The Federal Government has pledged to make Nigeria the aviation hub of Africa as part of its strategy to attract foreign investors into the aviation industry, thus contributing significantly to economic growth.
This commitment was reiterated by President Bola Tinubu during the 7th edition of the Aviation Africa Summit & Exhibition 2023 held in Abuja.
Represented by the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, President Tinubu called on investors to support the funding of infrastructure projects while advocating for the creation of a transparent, stable and predictable investment climate within the aviation sector.
President Tinubu underscored the pivotal role of air transport as a catalyst for economic development and a driving force behind global socio-economic growth.
“Air transport generates economic growth and development, provides jobs, and fosters a range of socio-economic benefits. Recent global events have further highlighted the immense contribution and importance of air transportation as a catalyst for economic development, a vital engine of global socio-economic growth, one of the greatest contributors to the advancement of modern society, and a key instrument for achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” he said.
To fully harness and maximise the benefits of air transport in Africa, the Minister emphasised the need for continued collaboration, knowledge sharing and business development within the African aviation community. This collaborative effort should address significant structural challenges facing the sector.
Expanding on the government’s vision to enhance aviation business in Nigeria, President Tinubu outlined several key initiatives:
1. Upgrading Infrastructure. This includes enhancing the Cat3 landing system at major airports, constructing a second runway in Abuja, implementing airport improvement programs through concession arrangements, and partnering with companies to transform major airports into aerotropolises.
2. Aircraft Leasing Company. The government encourages major players in aircraft leasing and head lessors to invest in Nigerian airlines, providing state-of-the-art aircraft. The government is committed to enforcing contract agreements and protecting the rights of investors and all parties involved, in line with international obligations under the Cape Town Convention.
3. Aircraft Maintenance Organisation. Establishing a world-class maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility is critical to making Nigeria a continental aviation hub. To address the shortage of qualified engineers, the current administration is prepared to provide full support for the establishment of top-tier MROs and training organisations.
4. Forex Availability. Acknowledging the impact of foreign exchange fluctuations on entrepreneurs in Nigeria, the government is determined to ensure the ready availability of forex. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will hold quarterly reconciliation meetings to address this issue.
5. Tax Holidays. The current administration is open to providing tax holidays to incentivise both existing and new entrants into the Nigerian aviation sector.
These comprehensive measures signal the government’s commitment to fostering a vibrant aviation industry and realising its goal of making Nigeria the aviation hub of Africa, attracting substantial investments and driving economic growth in the process.