Senate Summons Aviation Minister Over Foreign Airlines Exit

A Turkish Airlines plane prepares to take off at Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul November 30, 2012. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Adamu Aliero on Monday summoned the minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, following the occurring exit of foreign airlines operating in Nigeria.

Recall that United Airline, Spain airline and 12 others have stopped operation in Nigeria due to lack of demand and the poor state of the Nigerian economy.

Senator, Aliero speaking with newsmen immediately after a maiden meeting between the committee and various aviation agencies which held at the National Assembly complex, Abuja, said the shortage of aviation fuel in the country, which led to some foreign airlines shutting down operations in Nigeria was a problem that could be resolved by the federal government.

He added that inspite of Nigeria being an oil producing country, it was most embarrassing to find local and foreign airlines purchasing aviation fuel from neighbouring countries.

Commenting on the challenges of funding faced by the aviation sector, Senator Aliero assured that the National Assembly will amend the constitution so as to make for convenient repatriation of funds owed by airlines to the coffers of the federal government.

He said, “As regards repatriation of funds, it is more of a constitutional problem. We will look at ways of fine tuning the constitution so as to make it possible for airlines to remit funds owed government.

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“There is also the need to unbundle the aviation sector. We are of the opinion that if this is done, the operations of the sector will be liberalised an that will go a long way to boosting revenue generated. So, these are the issues, and since these problems exist, we will invite the Aviation Minister so we can find a lasting solution to them,” Aliero said.

Member of the committee, Bala Ibn Na’Allah, who also spoke to the newsmen said unbundling the aviation sector had become a necessity in view of the challenges faced by the aviation sector, noting that the move would enable relevant agencies to re-evaluate their policies and consequently chart the way forward for the sector.

“We are all aware where we are. With the economy, and we are aware how much the aviation sector can generate for the country. We must think of unbundling the aviation sector. We have unreasonably over-burdened ourselves. If what we have tried in the past has not worked, is it not time to re-evaluate our policies for the aviation sector? We must change our way of doing things; we have to do so at this point because we have no option – so we can move the industry forward,” he said.




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