With only one month to go in 2017, only 43 per cent of the aviation budget for the year has been released, an official said.
The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said this on Thursday in Abuja when the Senate Committee on Aviation visited the ministry on oversight function.
The budget performance of the aviation sector currently stands at 65 per cent with the release of N8.45 billion of the N19.85 billion allocated to the ministry.
Mr. Sirika said the amount released represented only 43 per cent of the total budgeted sum.
He said of the amount received, the ministry had spent N4.29 billion, leaving a balance of N4.16 billion in its coffers.
The minister also said that the balance on appropriation for the period was N11.40 billion, representing 57 per cent of the total appropriation.
He further disclosed that the amount appropriated for personnel cost was N1.37 billion while N1.14 billion had been released.
Furthermore, he said that N314.6 million had been released for overhead as against N437.2 million appropriated.
On the capital budget, he said that N18.05 billion was appropriated with N7 billion released, leaving a balance of N11.05 billion.
“The capital budget implementation was focused on the completion of ongoing projects in the major international airports with key steps taken on the establishment of a national carrier.
“You will agree with me from the above budget performance that one of our major constraints had been that of funding, which is largely due to the dwindling resources of the government.’’
Mr. Sirika said efforts were ongoing to adopt Public Private Partnership (PPP) approach in the funding of the projects due to lean government resources.
On the other hand, he said that the aviation sector had witnessed continuous growth globally in terms of passengers and cargo aircraft movement, adding that the value chain of the sector was enormous.
The minister explained that the government was currently developing some specific policies that would ensure the development of the sector in line with global trend.
He identified some key policy initiatives to be in the areas of safety and security; infrastructure and airport concession; establishment of private sector-driven national carrier and maintenance, repair and overhaul facility.
Others are the establishment of agro-allied cargo infrastructure; restructuring of aviation agencies to address the challenge of over bloated staff and establishment of aircraft leasing company through PPP procurement method.
Responding, Adamu Aleiro, Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, expressed satisfaction with the level of performance of the ministry’s budget so far.
Mr. Aleiro said that the Senate would support the establishment of a private sector-driven national carrier.
He said that the role of the government was to provide the enabling environment.
Mr. Aliero stressed that Nigeria could become an aviation hub in Africa, if proper policies were put in place and implemented, adding that the initiative was key to achieving the standard.
“We are impressed with the performance of the 2016 budget especially on overhead and personnel,” he said.
He urged the ministry to always commence its procurement process as soon as the budget was passed.