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Federal Government and World Bank to Speed Up Nigerian Aviation Projects

by allafrica.com Monday, Dec. 17, 2007 at 3:18 PM

Federal government and World Bank yesterday gave a commitment to do everything possible to quicken the execution of the .5m Air safety and security projects being carried out in the country's airports.

Updated: December 7th, 2007 09:51 AM EDT

This Day (Nigeria)

via NewsEdge Corporation

This came as the Minister of State in-charge for Air Transportation, Dr. Felix Hassan Hyat said Nigeria is targeting to develop the Nigerian airports to compete with the best airports in the world by year 2020.

Speaking during with a team of World Bank project officials, the Director of Air transport Management who represented the Minister of State for Aviation, Dr. Umoru Kubor, said Nigeria is desirous of developing facilities in all the country's airports in order to improve the quality of air travel services and to boost business in the aviation sector.

Kubor while lamenting the low volume of traffic presently being witnessed by the country's aviation sector, said low level development of facilities is robbing the country enormous resources in the air travel business.

"I want to say that the security and safety project for which the world bank is interested in is a very important project for Nigerians. Nigeria is very desirous of implementing safety and security programmes to improve the quality of air services in our country to increase the volume of activities in our airports", he said.

He said presently a lot of airlines are not over flying our airspace and the volume of activities in Nigeria is very low, adding government want the volume of air traffic to increase in such a way that the aviation sector can support itself.

"We want to increase the volumes of our airports. The country is over 140million people but the people using our airport should not be less than 40million. Presently only 6million people make use of our airport as of last year and that figure is so low compared to very small countries having big volumes in their airports.

When the volume is big, the money generated would be big and to help sustain the system. So we need a lot of infrastructures to bring us to a stage where we can sustain our selves", he said.Meanwhile while speaking at the hand-over of the the out-gone Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Kubor said the target of the federal government was to ensure that Nigerian airports were among the best 20 by year 2020.He said, "Airports should be self sustaining.

You have to generate enough funds and plough it back to the industry. The figures we are getting are low."Kubor who represented the Minister of State at the event noted that President Umaru Yar' Adua had given the management of the sector a charge to ensure that Nigerian airports were among the best 20 in the world by 2020, adding that the task was Herculean.The former Managing Director of FAAN Mr. Mohammed Yusufu formally handed over the mantle of leadership of FAAN to his successor, Mr. Richard Aisuebuegun,Hyat , thereby laying to rest the controversies trailing his exit. The erstwhile MD, Mr. Mohammed Yusufu had refused to hand over and locked up his office, forcing Aisuebuegun, who was appointed early November to resort to using the conference centre of the agency.The development led the ministry to convene a handover ceremony in Abuja .Eager to avert a logjam, the Minister of State in-charge of Air Transportation, Dr. Felix Hassan Hyat insisted that Aisuebuegun should sign the document and raise any observations he would have afterwards.

Represented by the Director, Air Transport Management in the Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Imoru Kubar, the minister commended the outgoing Yusufu for contributions to the aviation industry and requested him to be available for inquiries on his time as MD.Hyat also challenged the new MD to work towards ensuring a safe aviation industry and raising the internal generated revenue profile of FAAN.In his speech, Yusufu said the handover notes was a product of the reports written by the six directors of the ministry. According to him, "I never changed a line of the data presented to me by the six directors that worked under me. As a leader I take responsibility but. But if there is anything you find wrong, please contact them as to why it is wrong."On the N6.5bn intervention loan by Zenith Bank, which later became controversial,Yusufu said the amount was intact.The loan was meant for the refurbishing of the control towers of airports across the country but became controversial after part of the loan was lodged in United Bank of Africa , a move which sparked protest by Zenith Bank. He explained that the matter was later settled through the intervention of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Minister of State for Aviation, Chief Fani Kayode.According to Yusufu, "We have a cash book balance of N1.535bn as at 15th of November, the date the handover notes was prepared. As at 13th November, N5.4bn is also is owed the Federal, the sum of N3.9bn being principal interested on loan granted.Trade debts recorded across the airports totaled N12.7bn as at 30th Sept 2007. They had to do with old Nigerian Airways."

Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media. (allafrica.com)

This Day (Nigeria) -- 12/07/07

http://www.amtonline.com/article/article.jsp?id=4814&siteSection=1

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