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Sirika: Finally, Nat’l carrier takes off April 2022

…FG to hold 5% equity, entrepreneurs 46%, foreign investors 49%
‘Nigeria Air will generate about 70,000 jobs in first few years

…FG to hold 5% equity, entrepreneurs 46%, foreign investors 49% l’Nigeria Air will generate about 70,000 jobs in first few years He recalled that over 400 thousand Nigerians participated in choosing the name, which was launched in 2018. He said: “Today (Wednesday) in Council, civil aviation presented two memoranda.

The first one is approval for the award of contract for the provision of Automated Civil Aviation Regulatory Equipment, including software support and training, which will be located in Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport. “In summary, this is a software that will allow all of the activities of civil aviation regulation to be done electronically on one platform, including payments, including follow ups on personnel licensing, the medicals, the economic regulation of airlines, safety regulation of airlines and all other businesses within the envelope of civil aviation will be monitored by this single software.

“It is called ‘the truth machine’ in quotation in Europe, because all of the truth of regulation of civilization will appear on this platform, it’s an extremely important software that the world has now come to terms with. “The contract was given to Messrs. Arif Investment Nigeria Limited, who are representatives of Empik GmbH. Empik is the creator of this software, one of its kind in the world, at the sum of N1.492 billion, which will be including 7.5 per cent VAT and completion period of six months. So that’s the first memoranda.

“The next one also is approval of the outline business case for the establishment of the national carrier and this is the sixth time the memorandum appeared before council. The sixth time, we got lucky to be passed by council. “The structure of the proposed airline; government will be owning not more than five per cent. So five per cent is the maximum equity that government will take, then 46 per cent will be owned by Nigerian entrepreneurs.

“So, if you add that, it’s 51 per cent. So, it’s 51 per cent majority shareholding by Nigerians and then 49 per cent will be held by strategic equity partner or partners that will be sourced during the procurement phase, which is the next phase. “This airline, if started, and within the first few years will generate about 70,000 jobs. These 70,000 jobs are higher than the total number of civil servants that we have in the country. Its importance had been well discussed so, I’ll not go back to it. You had discussed it separately also on various fora as to the need for it.

“But one important item is the AU agenda 2063, which speaks to integration of Africa, which speaks to the cause and trade within Africa that is intra-Africa and to which also another flagship project of AU agenda 2063 called the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM). “Now, the only way, the quickest way that you can integrate Africa is by air because if you want to interconnect all the 54 nations of Africa, via rail or road, or waterways, which is even impossible, the quantum of money that you need to do all of these, the time it will take to develop this infrastructure, as well as the maintenance cost, is almost prohibitive.

“It’s doable, it’s time-taking, but with aviation, within a year, once the right policy is in place, like SAATM, you can connect Africa and then of course, theneededintegration will happen. Part of AU agenda 2063 So, these are the two memoranda that were submitted, and gladly they were passed by council.

“The name is Nigerian Air which of course, if you remember back in time, this was subject to national debate and 400,000 people participated, choose the name, the colour, the logo, everything and it was produced that time. It was launched also in Farnborough as far back as 2018.

“So, the business case is a public document. It will be on our website, you can download it and we can give you copies. This airline will pick up and start, by God’s grace, on or before April 2022.” Sirika was cleared to begin processes for the establishment of a private sector-driven national carrier, which pace gathered momentum early last year, six years after the idea was drawn up.

The entire cost of the projects for the revival of the aviation sector including the establishment of a private sector-driven national carrier would gulp N27 billion. The project initially had a March 2021 timeline to be supervised by the Ministry of Aviation.

Sirika recently explained that any airline that will operate at that level must be such that would support the national economy with $450 million GDP for 200million people and must be equipped to compete favourably. He said: “The international airlines that have dominated Africa, 80 percent of those airlines are non-African. In view of the AU Agenda 2063, the Single African Aviation Market, we thought that there will be an airline that will take up that challenge; that will take advantage of it and be able to provide services to our people.

 

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