N1tn needed to turn around aviation sector – Sirika

The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, on Tuesday in Abuja said the Federal Government needed one trillion naira to turn around the country’s aviation sector.

Sirika said this at a four-day public hearing organized by the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation.

The hearing is focussed on “The Need to Rescue the Ailing Aviation Industry from Imminent Collapse.”

Sirika stressed that the government had no plans to sell the country’s airports but frowned at the poor state of infrastructure in the aviation sector.

He said, “One trillion naira will be needed to turn around our aviation sector, we will not sell the airports and nobody is carrying any structure to anywhere.

“In fact, what we intend to do is to put them into better use”.

The Minister disclosed that the ministry had inaugurated a 9-man delivery team to interface with stakeholders in the aviation sector on concession of the airports.

According to him, the team will liaise with labour unions to oversee the day to day running of the concession.

He said the process will be carried out in a better, more transparent and effective manner.

“We have to improve upon what the Nigerian Ports Authority has done to ensure there is more efficient and transparent process and ensure that government also makes more money,” Sirika said.

Earlier, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara said there was need to ensure fiscal discipline in the use of public funds in the aviation sector.

Represented by the Deputy Speaker, Yusuf Lasun, the Speaker said that the call was crucial to restore the confidence of Nigerians in the aviation sector.

He tasked the House Committee on Aviation to conduct thorough investigation, to ascertain the challenges facing the sector in the efforts to provide efficient service and sustainable means of livelihood to Nigerians.

The speaker said that the sector’s contribution to Nigeria’s GDP in recent years was encouraging, and has huge prospects of playing a major role in the nation’s economic development.

“In 2014, for instance, the sector’s contribution to Nigeria’s GDP was about N137.9 billion and $685 million in 2015. The sector also supports 159,000 jobs in the country,” he said.

The hearing will be investigating the suspension of operations by local airlines and suspension of operations by international airlines.

The committee will also investigate alleged corrupt practices against local airlines, examine previous and current airport concession processes and fees, as well as the fate of Nigerians employed in the industry.

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