Nigeria’s minister of aviation, Hadi Sirika, on Tuesday said the aviation ministry needs a special aviation development fund to help deal with capital intensive projects.
This, he said, will help provide better safety equipment at the nation’s airports, better passenger comfort and in general, improve the aviation sector which he said currently suffers from inadequate funding.
He made the appeal at the second day of the public hearing on six executive aviation bills which are aimed at fine-tuning regulatory issues as well as effective management of agencies in the Nigerian aviation industry on Monday.
The bills are; the bill for an Act to repeal and enact the Civil Aviation Act; Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria Bill, 2019 and Nigerian College of Airspace Management Agency (Establishment) Bill, 2019.
Others are Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (Establishment) Bill, 2019; Nigerian Meteorological Agency (Establishment) Bill, 2019 and Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (Establishment) Bill, 2019.
The bills were transmitted to the Senate for consideration in November 2019 by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mr Sirika’s call was in response to questions on inadequate safety equipment at airports and perceived indifference of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
He insisted that the proposed Aviation Development Fund will have a friendly interest rate and would assist the sector to address its numerous financial challenges.
“In the wisdom of the ministry, we saw that we need huge funds to deal with capital intensive projects, including what the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) will require.
“We need a huge amount to put them in place. Of course, we need adequate security around the airports to deal with intruders. If we are able to find this money and deal with these items, what we will be addressing is sustainability of the items.
“We need an Aviation Development Fund, where this money can be kept, where we are sure that these funds with little interest can be tapped. All we would then need is to boost our internally generated revenue. This volume of capital can be deployed to ensure that every aviation equipment is available at our airports.”
His demand comes barely 24 hours after he complained about failure of Airlines Operators of Nigeria (AON) to remit statutory service charges to the federal government.
In this regard, he also recommended an automated payment system to take care of the “cold war” over default in remittances by members of the AON.
The hearing is expected to continue on Wednesday.
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