By Jimoh Babatunde & Daniel Eteghe The Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah has declared that her focus of is to reposition the aviation industry as a major contributor to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
She made the declaration before the Senate Committee on Aviation while presenting the -Roadmap for Aviation Industry- to the lawmakers.
The Minister said in view of the fact that government alone cannot fund the infrastructure deficit in the sector, efforts are being intensified to improve the revenue generation capacities of all the Agencies under the Ministry.
The projection, according to the Minister is that from the fiscal year 2012, the Aviation Ministry should be able to contribute about 30 per cent of all its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to the Federation Account, stressing that revenue enhancement is at the heart of the reform and transformation of the sector.
”As part of our revenue enhancement strategy, we have identified all areas where we are currently not generating enough revenue. We have also put in place modalities to turn them into major revenue generation centres from where we should be able to contribute our quota to the federal purse. Come 2012, 30 per cent of all revenue generated will go to the national grid, which means the aviation industry will begin to contribute to our GDP and thereafter we will increase it to 50 per cent and so on.”
She said the era where the Ministry was solely dependent on government subvention is no longer sustainable, stressing that rather than get from the federal purse, her vision is to turn the sector to a major contributor to the treasury and catalyst of econmic growth.
The Minister restated her resolve to turn Nigeria’s aviation sector into a Regional and continental hub, saying facilities and infrastructure at the various airport are being renovated under the special Airport Renovation/Remodelling Projects (ARP) 2011.
On Capacity and Manpower development, she said the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) is being repositioned to deliver on the expected manpower needs for the sector as well as for export.
She emphasised the point that aviation is a global business hence there is only one standard internationally which Nigeria must meet by churning out qualified technical experts at NCAT.
She disclosed that the College will go into Joint Ventures and Collaborative Partnerships with reputable Training Institutes and Colleges internationally to be able to deliver the expected results at minimal cost to government.
The Minister said the focus of all the reforms and restructuring in the sector is safety and passenger comfort, stressing that the infrastructure to deliver these outcomes cannot be compromised.
She lamented the obsolete facilities at the airports and vowed to give Nigerians facilities and services comparable to what they get from other developed part of the world. Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Hope Uzodinma said the purpose of the interractive session was to rub minds with the major players in the Ministry with a view to fashioning out modalities of cooperation and collaboration in order to restore the lost glory of the aviation sector.
He said the Ministry and the Senate (National Assembly) must work together to frontally face the challenges in the industry and deliverv to Nigerians internationally applicable standards and services in the aviation sector.