… says Nigeria Air Still On The Road Map
Posted by Sade Williams
The newly sworn-in Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika has said that he looks forward to having an increase in the contribution of aviation to the tune of 1 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product of the country, in the first few years.
This is as the aviation unions made up of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP) and the National Association of Air Transport Pilots and Employees (NAAPE) put up a surprised welcome reception for the minister after taking oath of office.
He said Nigeria Air is still on the road map, it will continue by God’s grace. This is as he commented on the GDP contribution of aviation in the country.
“This industry has a lot for Nigerians and it connects people, nations and markets. One airplane that will come in means 300 jobs. More than that, it is a catalyst growth for the economy of our country and contributes to the GDP. From what we have done, we have raise the contribution to the GDP from 0.4 to 0.6. We believe that in the next one year, it will increase the GDP contribution by at least 1%. 200 million people, at the centre of Africa? Aviation for sure will add to the quality of lives in Nigeria.”
Responding to the gesture by the unions Sirika said, “I truly appreciate the aviation workers for coming out in numbers to receive me. I am not sure if it has not broken me to pieces. Indeed it did. I am being the macho man that I ought to be to hold back tears. This surprise by the grace of God will not be misplaced. We worked together as a family and I missed them. I never thought that I was coming back. I could not find a forum to say a big thank you to them. Now that we are back, we will still continue from where we started from. If there is need, we will tweak to make it better what we have done before in the interest of our country and our industry aviation.”
Sirika reiterates the collaboration of stakeholders in the country when he said “Nigerians should know that while we are here given the opportunity, we together with the stakeholders. The union and that staff. We drew a road map and we are following that road map. We will continue with the roadmap, it needs adjustment, we will adjust it appropriately so that it will serve the industry better. So that it will be in tune and in tune with the presidential directive, that everything must be pro-people. So, we will continue with the pro-people initiative of Mr. President. We will ensure that all our actions will be in the interest of the people, the worker, the industry and the country in general.”
Citing the universal nature of aviation, Sirika commented that: “I want to point this out that to Nigerians and the world in general, there is only one aviation. There is no aviation B. Aviation is universal. It is the same aviation in China, America, South Africa and in Nigeria. We cannot work as island. We must work together because the standards are the same. Anything that affects someone in Niger will affect another person in Singapore. People should desist from seeing aviation as elitist. I use to read on paper and here on the news that, ‘How many people fly?’ it is not that. If Dangote has employed 100,000 people and he has to travel from one place to another in an aeroplane, it is not him that is travelling, but also the 100,000 workers.”
The National Presidents of NAAPE, Comrade Abenego Galadima and President General of ANAP, Comrade Kabir Gusau on behalf of other unions expressed their satisfaction in having Sen. Sirika back as a substantive minister and appeal for a continued collaboration with the unions in the industry for a better working relationship which will give room for progress of the industry.