipitated by the new dispensation.

The MANSA says that all stakeholders are awaiting answers and a responsible review and overturn of the decision by the government with immediate effect.

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