Investors and stakeholders in the aviation sector in the country have argued that the government as an entity needs to do more and take decisive steps to develop aviation and in particular the airlines by providing an enabling environment that will attract investment.
This is just as they said that the government must wake up and enact sustainable policies to grow the sector.
Former Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Harold Demuren who delivered the lead paper at the 23rd League of Airports and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) Conference with the theme, “Boosting Aviation Investment through Policy” emphasized that Nigeria needs a stable legal and regulatory frameworks to grow the industry.
Demuren who spoke through the President of Aviation Roundtable (ART), Elder Gabriel Olowo decried the multiple entry points for foreign airlines, describing it as “disastrous and deliberate annihilation of the domestic market.”
He said a situation where some airlines fly to multiple airports in Nigeria without any Nigerian airline reciprocating is “a negative balance of trade.”
According to him, it is high time government reflected on the national aviation policy.
“The essence of regulation is not only about safety. We have failed with economic regulations. This is a major weakness”, he said.
Demuren called for positive investment-driven policies to develop the aviation sector, saying, “Nigeria’s problem is because we make policies but they somersault.”
He said the government must design objective and key performance indexes that are measurable for civil servants.
Chief Executive officer of African Aviation Services, Mr. Nick Fadugba one of the stakeholders
Fadugba who explained that aviation can be a vital catalyst for Africa’s economic growth and social advancement said Nigeria can tap into this by providing more support to the growth of the increasingly important African business and general aviation industry, which are tools for economic development.
According to him, aviation in Nigeria, if properly harnessed, could become one of the keys to Nigeria’s future prosperity.
He decried the situation where “over 90 per cent of International air traffic to and from Nigeria is carried by non-Nigerian airlines which are damaging to the economy in several ways, such as the huge capital flight from Nigeria, the continued deterioration of the Nigerian aviation industry and the loss of skilled aviation employment opportunities.”
Fadugba also decried that in the last 25years, Nigeria carriers passenger traffic has reduced from 60 per cent to 20 per cent calling government to review the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) and also ensure consultations with indigenous carriers before allowing frequencies as they are treated like oil blocks.
Earlier, Chairman of the occasion, Alhaji Bankole said aviation is indispensable to the socio-economic development of Nigeria.
According to him, the liquidation of Nigeria Airways put a serious stumbling block on the development of aviation in Nigeria.
Chairman of Air Peace, Chief Allen Onyema in his presentation frowned at government’s designation of local airlines for international flights without following up implementation and without using policy to tackle the exploitative activities of authorities in the destination countries.
“Today, we do not have a policy of aviation in Nigeria. When regulations are inconsistent with the overall objectives of the industry, we have a major problem. Most policies today are borne out of knee-jack reactions.
The government needs to encourage private investors with consistent and deliberate policies to grow the industry” said Capt. Roland Iyayi, Chief Executive Officer, Top Brass Aviation.