The federal government said it has spent over N100billion on airport equipment’s, staff training, navigation equipment, and emolument in the last five years.
The minister of aviation, Hadi Sirika disclosed this on Thursday during the 8th edition of the aviation workers week with the theme; ‘The challenges of COVID-19 pandemic to the Nigerian Aviation industry: The path to recovery which took place in Abuja.
Sirika who was represented by the Minister of State for Science and Technology, Mohammed Abdullahi said,“The government deployed resources to equipping state governments through various interventions. From 2015 till date, the federal government has deployed over N100billion to develop the aviation sector.
“When this government came on board in 2015, there were a number of airports projects that were abandoned, basically because of lack of fund and because of arguments over contractual obligations, so the government evaluated some of these challenges and committed funds towards that.
“The funds were used for airports upgrade, procurement of equipment, training of staff, settling of relevant emolument, navigation equipment, weather equipment and so many others. So it was whole industry intervention.”
He also said the investment has paid off following reduced cases of accidents.
“We have seen great improvement in our investment. In those days, the frequency of accidents used to be more but it has reduced.
“Most planes can land in most of our international airports at night, there are landing equipment that aid navigation, there are lots of improvements in the industry.”
On the establishment of the National Council on Civil Aviation, he said: “Most industries have what they call a council, for instance, there is a council for science and technology, council on agriculture, council on education, what they do is to meet with stakeholders from various states and look at challenges facing the industry and begin to address them.
“Now, because state governments are also establishing airports, it has become necessary for a council to be established so that there can be proper coordination of activities in the aviation sector, because most states don’t have the expertise and they lack a background in aviation, so they need to be liaising with federal aviation authorities and that can only be done easily if there is a council on aviation.”
He also allayed fears that the council will take over the jobs of some agencies, adding that the government will consider the establishment of the council as requested by the unions.
“It does not take away the functions of the agencies under the aviation sector, it is more of a complementary role. I believe the government will look into it and see how it can be established considering all the legal frameworks
Also commenting on the need to establish the council, the Joint Council Chairman of the Joint Consultative and Negotiating Council, Comrade Hector Nnadi said the council will give staff opportunities to compare notes on key policy decisions or issues.
“The essence is to annex most of the different opinions. State airports are coming up, it is also clear that aviation is on the exclusive list which but will be a platform where we can all meet, look at policy and challenging issues and annex them so that the industry can move forward”.