by Gift Samuel, The Sight News
Abuja-As experts from around the world converged in Abuja to mark the third edition of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) World Aviation Forum(IWAF/3), President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed believe that local and international private capitals is the surest way to fund Aviation infrastructure as he called for collaboration from stakeholders in the sector.
Declaring the forum open on Tuesday, President Buhari who was represented by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, noted that there is little commitment in financing aviation infrastructure in Africa beyond mere words.
He emphasized that the critical responsibility of all stakeholders is to ensure that the phenomenal growth trajectory of the industry is well managed and regulated for safety and efficiency, taking into account sustainable environment with friendly policies and regulations.
He said, “The key to achieving this objective is collaboration. The African Development Bank is in discussions with us on financing Nigeria’s Integrated Aviation Master Plan which involves building and maintenance and the financing of a Private sector led National Carrier.
“The conference is timely as it will give room for a thorough engagement of the way forward and as well the practical steps required to ensure that African Aviation is not left behind in the growth story of world aviation”.
Also speaking, the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika noted that the theme of the forum, “Financing the development of Aviation infrastructure” is apt, considering the infrastructure deficit facing the aviation sector in most parts of the world.
The minister who noted that the deficit is bad on one hand, stated that it also provides opportunity for investment on the other hand.
He further said that Nigeria with it’s great potential still lacks a strong Air Carrier,major Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul(MRO) centre, efficient world class airport or even a significant catering company and urged investors to on the brighter side invest in Nigeria as the country has 34 per cent Rate of Return on Investment, one of the highest in the world.
He said, “I am glad to inform you that Nigeria has passed ICAO security audit with 96.4 per cent while its score in the Universal Safety Oversight Audit was above global average and by far exceeds Abuja ministerial Safety target. Nigeria as a signatory to yamasoukro Decision (YD) is committed to single Africa Air Transport Market(SAATM). I cannot understand how 80 per cent of carriers operating in Africa are non-African. This is unacceptable”.
He further stated that according to the Nigeria Integrated Infrastructure Masterplan(NIMP), US$ 775bn is required to develop Nigeria’s transportation infrastructure over the next 30years.
On his part, the ICAO Council President, Dr. Olumuyiwa Bernard Aliu said that Financing development of Aviation infrastructure is a key global priority, adding that ICAO has reprivatized itself to be a more efficient and value partner to its member States.
He further said that aviation today is by far the safest means of transportation and from global standpoint, modern commercial aircrafts connects some 10 million passengers daily on over 500, 000 flights amounting to 3.8 billion passengers and 35 million flights in 2016 and the results are expected to double over the next 15 years, adding that aviation contributes more than 2.7 trillion dollars to global GDP.
He opined that the impact of air transport on nations, societies and businesses are as numerous as they are substantial, stressing that it explains why aviation development is such a high priority today.
While stating that it is the first of ICAO annual event to be held outside of its headquarters in Montreal Canada, he appreciated Nigeria for its support as he further emphasized
that actions are needed by governments in order for its states to better align with ICAO global plan.