Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has said the need to concession the maintenance of airport infrastructure and the building of new ones across the country is inevitable as that is the only way to maintain high standard and efficiency in the running of airport operations across the country in keeping with global standards.
Sirika made this justification when he received a delegation from the International Enterprise Singapore led by its Director, Middle East and Africa Group, Ian Lee. He said government is strongly committed to providing an enabling environment for investors to thrive in the aviation sector with rules and regulations to make the industry economically attractive.
According to James A. Odaudu, Deputy Director, Press & Public Affairs, Ministry of Aviation, the minister also said the government has made concerted efforts on the improvement of security in the country with the virtual defeat of the Boko Haram insurgents that had terrorized the nation in the immediate past, and also ” confirmed that the procurement processes for the Concession and the National Carrier had reached advanced stages as government would soon appoint Transaction Advisers.”
“He expressed delight at the interest shown by International Enterprise Singapore and other Singaporean firms in Nigeria’s aviation industry and assured them of the federal government’s openness and preparedness to work with all serious minded and sincere investors who have the know-how to contribute to the nation’s development.”
Sirika also used the visit to explain the rationale behind the decision to temporarily shut down operations at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja for repair works on the airport runway, saying it was purely based on safety considerations He also explained that while the whole renovation work would last for six months, the six-week closure would enable the restoration of the runway to a usable state.
Responding, the leader of the delegation and Director of the Middle East and Africa Group of International Enterprise Singapore, Ian Lee said they were in the country to establish their interest in building business relationships with Nigeria and Nigerian companies, especially in the Aviation Sector where they have identified the on-going Airport Infrastructure Concession and the proposed National Carrier as areas of high interest.
He told the Minister that the main purpose of IE Singapore is to drive Singapore’s external economy, by growing Globally Competitive Companies and promoting international trade to ensure Singapore’s growth in a globalized world.
He further disclosed that with 39 offices in over 20 countries, in addition to being based in Singapore, IE Singapore offers services to help enterprises export, develop business capabilities, find overseas markets and to enter new markets, through its Global Company Partnership and Market Readiness Assistance frameworks.
According to him, Nigeria represents the future of the African continent going by its political and economic stature which has placed it in the leadership position it now occupies. This, he said has made the country highly attractive to prospective investors, especially from Singapore and expressed his country’s desire to forge a better and mutually beneficial economic relationship with Nigeria.