The Federal Government of Nigeria is planning to revive the suspended national carrier project, Nigeria Air, the minister of state for aviation (Hadi Sirika) said confirmed.
Mr Sirika stated this while defending his Ministry’s budget, during a Senate Committee hearing in Abuja. According to the Minister, the Government determined to deliver on its promise to Nigerians.
This is coming nearly six months after he shocked many Nigerians with his Twitter post, announcing the Government’s decision to suspend the National Carrier Project in the interim.
I regret to announce that the Federal Executive Council has taken the tough decision to suspend the National Carrier Project in the interim. All commitments due will be honoured. We thank the public for the support as always.
— Hadi Sirika (@hadisirika) September 19, 2018
Reason for the suspension: Siriki, in his address to the Senate Committee, said the project was suspended due to strategic planning.
“WE HAD TO SUSPEND THE EARLIER PLANS FOR THE NATIONAL CARRIER FOR STRATEGIC REASONS. THE MOVE WAS NOT KILLED.
“PROVISIONS HAVE TO BE MADE TO CONTINUE TO FUND ACTIVITIES OF ADVISERS AND SO ON, TO ENSURE THAT IT IS DELIVERED.”
When the project will be completed: According to Siriki, the national carrier project will be completed before President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration ends in 2023. Although he didn’t give a specific timeframe, he was certain Nigeria Air will lift off before President Buhari’s tenure elapses.
“THE CARRIER WILL BE DELIVERED WITHIN THE LIFE OF THIS ADMINISTRATION, THIS I CAN ASSURE YOU.
“IT IS NOT FORGOTTEN BY THE GOVERNMENT. IT WILL CONTINUE AND WE ARE DOING EVERYTHING WE CAN TO DELIVER IT.”
Management plan remains the same
As stated when the Government announced its intention of establishing the national carrier, the Private sector will take lead in the funding and management of the operation, while the Federal Government will play a limited role.
“IT IS A PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP (PPP). THE PRIVATE SECTOR WILL LEAD AND DELIVER WHILE THE GOVERNMENT WILL PLAY ITS ROLE.
“VIABILITY FUNDING IS ALSO BEING ADDRESSED. AFTER THAT, THEN THE FULL BUSINESS CASE WHICH IS THE IMPLEMENTATION STAGE. IT IS AT THAT POINT THAT IT WILL BE ADVERTISED FOR PEOPLE TO COME IN AND PARTICIPATE.”
Why FG is bent on establishing a national carrier
Siriki said the extortion by private airlines has necessitated the need for Nigeria to have a national carrier. He said these airlines are ripping off Nigerians due to the absence of a national carrier; and this causes huge revenue loss.
“WHEN I WAS IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IN 2006, WE DID INVITE BRITISH AIRWAYS TO DISCUSS AND THE ANSWER WE GOT WAS THAT THEY CHARGE EXORBITANTLY BECAUSE NIGERIANS CAN AFFORD IT.
“THEY CHARGE THESE FEES WITHOUT CORRESPONDING CHALLENGE. IT IS VERY DIFFICULT FOR THE MINISTRY TO TELL ENTREPRENEURS WHAT THEY SHOULD CHARGE.
”THIS IS THE WHOLE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING A NATIONAL CARRIER. IT IS ABOUT COMPETITION. NIGERIANS ARE HIGHLY MOBILE PEOPLE WITH VERY HUGE BUSINESSES. YOU FIND OUT THAT THE FIRST CLASS AND BUSINESS CLASS IS ALWAYS FULL.”
The name and logo of the proposed national carrier was disclosed at the Farnborough International Airshow in London.