The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has called for alternative sources of funding to enable the armed forces meet training and operational needs.
Abubakar made the call in Abuja on Monday while speaking to newsmen after budget defence session with the House of Representatives committee on Air Force.
He said that it was necessary to look beyond the budget by seeking fund through alternative sources.
He said: “We appreciate the support of the national assembly, but there is need to look beyond the annual budget, the Air Force is a very expensive institution that requires a lot of resources to function.
“We are working to ensure that we get what is required in terms of platforms, capabilities and manpower so that we can make Nigeria a more secured country.”
He said it was not possible for any institution to receive what was exactly proposed in the budget, saying, “this is the reason we call for alternative sources of funding”.
He said: “I have said that the air force is expensive to maintain, so we cannot depend on the budget alone.”
He commended the federal government for the support given to the armed forces, saying that such had aided them to go into power protection of the air access.
He said: “So this is the reason we have the special forces training that’s going on, very soon, we will have sufficient capacity to be able to support other sister agencies in conducting of limited ground operations.”
Abubakar said that alternative funding for the air force could be generated through Public Private Partnership arrangements.
He said that percentage interests from financial institutions and levies on certain charges on mobile phone users are possible avenues to generate funds.
He said: “You have to be safe first before you can think of enjoying your mobile phone, so whatever a subscriber gives to the mobile phone company can have certain percentage deducted to fund the armed forces.
“These resources can be pushed to equipment manufacturers and we just get the aircraft that all we are interested in.”
Speaking on the use drone technologies to minimize the cost of flying fighter jets, he reiterated the expensive nature of keeping Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in the air.
He said: “They are very expensive; we say they are unmanned, the only difference is that you don’t have anybody inside flying.
“But you have about 15 people on ground managing just one UAV, they are very expensive, but we will get there.”
He said the air force was building capacity of its officers to conduct research and development, because it could not continue to depend on others.