NASS to consider local content bill for aviation industry – Mark

former Senate President, David Mark
former Senate President, David Mark

Regulation would make it mandatory for airlines to employ a certain number of indigenous pilots and aircraft engineers

The Senate President, David Mark, has said that the National Assembly will consider a local content regulation for Nigeria’s aviation industry to improve the sector.

Mr. Mark said this in Lagos on Sunday during the unveiling of 127 pilots and aircraft maintenance engineers trained by the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta.

Represented by Abdul Ningi, the Senate Deputy Leader, Mr. Mark said the regulation would be passed into law in due course.

He said the regulation will make it mandatory for both domestic and foreign airlines operating in Nigeria to employ a certain number of indigenous pilots and aircraft engineers.

He said the proposed legislation would be part of efforts to deepen local participation in the aviation sector.

The senate president noted that the sector had witnessed an influx of expatriates as pilots, aircraft engineers and other aviation professionals.

He said the regulation had become imperative as one of the ways of creating an avenue for Nigerian aviation professionals to secure jobs in the aviation sector.

Mr. Mark said that NASS will continue to support the Presidential Amnesty Programme for the training of youths in the country in order to close the gaps in manpower needs.

“The National Assembly will continue to support the programme. The legislation will make it mandatory for airlines, whether local or foreign, to employ a certain number of Nigerian professionals as pilots and aircraft engineers. This, we, will pursue as much as it does not conflict with international regulations,” he said.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, said that the house will give speedy passage to the bill to be initiated by the senate.

Mr. Tambuwal was represented by the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta, Rep. Warman Ogoriba.

He said that the initiative was to protect the nation’s interest.

The speaker also said that regulation would facilitate job creation for indigenous aviation professionals.

Shehu Iyal, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Aviation, said that aviation agencies would collaborate to ensure that pilots and aircraft engineers were absorbed into the sector.

Mr. Iyal described the type-rating of 66 pilots and 61 aircraft engineers as historic, adding that their engagement would help to fill the gap created by ageing of indigenous professionals in the sector.

“We will liaise with the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and indeed the Amnesty Office to provide jobs for these trainees. The office has its list and their qualifications. Some are pilots of helicopters; some are for fixed wings while some have more training to do. We know where we will place them. This is good for the development of the Nigerian aviation industry. The Amnesty Office has done very well. I have seen a bigger number sent for training. Kano sent 100 trainee pilots to Jordan for training,” he said.

Kingsley Kuku, Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, urged airline owners and players in the aviation and allied sectors to employ the young pilots and aircraft engineers.

Mr. Kuku said that the young professionals were competent and licensed, having been trained in some of the world’s foremost institutions.

He said that the 127 aviation professionals had been trained to a level that it would be difficult for any organisation to describe them as incompetent.

“The Nigerian Government will take further steps to complete ‘on duty training’ for these pilots and aircraft engineers to make it difficult for any employer to reject them,” Mr. Kuku said.

Ernest Nwakpa, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development Board, urged NASS to go beyond legislation and pursue enforcement of the Local Content Act.

He said that the enforcement would enable the young pilots and aircraft engineers to get jobs faster.

Allen Onyema, Chairman, AirPeace Airlines, promised to engage 15 of the pilots in his airline on completion of their type-rating training at the CAE Oxford Aviation in the United Kingdom and Lufthansa in Germany.

Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, a former Bayelsa Governor, urged the pilots to demonstrate discipline and competence on their jobs so that their communities would appreciate Federal Government’s huge investment in them.


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