…Flays state of rot at P’Harcourt airport
By Louis Ibah
There is need for the Nigerian government to review the existing laws governing investments in the aviation sector iin order to attract the right investors to grow the industry and create jobs for citizens, the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) has said.
The union made its position known in a statement by its President, Mr. Ahmed Illitrus, at the 14th National Delegates Conference and Symposium organised recently in Port Harcourt by the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE).
“Although Nigeria encourages Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), its laws and processes unfortunately do not provide the necessary assistances, comfort and ease for people to come into Nigeria,” said ATSSSAN.
“The Nigeria Investment and Promotion Council (NIPC) Act allows for 100 per cent foreign ownership of business in Nigeria in all sectors of the economy. In the Civil Aviation Act, there is a provision for local content, which says you must have a majority stakeholding in the business by Nigerians. You can see that already there is a conflict between these two laws,” the union noted.
According to ATSSSAN, except the Federal Government restructures the existing laws guiding certain aspects of business operations in the country, particularly in the aviation sector, the Executive Order issued recently by the Presidency to allow ease of doing business in the country may not achieve its set targets or goals.
“The Federal Government should learn what happens in other jurisdictions. If we want to have FDI in Nigeria, we must create that enabling environment including rejuvenation of our laws to allow for ease of doing business in our industry.
“The ease of doing business goes beyond the airport as a structure. You know it is all encompassing. Ease of doing business has to do with facilitation of flights, facilitation of business registration in Nigeria as well as infrastructure to support activities in the airport,” ATSSSAN added.
The union also decried the present state of Port Harcourt International Airport (PHIA), describing it as an eyesore and demanded that the contractor handling the project be called to account for his performance.
“The state of PHIA is a national shame. The makeshift facilities to accommodate passengers’ handling is, to say the least, dehumanising and it should not be accepted by anybody. We cannot continue to keep the Port Harcourt airport in this sorry state,” said ATSSSAN.
“There is an engagement; somebody has been commissioned and contracted to do the job. Those contracted to do the job should be called to order. They should be asked to explain why the job has stopped. If it is an issue of funding, government has the responsibility to look into it and to direct that necessary things need to be done even in the interim to ensure that such facility is given a facelift urgently,” the union added.