JULY 13, 2017
A COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF AVIATION ROUND TABLE SAFETY
INITIATIVE Q2/2017 BREAKFAST MEETING HELD AT GOLFVIEW HOTEL & SUITES, GRA, IKEJA, LAGOS ON THURSDAY, JULY 13, 2017
TOPIC: AVIATION AS A CATALYST FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH
Over 100 professionals drawn from across Nigeria’s aviation sector participated in this meeting including the Honourable Minister of Information, Culture & Tourism, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Chairman, Bicourtney Aviation Services, Dr. Wale Babalakin; Chairman, Air Peace Barrister Allen Onyema; Chairman, Airline Operators of Nigeria, Capt. Nogie Meggison.
The meeting was presided over by Professor of Strategy from Cambridge University UK, Professor Anthony Kila.
At the end of the meeting, participants established that:
- Aviation should be a major catalyst for economic growth globally and indeed for Nigeria.
- There cannot be development in Nigeria’s aviation without
sustained growth of the various sectors i.e. airports, airlines, and service providers.
- There has to be research, gathering and dissemination of accurate and adequate information if Nigeria is to record economic recovery. Government’s Responsibility
- Government should create certainty in the system by respecting agreements that it signs in order to encourage investments and attract more investors to enable growth of various sectors of the nation’s
- Government must respect its agreements & ensure continuity in the implementation of policies to gain the confidence of foreign investors, governments and individuals.
- Government and all stakeholders must emphasize effective and relevant education, including skill acquisition to enable economic growth.
- Government should go beyond paying lip service to the ‘Buy Nigeria’ concept and take concrete measures towards local human capacity building and content production, e.g., massive training of production managers in Nigeria’s educational institutions, local production of atleast, three out of 27 consumable items needed for airline operations such as tires, aviation fuel, etc.
- All public office holders should bury personal interests, shun corruption and put Nigeria’s interest first and above parochial interests.
- There is need to do a forensic audit of airline failures in Nigeria these past 40 years. Presidential Committee on Aviation like in Tourism (PCT) is desirable.
Aviation Laws & Policies
- There is need for the National Assembly to as a matter of urgency, review related laws and reduce the existing multiple taxes and charges (37 charges) paid by airlines so that they can survive, including the zero duty on aircraft spares policy that the Nigeria Customs Service is not complying with..
- It is necessary to ensure that only law makers who have knowledge and, or experience in aviation business are engaged in championing the making of aviation-related laws
- Government must review the laws that make it mandatory for Nigerian airlines to use local insurance companies and pay more premiums, because all the local insurers even when put together, lack the capacity to insure one aircraft..Airline Financing
- There is no economy that grows on double-digit interest rate for loans and therefore, the Debt Management Office and the Central Bank must reduce loan interest rates to single digits to encourage new businesses and attract more investment.
- Airline operators can overcome the challenge of huge indebtedness to financial institutions by first, being sincere in their investment motives, create a sinking fund after securing a loan under an arrangement that a certain percentage of the monthly income is deducted at source and flows into the bank; while a certain sum, inaccessible by both parties is saved. After sometime, proceeds of this inaccessible saving is forfeited to the bank and a total pay-off of the entire loan is made.
Partnerships & Potentials
- There should be a constant engagement of government by stakeholders in order to make government officials understand better, the workings and challenges of the aviation sector.
- Tourism cannot stand alone as a sector but requires other sectors like aviation to grow.
- A Service Level Agreement (SLA) between AON and aviation agencies, which must be implemented by both parties should be signed before the next ART Business Breakfast Meeting.
- AON should work out a partnership modality with Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), which will encourage a Travel Nigeria concept, involving airlines offering cheap fares from Lagos to Abuja on Fridays while hotels in Abuja offer cheap room charges on Fridays, making more Nigerians interested in local tourism. However, VAT, 30% and some other charges paid by airlines should be waived by the authorities to make this arrangement work.
Dr. Gabriel Olowo Fnim, Fitp