The Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, on Thursday said the Federal Government was ready to create a National Council on Civil Aviation.
Sirika, who was represented by Mr Mohammed Abdullahi, Minister of State for Science and Technology, made this known at the 8th Edition of the Aviation Workers` Week and Award Night (AWWAN) in Abuja.
The theme of the event was “ The Challenges of COVID-19 Pandemic to the Nigerian Aviation Industry: The Path to Recovery. “
According to him, some states have started embarking on establishing their own airports which calls for holistic coordinated by the Federal Government.
“ I think there is a compelling force for that of council to be established. We have seen how various forms of disciplines and other segments of the government are able to patronise theirs at the state level to achieve maximum result.
“With states launching the establishment airports at the state level, I think there is need for the council to properly coordinate and regulate the industry.
“I support the call for the establishment of National Council of Civil Aviation. I believe government will look into it and see how it can be established, considering appropriate legal frame works,” he said.
Sirika said there was great improvement in the sector as the frequency of accident had been drastically reduced due to acquired landing equipment and other tools that aided navigation.
“In spite of the challenges posed by COVID-19, aviation stands out as an important process of economy of the country. So, nobody can ignore contributions of aviation industry in the global economy today.
“Again, global security is almost strengthened when there is a standard in aviation security. Central to achieving this is the workers in aviation industry.
“ That is why the government has equally committed to deploy a lot of resources in improving the sector through various interventions,” the minister said.
According to him, the Federal Government has disbursed above N100 billion in developing the aviation sector through airports upgrade, equipment upgrade and training of staff among others since 2015.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr Hassan Musa, said that the global aviation industry suffered devastating economic consequences, which most industry players described as tragic.
Musa, who was represented by Alhaji Dogo Sheu, Director of Human Resources in the ministry said after –effects of the virus , globally and Nigeria in particular, were yet to be quantified in real terms.
“As a fallout of this, Nigeria`s aviation sector is not an exception. It is a known fact that practically all segments and related businesses in the industry suffered huge losses during the period.
“Indeed, the affects and after effects of the current pandemic may be felt in long time to come. This is the current grim situation which has threatened the survival of most industry players in the sector.
“ It is my humble opinion that with determination, abiding faith, good planning, foresight and adoption of international best practices, the current challenges are essentially surmountable,” he said.
Contributing, Mr Hector Nnadi, Joint Council Chairman, Joint Consultative and Negotiating Council, said setting up the National Council on Civil Aviation would help the sector to be more coordinated.
According to him, many ministries have theirs and have increased their outputs tremendously.
“It is on this note that the aviation unions wish to passionately reiterate the compelling need for setting up of the National Council on Civil Aviation.
“This has been the platform for most ministries to examine, explore, initiate, proffer and compare notes on key policy decisions or issues,” he said.
Nnadi said that the rampaging pandemic generally termed COVID-19, had become a reference point and a major turning point in the annals of human history.
He further said the quantum of havoc wrecked by the phenomenal viral explosion in the world could not be over emphasised.
“This challenge has been the major and most important topic of discussion among experts, professionals, the academia and even the artisans on the streets.
“It is against this background that the Joint Unions in the ministry pondered over the factor and unanimously decided to adopt the theme for the 8th edition of the annual programme.
“ Recall that previous editions had examined contemporary issues affecting our immediate constituency (i.e the aviation sector of the nation`s economy) vis-à-vis global aviation industry,” he added. (NAN)