Sirika: Air Trans­porta­tion Con­tributes $8.2bn to Nige­ria’s GDP An­nu­ally

Says air­ports han­dled 15.2m pas­sen­gers, fer­ried 195,230MT of cargo

THISDAY - - NEWS - Kasim Su­maina in Sokoto

The Min­is­ter of State for Avi­a­tion, Se­na­tor Hadi Sirika, yes­ter­day dis­closed that trans­porta­tion which is the car­di­nal ob­jec­tive of the Na­tional In­te­grated In­fra­struc­ture Mas­ter Plan (NIIMP) of the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion can­not be overem­pha­sised.

He noted that air­port trans­port alone con­tributes about US$8.2 bil­lion to the coun­try’s gross do­mes­tic prod­uct an­nu­ally.

He dis­closed that the air­ports in 2016 han­dled 15.2 mil­lion pas­sen­gers, con­veyed over 195,230 met­ric tons of cargo and 7,373.0 met­ric tonnes of mails.

Sirika, while speak­ing at the 2017 15th edition of the Na­tional Coun­cil on Trans­porta­tion (NCT) tak­ing place in Sokoto State, said there was need for ev­ery sec­tor to op­er­ate ef­fi­ciently for the re­cov­ery of the na­tion’s economy.

“This has be­come ur­gent for us given the fallen price of oil which had been our main stay and the re­sul­tant de­cline in gov­ern­ment rev­enue,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to the min­is­ter, “Trans­porta­tion is the wheels that roll the eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of coun­tries. The sec­tor con­tributes to the eco­nomic sec­tors which in­clude oil and gas, tourism, travel, agri­cul­ture, trade and com­merce, man­u­fac­tur­ing and other non-oil sec­tors.

“Nige­ria is the largest economy in Africa with a pop­u­la­tion of over 180 mil­lion peo­ple. Presently, the coun­try has 27 func­tional air­ports and sev­eral pri­vately owned airstrips and he­li­pads. The air­ports in 2016 han­dled 15.2 mil­lion pas­sen­gers, trans­ported over 195, 230 met­ric tonnes of cargo and 7,373.0 met­ric tonnes of mails.

“Also, ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­na­tional Air Trans­port As­so­ci­a­tion (IATA), air trans­port in Nige­ria sup­ports more than 650,800 jobs in­clud­ing tourism-re­lated em­ploy­ment, while con­tribut­ing US$8.2 bil­lion to the coun­try’s GDP an­nu­ally.”

He noted that the statistics un­der­scored the im­por­tance of avi­a­tion in the economy of Nige­ria but, “in re­la­tion to our pop­u­la­tion size and ge­o­graph­i­cal lo­ca­tion, the coun­try has the po­ten­tial to do more.”

Sirika hinted that cur­rently, there is no ef­fec­tive in­ter-modal­ity of air trans­porta­tion with other modes in terms of in­fras­truc­tural link­ages ex­cept road net­work. “How­ever, con­struc­tion works are at ad­vanced stage to con­nect the Nnamdi Azikiwe In­ter­na­tional Air­port to rail while the mas­ter plans of the other in­ter­na­tional air­ports have pro­vi­sion for link­ages.

The min­is­ter, who was rep­re­sented by the Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary, Min­istry of Trans­porta­tion and Avi­a­tion, Sabiu Zakari, fur­ther said in prepa­ra­tion for an ef­fi­cient in­ter-modal trans­port sys­tem, “Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari has ap­proved a ro­bust road-map for the avi­a­tion sub-sec­tor, and that the road-map in­tends to ad­dress some of the in­fras­truc­tural gaps and chal­lenges with a view to pro­vid­ing long-term so­lu­tions.

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