Nigeria’s aviation sector generates 60,000 jobs in 12 months *Nigeria to join organization of French Speaking Countries as observer
Abuja (WorldStage Newsonline)—Nigeria’s aviation sector generated more than 60,000 jobs in the last 12 months, according to the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku.
Maku who briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan at the State House on Wednesday, said that in a presentation by the Ministers of Aviation, Mrs Stella Oduah, the Council was shown the progress made in the reconstruction of local terminals of 11 airports across the country.
The minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah and that of Communication Technology, Omobolaji Johnson were said to have taken turn to brief the council on the performance of their ministries in the last one year.
Maku added that the sector witnessed significant improvement in the installation of highest safety standard equipment comparable to those available in any developed countries in the world.
The Minister also disclosed that because of the automation of the airports, there would be reduction in flight times from 2013.
He said the Minister also proposed the expansion of six new international airports in 2013 while the Murtala International Airport Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja would be turned to regional hub of aviation in West Africa.
Maku said the plan to have a national carrier that would be private sector driven was on-going and special cargo terminals would be constructed in some States to promote the agriculture sector.
He noted that within the last one year the government embarked on a very comprehensive roadmap to reposition the aviation industry and had recorded a number of significant improvements.
The most obvious according to the minister was that 11 of the country’s airports have had their local terminals completely reconstructed and some of those terminals including the one at the local wing of Murtala Mohammmed airport, Nnamdi Azikiwe international airport while construction work is going on in Enugu, Benin airports
“The state of our airports has received uplift in the last one year particularly with the state of aviation safety equipment that has been installed to ensure the highest safety standards as compared to any other place in the world.”
He also added, “Travelling by air anywhere in Nigeria, you have radar coverage, a plane entering Nigerian airspace from any angle day or night would be seen and there would be instantaneous appearance on radar as well as communication between the various airport facilities and the pilot.
“Some of the facilities that are manual before such as reading weather by pilot is now automated so there is no reason for any pilot to take off without knowing the weather condition throughout his own route, so if any pilot took off and return to base because of bad weather, that pilot should be sanctioned, it only means the pilot disregarded weather advise given before takeoff.
“Because of the automation of some of these facilities, by next year, flight time would reduce between the various airports
“She also talked about plans to expand airports in Lagos, Nnnamdi Azikiwe airports while there would be about 20 international hotels that would be built around the various international airports in the country to create a hub of services within the airport that will almost make them look like modern cities.”
On the plan to have a national carrier, the minister said it was going on smoothly and also unveiled fresh initiative to ensure the national carrier would be private sector driven to eliminate inefficiency associated with government involvement.
On her part the Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs Omobola Johnson who was at the briefing said her Ministry had shown commitment to the development of the broad-band technology to expand internet and telephone services.
She said the Ministry also developed programme of access to computer by the children, capacity building for civil servants in the field of technology as well as local content development.
Johnson said her Ministry contributed 5.7 per cent to GDP and had enhanced job creation for youths.
The Minister added that the Ministry was developing e-governance platform through the establishment of ICT contact centre where people could assess information on the country.
Speaking on the challenges, she said that the sector wais bugged down by multiple regulations and taxes, just like in optic cable right of way, which is the highest in the world.
The council also approved Nigeria’s joining of the Organization of French Speaking Countries, as an observer.
Maku noted that the decision was based on a request by the Minister of Education, Rukayyat Rufai.
Explaining the rationale behind the request, Rufai said the move was strategic since Nigeria is bordered by Franco-phone countries, and French is a major language in international diplomacy.
Besides, the minister said that France has more investments in Nigeria than other West African countries, and membership of the organisation as well as the fact of more Nigerians speaking French will be a big plus in terms of economic, educational, social and diplomatic benefits.
Already, the French government is in funding some learning centres in Nigeria, said the minister who disclosed that even Ghana, is a full member of the organisation.
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