Sirika tasks AfCFTA on challenges affecting implementation of Yamoussoukro Decison

The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has called on the Nigeria’s National Action Committee on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFT) to look at outstanding issues concerning implementation of Yamoussoukro Decision (YD), the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) and the proposed African Union Passport among others.

The minister made the call  during the committee’s first implementation engagement series held to gather stakeholders in the aviation sector to have a feel of what is expected of the local aviation community.

It was agreed at the gathering that there were a myriad of considerations to actualize the expected impact of the continental initiative (AfCFTA).

Speaking at the event, Sirika said the whole essence of civil aviation was to facilitate fast and create efficiency in journeys “as we advocate for the strengthening of AFCAC (African Civil Aviation Commission) to harmonize civil aviation regulations for aviation service providers in order to actualize the Yamoussoukro Decision and SAATM which is the flagship project for the African Union Agenda 2063 to enforce appropriate rules and regulations to give fair and equal opportunities to all stakeholders and promote fair competition.

“We also advocate for special support for aviation industry specifically, to fast track systems upgrade in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Port Harcourt and Enugu with a view to matching international best standards. In our own modest way in Nigeria, we have developed these five airports. We have completed Abuja, Port Harcourt and put to use, Kano is completed and will be put to use in March, Lagos will be put to use in the same March and Enugu in due course.”

He commended the National Action Committee for trying to sensitise all sectors for the implementation of AFCFTA while describing aviation as elitist sector and a myth.

His words: “Civil Aviation is for all. It connects markets and businesses, nations and nations, cultures and cultures, history and traditions, schools and children etc. If SAATM is implemented, it means there will be more access to civil aviation, there will be more connectivity and that would bring down prices and make civil aviation affordable. Implementation of SAATM means aviation will be for all of us.”

Some of the objectives of AfCFTA, is to create a single market, deepen economic integration within the continent and minimize dependence on non-African trades and services. Also to resolve the challenge of multiple and overlapping membership to achieve a sustainable and increase socio-economic transformation within member states and enhance competitiveness of member states within Africa and in the global market.

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