The Federal Government gave indication to float new national carrier next year as part of its roadmap for the aviation sector in the 2021 budget.
Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, who disclosed this when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Aviation for the 2021 budget defence, said the roadmap to be implemented through Public Private Partnership, PPP has establishment of national carrier as top priority.
Sirika also disclosed the government plan to take over 10 airports from the state government to further boost the aviation industry, having realised that it was the fastest growing sector of the nation’s economy.
The minister listed the airports to be taken over with the pleas of the state governments to include those of Anambra, Benue, Ekiti, Nasarawa, Ebonyi, Gombe, Kebbi, Osubi, Dutse airports.
His words: “In 2021, the sum of N78.960billion is being proposed for capital expenditure at the headquaters in the Aviation Ministry and the emphasis will focus on the implenentation of the Aviation Roadmap as by Mr President.
“The roadmap would be implemented through Public Private Partnership , topmost of which will be the establishment of national carrier.
Other projects to be executed as spelt out in the roadmap, accordimg to him, are the establishment of Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul, MRC facility, development of agro-allied cargo infrastructure, establishment of the Aviation Leasing Company, Search and Rescue Unit and Aerospace University with the support of International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO.
On the national carrier, the minister stressed that all required agreements and arrangements with other partners, have been worked out, making 2021 as the year the plan that has been in the pipeline will get practical actualisation.
“This government right from inception in 2015, has been planning and strategizing on how to resuscitate the national carrier for Nigeria as far as global air transportation is concerned, the plan going by what is on the ground now, will be actualise next year through the PPP arrangement.
The minister added that aviation is the fastest growing sector of the Nigerian economy despite the set back suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic .
Indications to this effect, he said, are that 10 new airports are coming up in the country in states like Benue, Ekiti , Nasarawa, Yobe etc, apart from other ones taken over by the federal government like those of Gombe, Kebbi, Dutse and Zuru Airports.
He however said that safely and security are more of important issues to them in the aviation sector than establishment of new airports.
“Safety and security issues first before any other thing in the Aviation sector the reason why efforts are being made to put some of the airports with issues of failing infrastructure in good shape.
In the light of this, airports such as Minna, Ilorin, Makurdi etc, complained of are being attended to.
Chairman of the committee, Senator Smart Adeyemi (APC Kogi West), requested the minister to ensure the upgrade of the Ajaokuta Airstrip and establishment of Lokoja Airport.
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