As one of many incentives to partner with the federal government in the failed project of the national airline, Nigeria Air, Ethiopian Airlines admitted to asking the FG for a 15-year tax holiday, among other incentives.

This was contained in the airline’s defense against the lawsuit filed by the Nigerian Airlines Operators in the Federal High Court in Lagos as the second defendant in the case.

The 37-page document with the complaint number FHC/L/CS/2159/2022 was sworn in by the Country Manager of Ethiopian Airlines in Nigeria, Mr. Wondwossen Beyene.

The airline filed its defense on December 19, 2022, less than a month before the start of the initial lawsuit brought by AON.

In the case, scheduled to be filed in the Federal High Court in Lagos on January 16, 2023, Ethiopian Airlines stated that it submitted an offer to purchase shares of the national airline, as did other Nigerian shareholders.

The document read in part: “I believe as a fact that the statements contained in paragraph 11B of the affidavit in support of the plaintiff’s source citation are a distortion of the truth. The second defendant requested tax incentives/concessions for the proposed Nigerian airline, among other incentives, which is normal international practice in international investment negotiations, and not against the law.

“In any case, those requests were proposed and proposed during negotiations with the government and that the Federal Government was free to accept or reject. The claimants have not submitted any evidence that the second defendant has obtained tax incentives/concessions for the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“Ethiopian Airline Position: The company also did not agree with AON that their participation in the national airline project would take jobs away from skilled Nigerians. Rather, the airline insisted that its investment in the project would boost the Nigerian economy, ensure growth in the sector, and create jobs and support for Nigerian travelers.

PUNCH had previously reported that AON and five other members of the aviation industry in their lawsuit against the defendants, Nigeria Air Limited, Ethiopian Airlines, Senator Hadi Sirika (Minister of Aviation, Federal Ministry of Aviation) and the Attorney General of the The Federation stated that Ethiopian Airlines in its Business and Strategic Plan with the Federal Government on the new national airline, requested a 15-year tax holiday from the Government of Nigeria.