Nigerian government adopts mechanism to promote safety, health in aviation industry – Minister

Stella Oduah

Nigeria would partner a WHO based organisation for the project.

The Federal Government has adopted financial mechanisms aimed at promoting high health and safety standards in the aviation industry, the Supervising Minister of the National Planning Commission, Bashir Yuguda, said on Friday.

The minister was speaking in Abuja at the 12th Plenary of the 36-member countries leading group on innovative financing for development.

The financing mechanisms, the minister said, would involve the air ticket levy and an effective aid management strategy under a newly reviewed Official Development Assistance, ODA, policy. He said the levy was in line with the Federal Government’s Transformation Agenda and Nigeria Vision 20:2020, which covered the country’s long-term development blue print in the sector.

The levy, the minister pointed out, was not remitted to UNITAID to promote health causes as it is in many countries.

UNITAID, according to its website, uses innovative financing to increase funding for greater access to treatments and diagnostics for HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis in low-income countries; and is housed at the World Health Organisation, WHO, in Geneva.

The minister said that in Nigeria, UNITAID was being deployed towards ensuring high safety and health standards, provision of aviation infrastructure, and manpower development.

“These mechanisms have so far helped to stabilise the aviation industry in terms of boosting the capacity of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority to discharge its mandate,” the minister said.

The government, he noted, was open to collaborative funding sources for its programmes, including those offered by the French Development Agency, FDA, and the Bill Gates Foundation on Polio Vaccination.

As an emerging economy, he said Nigeria occupied a unique dual position as a recipient and donor of aid. He said that Nigeria was not only committed to peace keeping operations, especially in the West African sub-region, but was also prepared to give technical aid support through its Technical Aid Corps programme.

He said Nigeria was conscious of the unrelenting global economic pressures that have orchestrated a progressive reduction in development aid, while as a recipient and donor of aid, the country was also feeling the pinch of shrinking support.

While urging the group to promote the innovative financing mechanism for development globally, Mr. Yuguda said aggressive publicity should be deployed for useful expert reports in such critical sectors as education, health, food security, illicit flows, and climate change.

On her part, the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, urged the group to develop a more sustainable and innovative means of funding developments to complement the dwindling ODA to developing countries.

Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said the group was expected to deliberate on Millennium Development Goals, MDGs and post-2015 Agenda, as they were imperative to the global economy.

The minister-delegate in charge of development, Pascal Canfin, called for the development of partnerships between the public and private sectors to mobilise more financial resources for development.

The group is aimed at establishing predictable and stable mechanisms for raising funds for development to complement the ODA.



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