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Aviation sector will be repositioned to drive foreign direct investment, says Keyamo

Festus Keyamo, Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, says the aviation sector will be repositioned to drive foreign direct investment. 

The minister said this during a webinar on ‘Repositioning the Aviation Sector for Revenue Generation and Growth: The Role of Legislation.’

He said the aviation sector is more than just an industry, and that it serves as a vital lifeline connecting nations, enabling trade, fostering tourism, and driving economic growth.

Below is his statement in full.

I am delighted to be invited to give a goodwill message today at this significant webinar on “Repositioning the Aviation Sector for Revenue Generation and Growth”. It is a privilege to address this distinguished gathering of industry leaders, experts, and stakeholders who share a common vision for the future of aviation in Nigeria and of course, Africa.

2. I will begin by saluting the commitment, initiative and drive of the law firm of Messrs Olisa Agbakoba Legal (OAL) for organizing this webinar event and most importantly for creating an advocacy platform where contemporary National issues are x-rayed and relevant policy input harvested for National growth.

3. Our aviation sector is not just an industry; it’s a vital lifeline connecting nations, enabling trade, fostering tourism, and driving economic growth. The theme of this webinar aptly addresses one of the priority areas of the administration of President Ahmed Bola Tinubu. Repositioning the Aviation sector for revenue generation and Growth: Role of Legislation” is apt and timely especially now that discussions are taking place in number of fora on how best to use public policy to harness National potentials for growth and development, most especially in the Aviation Industry in Nigeria.

4. Indeed, an efficient air transport contributes to economic growth and development. Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that Aviation Sector has contributed about 117 billion Naira which is 4% to the National GDP in the first quarter of 2022; it supports about 200,000 jobs and pays about 8.5 billion Niara in tax annually. It is a feat and we are committed to upscaling the achievement by latching on the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR.

5. As a Ministry, our mandate amongst others, is the formulation and management of the Government’s Aviation policies, overseeing of air transportation, airport development and maintenance, provision of aviation infrastructural services and other needs. To achieve the mandate, the Ministry developed an Aviation Road Master Plan which clearly defines what we need to do to achieve our objectives. It is also instructive to state that upon assumption of office, I have reviewed the progress made so far vis-a vis the existing gaps. Accordingly, we are already looking at focus areas which are encapsulated in a five-point agenda namely:
• Strict Compliance with national laws and regulations; and international obligations.
• Improvement and Development of Infrastructure for Passenger Convenience.
• Support for the growth and sustenance of Local Airline Businesses.
• Human Capacity Development and;
• Optimization of Revenue Generation,

6. As the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, I am deeply committed to these agenda. In these challenging times, characterized by evolving market dynamics and global uncertainties, the need to reposition our aviation sector for sustainable growth has never been more pressing. It requires vision, resilience, finances, and collaboration.

7. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, the Nigerian Aviation Industry is going through a new round of transformation and adjustment. To actualize the 5-point Agenda for the growth of the Nigerian Aviation value chain, the Ministry is looking forward to a new phase of partnership and collaboration, by leveraging the immense opportunities in the sector to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and Joint-Venture Partnerships with heads of international economic organizations, presidents of transnational corporations and principals of leading privately-owned enterprises.

8. Legislation provides the overarching framework within which the aviation sector operates. It is the bedrock upon which we build our vision for the industry’s future. Thus, it is incumbent upon our legislators to draft policies that promote growth, encourage investment, and ensure safety and security. The aviation sector is, first and foremost, a safety and security-critical industry. We ensure, through Legislation, that mandatory safety standards provided by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) are incorporated in our national laws. As such, the role of legislation and indeed legislators in Nigeria’s aviation sector is critical for the development, regulation, and growth of the aviation industry in the country. Legislators (comprising the Senate and House of Representatives) of the National Assembly, play various roles to ensure the sector operates efficiently and contributes to Nigeria’s economic development. They have the authority to allocate budgets and approve funding for aviation projects, including airport construction and maintenance, procurement of equipment, and safety enhancements. Ensuring adequate funding is crucial for the sector’s growth and development. Legislators also provide oversight by monitoring the implementation of aviation policies and ensuring that both the Federal Ministry of Aviation and the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), adhere to regulations and carry out their functions effectively.

9. ​As the representatives of the people, the legislators hold a unique position in this partnership to ensure that our aviation sector, amongst other sectors reaches its full potential. Repositioning the aviation sector for revenue generation and growth is a collective endeavour, requiring a harmonious partnership between the executive, legislature, and indeed private sector stakeholders. Nigeria is signatory to about 29 (Twenty-Nine) International Aviation Treaties and Conventions. Ratifying these international Treaties and Conventions are made possible through legislation. Legislators play a role in ratifying these agreements, and ensuring that they are domesticated in our national laws, which in effect have significant impacts on international air travel and trade and that Nigeria upholds its international obligations therein. We must remember also that a safe and efficient aviation sector is not just an economic imperative but a moral obligation to the millions of passengers who trust our skies every day.

10. ​At this juncture, I wish to encourage the Nigerian private sector to deepen their collaboration with the Ministry for the growth of the Nigerian Aviation Industry. I am optimistic that stakeholders participating in today’s webinar session will build on their enviable track records to come up with appropriate strategies for Repositioning the Aviation sector for revenue generation and Growth through the instrumentality of legislation. As a government, we are committed to initiatives and policy inputs that will stimulate investment across the Aviation value chain.

11. ​I am confident that this webinar will serve as a catalyst for transformative change in the sector and I look forward to the outcomes that will emerge from it, as we work together to reposition the aviation sector for a future filled with promise and prosperity.

12. ​​On this note, I wish you a fruitful session and I thank you all for your time.”

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