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Dev. Fund, panacea to challenges of aviation sector -Minister

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Dev. Fund, panacea to challenges of aviation sector -Minister

Hadi Sirika

Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has advocated for the establishment of Aviation Development Fund as a way to address the enormous financial challenges of the industry.

Responding to concerns over inadequate safety equipment at the nation’s airports, passengers’ comfort and perceived indifference of the regulatory agency, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, at the ongoing three-day public hearing on the six Aviation Executive Bills in Abuja, the minister maintained that the strategic sector is battling with paucity of funds.

He declared that the Aviation Development Fund being proposed with friendly interest rate would come handy for the sector to address its enormous financial challenges.

“In the wisdom of the Ministry, we saw that we need huge fund to deal with capital intensive projects, including what Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN will require.

“We need huge amount to put them in place. Of course, we need adequate security around the airport 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 Aviation Development Fund, where these money can be kept, where we are cocksure that these fund with little interest can be tapped. All we would then need is to boost our Internally Generated Revenue, IGR.

“This Fund will help us with passenger comfort, safety around airport. This volume of capital can be deployed to ensure that every aviation equipment are available at our airports,” he said.

Expressing his concern over failure of airline operators under the aegis of Airlines Operators of Nigeria, AON to remit their service charge, Senator Sirika recommended automated payment system to take care of cold war over default in remittance by members of the AON.

In his own presentation, Director General of NAMA, Fola Akinkuotu expressed delight over the proposed amendment of the Bill establishing NAMA as he noted that it would boost the much needed improvement, efficiency to improve safety in our airspace.

Aviation Security Consultant and Secretary General of Aviation Security Round-table Initiative, Group Captain John Ojikutu (rtd) called for review of the sharing formula of the remittance to the NCAA, which he insisted was skewed against other stakeholders in the sector.

He specifically queried why NCAA is made to be taking 58 percent of the sharing formula.

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