Dr Fang Liu, Secretary-General, International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO, Montreal, Canada
The federal government of Nigeria has begun shopping for international investors to invest in three air transport projects contained in her aviation roadmap namely, the establishment of a national carrier, concession of airports and the construction of a Maintenance Repairs and Overhaul, MRO, facility in the country.
Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika reiterated government’s decision to dispose of these initial aspects of her roadmap before the expiration of the life of the present regime which will end in 2023.
Senator Sirika did embark on aggressive marketing of those projects at an international seminar organized by the African Development Bank, AFDB, with the theme; “coordinating efficient response to the COVID-19 crisis effects on the aviation sector in Africa” which had in attendance, Secretary-General of International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO, Dr Fang Liu, President of AFDB, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, representatives of the World Bank, Afrexim Bank, Managing Director, Standard Chartered Bank of South Africa, African Civil Aviation Commission, AFCAC and, International Air Transport Association, IATA, representatives, among others.
The Minister said that the attempt to attract private sector capital in Nigeria’s aviation sector informed the reason for designing all the lofty projects in the aviation roadmap to be such that will attract the buy-in of private-sector players.
He passionately called on corporate organizations, high net worth individuals to come and take the golden advantage and invest in any project of their choice as tender would soon be made public for serious investors.
He said by the palliative of N5billion the federal government had extended to the industry to cushion the effect of covid-19, no one should be left in doubt as to the need of private capital in the nations air transport industry.
The Minister also used the occasion to reiterate that the federal government had also brokered another facility in the sum of N500billion for industry players to borrow at a single-digit interest rate, as another avenue to complement the N5billion that would be coming directly from the government.
He said the government urgently needed serious-minded collaborators and finance partners as a means to revamp the industry which is yet to come out from the prostate position the covid-19 pandemic had consigned the entire aviation value chain since March 2020.
The Minister appealed to African Civil Aviation Commission, AFCAC, African Airlines Association, AFRAA, Africa Union Commission, AUC, to ramp up their long conceived programs and ensure the Single Africa Air Travel Market, SAATM, comes into fruition sooner than later.
He also reminded the big wigs in African aviation present at the webinar that Covid-19 had presented the opportunity to begin giving ventilation to the Yamassoukrou treaty, YD, without any iota of delay.
Sirika affirmed that the near cessation of global trade, especially among African countries as brought about by the pandemic, was the key needed to jump-start these lofty treaties which are certain to hasten recovery of aviation, promote trade and inspires excellent connectivity among the African nations.
Nigeria’s Aviation Minister lamented that there was a huge crisis bedevilling aviation in Africa. He asked rhetorically that if 80% of airlines reaping the traffic in Africa are not owned by Africans, what crisis could be more?
Hence he appealed to African government to provide more succour to the industry as he noted that, “support from governments does not match the heavy losses the sector suffered during the pandemic and that is why most of the projects listed in our aviation roadmap are designed to be private sector-driven”
He appealed to financial partners, multilateral agencies, and the continental bodies to strongly consider collaboration, partnership and rethink, review and reorganize the industry so that the abundant potentials in African trade, air connectivity are unlocked by Africans to the benefit of Africa.
He announced that the federal government of Nigeria had given total support to both the Yamassoukro treaty, YD and the Single Africa Air Travel Market, SAATM, as the government will key-in to their implementation as soon at they’re flagged off by the concern agencies.
Sirika also reminded his audience that the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement, AFCFTA, also provided golden opportunity to jump-start these lofty ideas to make Africa cater for Africans without playing second fiddle.
While setting the tone for the intercontinental symposium which the bank dubbed “African Aviation Recovery Conference”, the President, African Development Bank, AFDB, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, said the bank’s mission for hosting the talk shop was to “achieve a coordinated way to restart African aviation”.
He explained that the bank’s intention “is not to substitute but to support existing arrangement to make Africa aviation stronger. AFDB will continue to create an environment for virile African Aviation”.
Dr Akinwunmi Adesina charged discussants to give cognizance to the “stimulation of demand and the reinforcement of connectivity through Single Africa Air Transport Market, SAATM, free trade, passport and visa policy for free movement of goods and persons”.
The Secretary-General, International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO, DR Fang Liu, charged the entire continental bodies, African Civil Aviation Commission, AFCAC, African Union Commission, AUC, African Airlines Association, AFRAA, to coordinate and collaborate on COVID-19 test for air travellers.
She also charged the August gathering, though virtually, to design, agree and coordinate on a measured restart and growth for aviation in the African continent.
Liu charged the industry leaders gathered to think ahead of medical health emergencies and how to manage them with the minimum toll on aviation.
She urged each of the African nations to fashion out a national aviation plan for communicable disease and device strategies to combat the pandemic. She said she was aware AFDB could be of immense assistance to each of the African nations with a challenge in Covid-19 control.Share