By Paschal Emeka, Abuja / posted November 9, 2022
The Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, Hon. Nnolim Nnaji, on Tuesday said efforts are being made to address the omission of the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) from the 2023 budget.
He said this when the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation to defend the Ministry’s 2022 budget performance and the 2023 proposal.
Nnaji, noted with concern the omission of one the critical security and safety agency of the Ministry from the 2023 FGN budget.
He said the Committee and its Senate counterpart is committed to ensuring that the anomaly is corrected.
He had requested the Minister to make the clarification on the matter, but they went into a closed-door session before he could respond to the matter.
Nnaji said the committee spent most of last week visiting some projects executed by the Ministry and some of its Agencies within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He added that within the next few weeks, the Committee will be embarking on similar tours to most importantly but not limited to the other three international Airport Terminals slated for concession.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, in his response, reiterated that the national carrier, Nigeria Air, would begin domestic operations before the end of the year, while international operations would begin as soon as necessary approvals and certifications are gotten.
He said, “The national carriers will be launched soon. We have Boeing 737 in its fleet for domestic operations and later the international operations would be introduced. We would begin the domestic market, pending the time we would get the certification and approvals to go international and intercontinental, which would be soon.
“The cost of aircraft maintenance though worrisome has been managed during this period. Furthermore, it is worthy to note that there are more bilateral and multilateral air services agreements that have been signed for the benefit of our air travelers,” he said.
He said the Aviation Ministry has recorded some significant achievements in virtually all areas of the sector within the life of this administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We have provided the safety and security needed in the aviation sector, which has led to the certification for the first time ever in the history of the country of Murtala Mohamed Airport, Nnmadi Azikiwe International airport. It is a milestone being the first ever airports to be certified, government in, government out. This testimony as to our concern is focus on safety. We have recorded the highest level of safety and unprecedented growth, making aviation the fastest growing sector of the Nigerian economy.
“Some airlines also received interventions to be saved from total collapse. We also created an enabling environment, which provided airlines in the country to attain certification and international air transport association operational safety audit.
“It has also seen the growth of airlines in the country, almost double and the passenger numbers quadrupled and the number of airports almost doubled. This significant is due the road map which was approved by the President,” he said.
He said there are two cargo projects in Abuja and one has been completed and will be commissioned by the President soon.
“The second one, the contract was given in 2012, the contractors were advanced money up to about 75%. These contracts were abandoned by the contractors. Mr. President directed that they be investigated, prosecuted and the monies recovered but because we don’t have prosecuting powers, we reported to EFCC now in the last three and half years, they confirmed to me that they have finished the investigation. This is worrisome. We will inform the House when the EFCC briefed us formally,” he said.