This is coming as the country’s apex aviation regulatory body is currently helping Liberia’s aviation authorities to audit its aviation system and regulations to be in sync with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Safety and Recommended Practices (SARPs).
Nuhu revealed that the NCAA’s Director of Airworthiness, Kayode Ajiboye just came back from Liberia where he and his team had gone to help Liberia with their audit, emphasizing that the NCAA has in-house capacity to help other nations that ask for technical assistance.
He noted that that amount would have been spent to train only about 50 aircraft inspectors and other critical personnel overseas, adding that by having the training and courses in the country, more people benefitted from the training in Nigeria aside from saving over $20 billion in Foreign Exchange for the country.
The NCAA chief who spoke on the sidelines of the 7th Africa-Indian Ocean (AFI) Aviation Week currently going in Abuja said, “We could not have sent more than 50 people for those training. What we have done in the last 18 months would have taken us 8 to 10 years to do and would have caused us a lot in foreign exchange in millions of dollars. What we have done, we sent them to different cities in Nigeria, in all the places”.
“The money we would have taken out has remained in Nigeria. With that money, we train a lot of people over a period of time. So, what we have done; We have saved well over $20 million in this process if we had done that outside Nigeria. You can imagine these programmes that would have cost us so much for ten years squeezed into 18 months and the great impact it has on the system. We have a long way to go but certainly, there is a lot more to be done. We have started the process and it can only get better. We have a lot of programmes that we are implementing to make NCAA much more efficient”.
Speaking on the AFI Aviation Week, Nuhu said the AFI Aviation week is the biggest regional conference that ICAO has for the African region and the Indian Ocean which comprises a lot of regional plans for the continent.
The programme over the years has led to tremendous improvements that bother on safety and security facilitations in many African countries.
“Although, there is still a long way to go it is very important for a lot of countries and it is important for the implementation of the Africa Union Agenda 2023,” Nuhu said.
One of the key components of the AU Agenda is the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) which is a flagship project of the African Union Agenda 2063, an initiative of the African Union to create a single unified air transport market in Africa to advance the liberalization of civil aviation in Africa and act as an impetus to the continent’s economic integration agenda.
SAATM will ensure aviation plays a major role in connecting Africa, promoting its social, economic, and political integration, and boosting intra-Africa trade and tourism as a result. The SAATM was created to expedite the full implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision.
Nuhu further explained that for the agenda to work there are certain eligibility requirements that nations within Africa need to have which is within the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) audit safety and security, hinting that Nigeria has exceeded the eligibility requirements.
His words, “You must get a baseline minimum of 60 percent to be able to participate in SAATM. That is the connection. If you don’t meet both eligibility requirements, you cannot participate, Nigeria has exceeded both”.
Meanwhile, Nigeria on Monday signed a Memorandum of Understandings (MoU) with Sierra Leone and Rwanda for technical support to enhance the safety and security of civil aviation in the region.
The MoUs were signed by Nigeria’s Director-General, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu, and representatives of the two countries at the opening ceremony of the African-Ocean 7th Conference in Abuja.
Speaking on the MoUs, the Minister of Aviation Senator Hadi Sirika says, it is to strengthen the safety and efficiency of the sector as well as cooperation in the region.
He said cooperation whether regional or international speaks volumes of how safe the industry is and how well passengers are facilitated and how efficient the sector is.
The minister stated that aviation being an enabler and a positive factor for growth, development, and robustness of the economy, informed the sector to enter into partnerships with other countries.
“This is the only way to continue to make these initiatives relevant and sustainable while contributing to the strengthening of safety, security, and facilitation in the region, bearing in mind that a safe, secure and efficient air transport system is a natural impetus for socio-economic development of the region and a means to support trade and tourism”.
The partnership with the two African countries is to assist each other where there are gaps or deficiencies in the system, adding that no civil aviation authorities globally have the capacity to do everything.