Air transport contributes $8.2 b to Nigerian GDP annually – Sirika


THE Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika on Wednesday disclosed that air transport in Nigeria contributes over $8.2 billion to the country’s GDP every year.

Speaking in Sokoto at the 15th National Council of Transportation (NCT), the Minister stated that, “the country has twenty-seven functional airports and several privately owned airstrips and helipads. The airports in 2016 handled 15.2 million passengers, ferried over 195,230 metric tonnes of cargo and 7,373.0 metric tonnes of mails.”

“According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), air transport in Nigeria supports more than 650,800 jobs including tourism-related employment, while contributing US$8.2 billion to the country’s GDP annually.”

The Minister who was represented by Sabiu Zakari, the Permanent Secretary in the. Ministry of Transportation noted that, “these statistics underscore the importance of aviation in the economy of Nigeria but relation to our population size and geographical location, the country has the potentials to do much more,” he stated.

Sirika noted that, “currently there is no effective inter-modality of air transportation with other modes in terms of infrastructural linkages except road network. However, construction works are at advanced stage to connect the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport to rail while master plans of the other International airports have provision for rail linkages.”

He said in preparation for an efficient inter-modal system, “the President had approved a robust Roadmap for aviation sub-sector. The Road map intends to address some of the infrastructural gaps and challenges with a view to providing long-term solutions.”

“Some key component of the road map include. Airport concession, establishment of a National Carrier, establishment of Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility, development of Agro-allied Cargo infrastructure, establishment of Aerospace University, setting up of Aviation Leasing Company and establishment of Aerotropolis or airport cities through Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement,” said Sirika.

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The Minister stated that the road map will promote efficiency, effectiveness and better service delivery in the aviation sector as well as support the regional hub initiative which will contribute to the recovery of the nation’s economy.

Also speaking, the Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, called on the federal government to in-store scanners at the Sokoto airport to enable proper screening of passengers into the airport.

He commended the Ministry for the steps taken so far tor revive and improve the transport sector in the country.