FG ready to make Nigeria aviation hub of Africa- Keyamo

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By Gabriel Agbeja

The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr Festus Keyamo says the Federal Government is ready to make Nigeria the aviation hub of Africa.

Keyamo sated this at the seventh edition of the Aviation Africa Summit and Exhibition 2023, on Wednesday in Abuja.

According to him, the current administration is ready to achieve the feat by tackling challenges in the aviation industry to attract foreign investors.

“The government is already looking at the Aircraft Leasing Company, Aircraft Maintenance Organisation, Forex availability and Tax holidays to improve the aviation business in Nigeria

“This includes upgrading of the CAT III landing system, at major airports, construction of the second runway in Abuja, airport improvement programmes through concession and government willingness to partner with companies to turn major airports into Aerotropolis.

“The government welcomes major players in aircraft leasing and head lessors to invest in Nigeria airlines to provide state of the art aircraft,” he said.

Keyamo said the government would ensure enforcement of contract agreements, rights of investors and indeed all parties were protected as Nigeria being a signatory to the Cape Town Convention to uphold international obligations.

The minister said Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility was another critical component that could make the Nigerian aviation industry a hub on the continent.

“With the shortage of qualified engineers, the current administration is willing to provide all the necessary support for the establishment of a world class MROS and training organisation.

“The current administration is aware that one of the setbacks entrepreneurs have suffered in Nigeria in recent years is the fluctuation of foreign exchange and its availability.

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“This administration is committed to ensuring that forex is readily available to entrepreneurs and I have directed that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) holds quarterly reconciliation meetings with a view to resolve this issue,” he said.

He further explained that the current administration was open to providing tax holidays to encourage existing and new entrants into the Nigerian Aviation Sector.

“I wish to reiterate that my administration, will continue to sustain the support being given to the industry.

“I firmly believe that as key players and decision makers, this summit will provide the required atmosphere for you to discuss, and identify recovery strategies that would attract private investors to support the funding of infrastructure projects.

“By building a transparent, stable and predictable investment climate, as well as include aviation in the continent’s national development plans.

“Nigeria is honoured to have these distinguished captains of aviation industry and industry stakeholders, from all over the world who are participating in this event,” he said.

According to him, air transport remains an essential component of the global transportation system as a crucial driver of economic, social and cultural development worldwide.

He said air transport generated economic growth and development, provides jobs and fosters a range of socio-economic benefits.

Keyamo said the continued promotion of collaboration, knowledge sharing, and business development within the African aviation community, would address all the significant and structural challenges.

“Having this unique and important event for the seventh time demonstrates the organizer’s determination and interest to support the sustainable development of air transport in Africa.

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“I therefore wish to take this opportunity to appreciate Times Aerospace Limited, which has been the champion of the Aviation Africa Summit as well as making Nigeria the first country to host this noble event in West Africa.

“The recent global events further exposed the immense contribution and importance of air transportation as a catalyst for economic development, vital engine of global socio-economic growth.

“One of the greatest contributors to the advancement of modern society and a key instrument for achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” he said. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Joseph Edeh

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