The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, says the Federal Government is willing to work with development banks, foreign investors and private firms to bridge infrastructure funding deficit in the country’s aviation industry.
Sirika stated this on Monday at the 59th Airports Council International, Africa Conference, hosted by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria in Lagos.
The minister said, “The funding gap is being addressed currently; we have development banks and people doing business in aviation to work with us and partake in what we have done, and this is why we are clamouring for bringing in the private sector through concession to ensure that our airports are developed.
“We are on the right track to seeing the implementation of the Aviation Roadmap. You will very soon see an improved participation of development banks, foreign partners and private firms in our aviation industry.”
He stated that the planned concession of four airports in the country would take place very soon, adding that while addressing infrastructure challenge, the government was also working on security and safety.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, said the government had intensified efforts to improve aviation infrastructure in order to boost economic development.
He stated that the efforts had over the years significantly improved the state of aviation but that there was still the need to upgrade facilities, improve operations, service quality, security and airspace safety.
According to him, the theme of the conference, ‘Business transformation for sustainable development of African airports’, is most appropriate and comes at a time that most African countries, including Nigeria, are working on transforming aviation business.
“The Airport Council International and the Federal Government of Nigeria are in sync on the development of the aviation industry in Africa. The full implementation of the Aviation Roadmap, which is progressing in line with milestone targets, will result in the transformation of business and economic growth in the sector,” he added.
Mustapha stated that the conference would showcase Nigeria as a potential investment destination to the 350 delegates from 42 countries, adding that going forward, people would begin to see the country as a travel destination.
The Managing Director, FAAN, Mr. Saleh Dunoma, said Nigeria would sustain its position of being in the forefront of striving to attain the highest level of safety standards, which led to the certification of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
According to him, the evolving nature of airport management demands a transformation of airports from public service providers to commercial enterprises that are efficiently managed to generate more revenues.