Reviewing FG’s obsolete policies in aviation sector
Nigeria and Nigerians entered have another phase yesterday with the swearing in of President Muhamadu Buhari to again lead the country and its various sectors of economy for another four years.
The second coming of the Buhari government to some is nothing to celebrate about perhaps based on the state of economic hardship, but to others it is worth celebrating for reasons best known to them.
Whichever way it is seen, and while everyone has the right to his or her expression, the obvious fact is that the government has returned to manage the affairs of the country for another four years.
How the country and its citizens will fair within this period depends on the ability of the Buhari led government to search for a good team that will come to use their wealth of experiences in all sectors of the economy to improve lives of everyone.
In other words, Nigerians this time around is anxiously waiting to see those that will manage the various economic components including the critical sectors of the economy.
Therefore, as the Crucial Moment joins in welcoming the government back, there is an urgent need to call its attention to the aviation sector in particular in view of its sensitive position not only because of its economic contribution but as a means of connecting the country to other parts of the world.
In the first term of the Buhari government, the sector experienced some positive achievements ranging from the certification of Lagos and Abuja airports, repairs of Abuja airport runway, upgrade of airports terminal buildings, release of accident reports of many outstanding past crashes.
Even the minister of state for aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika in attesting to this had stated that the Buhari led government had between 2015 and 2019 had completed 134 of 157 projects initiated and executed in aviation sector.
The point is, no matter how things are viewed, the Buhari government tried its best in its first tenure but this may still not be the best for the sector that still has a lot of burdens hanging on its neck.
While majority of the achievements recorded in the the first term were in the area of infrastructure, this alone cannot bring to the table the required wherewithals needed to reposition the sector to the desire standard.
Therefore, as the government enters its second phase, there is the need for it to review many of its policies including the ones it formed and those one inherited which had been found to be the bane of the sector.
Without reviewing these hostile policies, all efforts the government makes in its second term will come to nought and a waste of public funds.
Among such policies calling for a review include the lopsided over 80 Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASA) Nigeria through the ministry of aviation officials signed with foreign countries which have been found to be disadvantageous to the country and its domestic airlines.
The multiple entry points thrown at the foreign airlines operating into the country which have negatively affected the economic strength of the indigenous airlines need to be looked into.
The lackadaisical attitude of the government toward protecting the domestic carriers from international aero politics should be reviewed if the domestic airlines already designated on these international routes are to succeed. Without government joining other nations to play this international aero politics, the Nigerian carriers will continue to suffer in their hands while airlines from such countries are well treated here.
Besides this, there are many controversial concession agreements the government agencies had earlier entered into with some private bodies that have become messy and legal tussle.
Apart from the controversial agreements discouraging private investments in the sector, the role played by the government agencies involved in the untidy agreements has gone to negatively portray the government as untrustworthy and notorious for flouting agreements.
These and several policies need to be addressed this second coming and until they are addressed, any effort put on ground by this government will just be like scratching the surface of the myriad of problems confronting the sector.