Hadi Sirika Nigeria’s Aviation Minister under President Muhammadu Buhari has promised that the federal government was committed to completing all the outstanding projects in the aviation industry before the terminal date of the present administration in 2023.
The minister gave the assurance in his keynote address at the 25th annual conference of the League of Airport and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) held recently in Lagos. The minister who was represented the commissioner and chief executive officer of the Accident Investigation Bureau Nigeria (AIB-N), Mr. Akin Olateru, appealed to all the stakeholders to join hand to ensure the completion of the projects.
The projects include, but not limited to the ongoing construction of a new terminal at the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, which began in 2013. The $600 million; $500 million loan deal secured from China and the $100 million counterpart fund from the federal government, had a completion period of 20 months. Recall that the senate and house committees on aviation had recently raised the alarm about delay in finishing the project, which, according to them, was almost 90 per cent completed.
“We are committed to achieving the completion of outstanding projects we have set out for ourselves before our term runs out. We have a vision of a sector that will provide utmost comfort, safety, and security for majority of passengers,” Sirika said.
In a bid to improve the operating environment for investors in the aviation sector, the minister said the government had ensured zero import duty on aircraft engine and spare parts, special foreign exchange window for the aviation sector, improved availability of aviation fuel, restructured the aviation agencies, improved safety, and security.
Others, according to him were the upgrade of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria to a regional centre of excellence, introduction of policies on remotely piloted aircraft and employment policies on the enforcement of expatriate quota in the aviation sector. He also said the ministry has a clear roadmap for the development of the sector in Nigeria, stressing that it would ensure its growth to the nation’s gross domestic product through policies and programmes.