Minister woos investors to aviation sector

  • Domestic travel hit by rising Jet A1, others after recovery-DG NCAA

 

 

Minister, Hadi Sirika has called on investors and stakeholders in the nation’s aviation industry to take advantage of the enormous potential in the industry, describing the sector as a goldmine.

He noted that Nigeria’s vantage position in terms of regional positioning, population, and natural resources has positioned it strategically as a continental leader. He however stated that globally, the core variables driving air transport are safety and security.

This is coming as the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Capt. Hamidu Yadudu bemoaned the high huge debts owed to the agency by airlines especially some carriers that are extinct.

Aviation Minister, Senator Hadi Sirika

Sirika in his goodwill message at the National Aviation Conference with the theme, “Advancing the frontiers of possibilities for safe, secure and profitable air transport”, also emphasized the importance of safety and security in the aviation value chain, saying, “We must operate profitably, so as to be able to achieve efficiency and sustainability”.

His words, “I, therefore, implore well-meaning Nigerians and foreign investors alike to come on board and take advantage of these business opportunities, with limitless potential for huge returns on investments”.

The Minister attributed the reasons for the take-over of many airports built by state governments, stressing that with time many of the unviable aerodromes would become viable after concession in what he termed, “Money for money venture”.

He stated that many of the flagship projects of the Ministry of Aviation like airports concession, national carrier project, aerotropolis, and many other projects in the aviation roadmap would be completed before the tenure of the current administration.

Yadudu who hinted at the enormous debts owed FAAN by Arik disclosed that the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) had been taken over the debts. The FAAN MD declined to mention the amount of debts owed to FAAN by Arik and other carriers.

There are indications that the debts could be as high as N15 billion, adding that FAAN needs all the revenue it can generate to provide infrastructure and run its operations.

He further stated that N17 billion was remitted by the agency into the consolidated revenue fund of the Federation Account for the year 2021.

He said this was achieved despite the effects of the pandemic between 2020 and 2021. The contribution is the 25 percent remittance FAAN is required to contribute to the Federation Account from its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) annually.

FAAN has been pushing for the suspension of the remittance to enable it to redirect the fund into airport infrastructure in line with the ICAO requirements even though there are moves to increase the remittance to 40 percent by the federal government.

The Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt Musa Nuhu extolled the collaborative efforts of the various aviation agencies during the COVID-19 pandemic that wreak havoc on global aviation industry including Nigeria.

Nuhu reiterated that domestic air travel has recovered but stated that the sector was, unfortunately, it by the high cost of aviation fuel, otherwise known as Jet A1, and the worsening depreciation of Naira including the scarcity of foreign exchange that had set the sector a little bit back.

“Domestic travel has recovered but is now hit by the twin monsters of skyrocketing Jet A1 and the weakness of Naira against the dollar. The industry is in dire strait, he added.

Wole Shadare