In order to address the foreign exchange shortage, which is impeding the operations of the majority of indigenous airlines, the Federal Government has instructed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to hold a quarterly reconciliation meeting with carriers.
This information was disclosed by the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo in his opening remarks at the seventh Aviation Africa Summit and Exhibition 2023 on Wednesday in Abuja.
The quarterly meeting is believed would give the government a chance to learn more about the country’s forex problem and would also help to resolve any outstanding problems with forex in the aviation sector.
Keyamo also apologised to affected foreign airlines for their trapped funds in the country, promising that the government would resolve the issue soonest.
“The current administration is aware that one of the setbacks entrepreneurs have suffered in Nigeria in recent years is the fluctuation of foreign exchange and its availability.
“This administration is committed to ensuring that forex is readily available to entrepreneurs and the government has directed that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) holds quarterly reconciliation meetings with airlines with a view to resolving this issue”, he said.
In addition, Keyamo revealed three roadmaps for the Nigerian aviation sector, referencing Aerotropolis, maintenance, repair, and overhaul of MRO facilities, and airplane leasing companies (ALC).
He emphasized that the three are essential for the growth of the aviation industry in Nigeria and in West Africa and that they are components of the administration’s goals.
He expressed regret that West African nations as a whole did not have top-notch MRO facilities but gave the assurance that the nation would take the lead in this.
“The government is already looking at the aircraft leasing company, aircraft maintenance organisation, forex availability and tax holidays to improve the aviation business in Nigeria.
“This includes upgrading of the Cat3 landing system, at major airports, construction of the second runway in Abuja, airport improvement programmes through concession and government willingness to partner with companies to turn major airports into aerotropolis.
“The government welcomes major players in aircraft leasing and head lessors to invest in Nigeria airlines to provide state of the art aircraft,” he said.
“With the shortage of qualified engineers, the current administration is willing to provide all the necessary support for the establishment of a world class MROs and training organisation.
He further explained that the current administration was open to providing tax holidays to encourage existing and new entrants into the Nigerian aviation sector.
“I wish to reiterate that my administration will continue to sustain the support being given to the industry.
“I firmly believe that as key players and decision makers, this summit will provide the required atmosphere for you to discuss, and identify recovery strategies that would attract private investors to support the funding of infrastructure projects.
“By building a transparent, stable and predictable investment climate, as well as include aviation in the continent’s national development plans.
“Nigeria is honoured to have these distinguished captains of aviation industry and industry stakeholders, from all over the world who are participating in this event,” he said.
“Having this unique and important event for the seventh time demonstrates the organiser’s determination and interest to support the sustainable development of air transport in Africa.
“I therefore wish to take this opportunity to appreciate Times Aerospace Limited, which has been the champion of the Aviation Africa Summit as well as making Nigeria the first country to host this noble event in West Africa.
“The recent global events further exposed the immense contribution and importance of air transportation as a catalyst for economic development, vital engine of global socio-economic growth”, he said.