The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved April 2022 as official date for the commencement of the operations of much-awaited Nigeria Air.
The Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, disclosed this when he along with Ministers of Transportation, and Finance, Budget and National Planning, Rotimi Amaechi and Dr Zainab Ahmed, respectively, briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the FEC meeting.
The meeting was presided by President Muhammadu Buhari in the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.
According to Sirika, majority shares of 49 per cent of the Nigeria Air project will be owned by strategic equity partners, 46 per cent by Nigerians while the Federal Government will own five per cent of the shares.
The minister revealed that the council also approved N1.49 billion for the provision of Automated Civil Aviation Regulatory Equipment to be located at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.
“Today in Council, Ministry of Aviation presented two memoranda.
The first one is approval for the award of contract for the provision of Automated Civil Aviation Regulatory Equipment, including the software support and training, which will be located at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
“In summary, this is the software that will allow all of the activities of civil aviation regulations to be done electronically on one platform, including payments, follow-ups on personnel licenses, medicals, economic regulation of airlines, safety regulations of airlines and all other businesses within the envelop of civil aviation, will be monitored by this single software. So, that has been approved.
“This one also is the approval of the Outline Business Case for the establishment of the National Carrier. This is the sixth time the memorandum appeared before the council and sixth times got lucky to be passed by council.
The structure of the proposed airline – Federal Government would be owing not more than five per cent. So, five per cent is the maximum equity that government would take.
The minister revealed that the Nigeria Air, when operational, would generate over 70,000 jobs, saying “these 70,000 jobs, they are higher than the total number of civil servants that we have in the country’’.
“So, this report shows that we now have four consistent quarters of growth from Q4 2020 to Q3, 2021.
“So, factors that are responsible for this growth include the commitment of the government to continued containment of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the implementation of fiscal and monetary measures to support businesses contained in the Economic Sustainability Plan.
“It includes improvement in the transportation and the free movements of people as well as goods as the containment measures have been really improved,” she said.
The minister also noted that government’s diversification plan had been very successful, proving that the country could not continue to depend on oil alone.
“The growth in industry has been consistent, but we have seen a slight slowdown compared to the last quarter of 2021 and the contraction of the industry is driven by the poor performance of the crude oil and natural gas sectors, coal mining, quarrying, minerals as well as oil refinery.
“The Q3 GDP report indicates that the oil sector’s contribution to the GDP today stands at 7.49 percent while the non-oil sector’s contribution to the GDP stands at 2.51 percent.
“This indicates that the Nigerian economy is truly much diversified with the oil sector contributing just 7.49 percent,” she added.
▪︎ By NAN