The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, SAN, has underscored the pivotal role of the aviation industry in fostering sustainable growth and development across various sectors of the Nigerian economy.
Keyamo, who was speaking at the 2023 Aviation Management Retreat in Warri, Delta, emphasised that the retreat was timely and aligned with one of the primary objectives of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration, which aims to position the Nigerian aviation industry as a hub on both the African continent and the global stage.
The minister expressed his expectation that the 5-point priority agenda he outlined would be translated into actionable programs and projects by all departments and agencies under the ministry’s purview. He stressed the need for proactive measures, thoughtful deliberations, and a SWOT analysis of the aviation sector during the retreat, with the aim of providing practical solutions to achieve desired results.
Acknowledging that growth and development in the aviation sector should be private-sector-driven to attract foreign direct investment, Keyamo emphasised the responsibility of policymakers to ensure that policies, programs, and projects align with international standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
Keyamo raised concerns about the 2023 ICAO Universal Oversight Audit Program, revealing that Nigeria scored 70 per cent against the 75 per cent benchmark, which he deemed unacceptable. He underscored the critical nature of the aviation sector as a safety and security industry, emphasising the need for proper monitoring and evaluation to maintain international standards.
Expressing President Tinubu’s passion for transforming the nation, Keyamo called on participants at the retreat to share the same enthusiasm for transforming their respective departments and agencies for the benefit of the aviation industry and the nation at large. He encouraged active engagement and a readiness to work toward achieving collective goals.
In his earlier goodwill message, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Aviation, Sen. Buhari Abdulatif, represented by his vice chairman, Peter Jiya, urged the government to address challenges in the aviation industry. He emphasised the need for improvements in airport infrastructure, safety concerns, the high cost of aviation fuel, operational costs, inadequate funding, flight delays, cancellations and a shortage of skilled manpower.
The chairman of the House Committee on Aviation, Hon. Abdulahi Garba, represented by his deputy, Hon. Akingbaso Festus assured the ministry and its agencies of the committee’s commitment to providing legislative support for the successful implementation of projects.