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Amaechi Seriika

National carrier on shipping, airline may elude Nigeria, stakeholders warn

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Stakeholders in both shipping and airline industries have called for more explanation from the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi over recent comments made by the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, that Nigeria would soon have a full private sector-driven national air carrier.

Many of the industry experts, who responded to Business Hilights questionnaire on Sirika’s comments in Addis Ababa, said they are getting tired of endless promises of national carrier or national fleet from the Minister of Transportation since the beginning of this administration and as such, cannot believe any of the ministers again on the matter until things begin to happen.

Sirika had made the remark while addressing journalists in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on the sidelines of just ended 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union.

Stressing that the government would provide enabling environment and support for the initiative, Sirika said the country would take advantage of the Single Air Transport Market launched by the AU on Monday.

Apart from Nigerian entrepreneurs, the minister said the African Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank and the Chinese Exim Bank as well as countries like Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Rwanda, Namibia and Niger Republic would participate in the initiative.

Sirika averred that “We are very close to having a national carrier at the moment. We are at the stage of transaction services. We have affiliations which will be dealt with. I hope within this week, you will hear from me on where we are. It will be soon.

“We have been having alliances, discussions and co-operations regarding establishment of a national carrier in Nigeria. It is going to be full private sector driven. And if that happens, the government will provide enabling environment and support. And once that is done, Nigeria is on its way to greatness. Most importantly, the prices of tickets and the efficiency of service will be much better.

“Apart from entrepreneurs within Nigeria, institutions like African Development Bank have written to us that they are willing to support and partner with us to drive this process. Others are the Islamic Development Bank and the Exim Bank,” Sirika said.

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