Home BUSINESS AVIATION Buhari Worries Over High Debt Profile Of Aviation Sector, Air Transport Safety

Buhari Worries Over High Debt Profile Of Aviation Sector, Air Transport Safety

Aviation industry
President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed concern over the enormous debt profile of Nigeria’s aviation sector, saying that his administration will act quickly to redress the situation. He is also worried about the safety of passengers who chose air travel in Nigeria.
‘‘I am concerned about the enormous debt profile in the aviation sector. The Federal Government has to do something quickly because safety, security and international respectability are involved here.
“Our airports are the windows through which people see our country. Anybody coming into the country will likely come through the airports.
“If we cannot secure and maintain our infrastructure, it will reflect very badly on us.’’
President Buhari who received a briefing from the Federal Ministry of Aviation today at the state House Abuja, directed the Ministry of Aviation to speed up all processes and projects relating to the safety and security of Nigeria’s air transport system.
President Buhari further directed that counterpart funding for the  upgrading of the  international airports in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Port Harcourt and Enugu, should be captured in the 2016 budget.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mrs. Binta Bello told the President that the five new International Airport Terminal Buildings were designed to meet the best international standards.
The five international terminals, she said, could cater for 62 million passengers annually when completed in the first quarter of 2016, with Lagos moving from 7 million passengers’ capacity to 25 million, Abuja moving from 5 million to 16 million, while Kano, Port Harcourt and Enugu, will have the capacity for 7 million passengers each.
Also today, President Buhari vowed improve the National Youth Service Corps programme to be used as a functional vehicle for the promotion of national unity and integration.
President Buhari who received a briefing from officials of the Federal Ministry of Youth Development led by the Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Rabi Jimeta, affirmed his confidence and trust in the programme.
According to him, the objective for which the scheme was established in 1973 is still very relevant for national development now.
“I firmly believe in NYSC and I think it should remain a national programme to promote integration.
“Whenever I go home to Daura, I look out for Corps members from Lagos, Aba and other parts of the country.
“I am always thrilled to learn that except for the NYSC, some of them have never left their states of origin to visit other cities in the country.”
Mrs. Jimeta told the President that the increasing number of NYSC participants posed a challenge to the scheme due to the dwindling revenue, from the national budget, to cater for their needs.
She said that the annual enrolment of corps participants had increased from 2,364 at inception in 1974 to 229,016 in 2014.
“Given the increasing number of tertiary institutions, our projection is that the number of corps participants may rise to 300,000 by year 2020.”
The Director-General of NYSC, Brigadier-General Johnson Olawumi, also said that there were plans to make the scheme voluntary  and reduce the corps population to make the programme more sustainable. [myad]

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