ECOWAS Conference Hall: One Vision One Destiny
Fifteen sovereign states that constitute the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, have been urged to collapse whatever connectivity barrier to air transport that now exist, and develop protocols to make them function as a single, indivisible domestic market with unfettered connectivity such as existed in a country like the United States of America, USA.
Dr Olusegun Harold Demuren, a former Director-General, DG, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, made the submission within a three minute time allotted for contributors at the ongoing high powered webinar/talk shop initiated by the International Partners For Aviation Development, Innovation And Sustainability, iPADIS, with the theme, Enhancing Air Transport Connectivity and Growth in West Africa.
He said for the much-touted connectivity desired in the ECOWAS region to become a reality and beneficial to each of the states in the sub-region, each sovereign state should be ready to surrender to the protocol to be developed for unfettered air connectivity
The Russian trained aeronautic engineer affirmed that if the political leaders in the region are sharp-witted in agreeing to the recommendation, intra trade within the region will automatically experience a meteoric rise.
Demuren urged that encumbrances to air connectivity should be identified, collated and expunged, so will those that hindered trade rare their heads and shall also be instantly dealt with hence, the region will genuinely emerge as the most prosperous trading block.
He called on the various global and regional bodies such as the International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO, African Civil Aviation Commission, AFCAC, International Air Transport Association, IATA, CANSO, ASECNA, to be sincere and come up with modalities in various spheres of services to support the objective of the region to operate as a single domestic national market.
The distinguished aeronautic engineer with a nose for details in safety matters as regards the management of aviation enterprise also called on governments in the region not to starve the airlines and other players in air transport of foreign exchange.
He reminded the governments in the region that the majority of procurements in the industry is dollarized, so denying them foreign exchange is like creating a clog in the veins that transport oxygenated blood to the human heart which, if not promptly and carefully attended to, could cost one’s life, ditto for withholding forex from the airlines and other players in the air transport value chain.
Dr Demuren also appealed to the bankers’ bank in each state of the ECOWAS region to do all within their powers and ensure that facilities extended to operators in the aviation industry do not go beyond a single-digit interest rate.
He however admonished the airlines to embrace technology as the world had gone digital and only organizations who wished to be left behind will still be making mincemeat of the clamouring for digitalization.
Setting the tone for the day’s discourse was the sitting Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, Capt Musa Nuhu, who expressed delight in the collaborative effort by the Federal Ministry of Aviation, Abuja, the NCAA for jointly hosting with iPADIS, the two-day webinar on how to enhance air transport connectivity and growth in West Africa.
He assured participants that the seminar would at the end provide airlines and other industry players opportunities to cooperate and start afresh.
The DG assured of far-reaching decisions and recommendations at the conclusion of the talkshow later today.
The founder of iPADIS, Dr Bernard Olumuyiwa Aliu, who is the immediate past Council President, International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO, said that air connectivity is an existential development to aid growth in the West Africa sub-region.
Dr Aliu called on the entire governments of each sovereign states in Africa to collaborate with the view to bring about effective, efficient, safe and economic air transport in Africa.
He urged African leaders and those that superintend over air transport operations not to use the precovid-19 condition of the industry as a bench mark but press ahead for exponential growth that will inspire sustainable development in aviation in the entire African continent
Bernard Aliu said it is imperative that governments in the West Africa subregion cooperate and collaborate to enable them to turn their socio-geographical advantage over and become a great aviation region ahead of the competition in the continent.
The discussion continues today with Aviation Ministers and policymakers responsible for civil aviation in the region to discuss how the region could turn its huge potential in air travel and trade to commercial prosperity and improved living standard for their citizens.Share