Sirika Thumbs-Up Aviation Sector For Achieving 98% Roadmap Goal, Implementation 

The Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika.
The Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika.

The Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika has lauded the ministry for achieving almost 98 per cent of its roadmap items and implementation for the years 2015-2023.

Speaking at the 10th National Aviation Stakeholders Forum 2023 meeting in Abuja, Sirika outlined the overall goal of growing the aviation sector’s contribution to the Nigerian economy from its current level of 0.6 per cent to 5 per cent. Also, he stated that the sector has already contributed $1.7bn to the economy and created direct and indirect jobs for citizens.

“Our goal,” he said “is to grow aviation’s contribution from 0.6 per cent to 5 per cent ($14.166bn). We’ve debunked the gospel truth that aviation doubles every 15 years. Nigeria’s airports, passengers, entrepreneurship, airlines, and jobs have doubled and multiplied.”

Sirika cited a June 2020 study on Nigeria’s aviation sector by the International Air Transportation Association (IATA), that showed air transportation’s significant contribution to the national economy by providing 241,000 jobs and a $1.7bn contribution. The minister highlighted the doubling of the number of airports, passengers, airlines and jobs in Nigeria, along with the growth of related entrepreneurship like catering and ground handling.

Among the achievements of the aviation roadmap were the establishment of a national carrier, the development of agro-allied and cargo terminals, an aviation leasing company, a maintenance, repair and overhaul centre, an aviation and aerospace university, as well as the concession of five international airports.

The ministry also strengthened civil aviation institutions to operate in line with international civil aviation standards and global best practices.

Sirika pledged that the second airport terminal would be ready for commissioning within the next two months. Additionally, cargo and agro-allied terminals are being developed in Kebbi, Katsina, Plateau, Yola, Edo, Ekiti, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Lagos, Kano, Enugu, and Calabar. The proposed terminals will have facilities such as dry cargo terminal warehouses, perishable cargo terminals with cool chain storage and climate chambers for storage and handling of temperature-sensitive products including pharmaceuticals and bonded warehouses. Sirika encouraged other states to develop similar terminals.

“To tap into Nigeria’s high-value agricultural potential,” he said “dedicated cargo/agro-allied terminals will be developed in each of the country’s six (6) regions. These terminals will include a dry cargo terminal warehouse, a perishable cargo terminal with cool chain storage, climate chambers, and bonded warehouses. the private-public partnership (PPP) model of designing, building, operating and maintaining will be used to establish these terminals.”

The ministry, he further disclosed, has also pushed the signing of the Civil Aviation Act 2022 and Nigerian Airspace Management Act 2022 into law. Sirika listed some of the challenges confronting the ministry as inadequate safety, security and surveillance equipment, funds, rising prices, scarcity of Jet A1 aviation fuel, lack of skilled high-level management personnel in airlines, decaying/ageing infrastructure and obsolete equipment, as well as difficulties in accessing foreign exchange by operators.

Sirika did emphasise, though, that the Nigerian aviation sector was the second most recovered in the industry, following the from-the-scratch development of protocols for the safe, secure and orderly restart of the aviation industry after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The minister commended the agencies and stakeholders in the aviation sector for their contribution to the growth of the sector.

Oluchi Okorafor
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