Establishment of a free trading zone at Nigeria’s busiest airport, the Murtala Muhammed Airport Lagos will boost the country’s economy with up to $500 million in investments expected over the next five years, the chairman of the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (nacho aviance), Mallam Suleiman Yahyah, announced.
The chairman spoke at Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, Western Nigeria, at the national executive council meeting of the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria.
According to him, the free trading zone, when fully operational, would create jobs and boost the country’s economy.
He reiterated the significance of making Lagos a regional aviation hub, noting that failure to make this happen would be retrogressive for Nigeria’s aviation industry.
Both Ivory Coast and Senegal, according to Yahyah, are making progress in the development of their aviation infrastructure and if Nigeria does effectively compete, any of the two West African countries may edge out Nigeria as the sub-region’s aviation hub.
He said an investment of $10 billion is needed in Nigeria’s aviation sector to attain global standards, adding that infrastructural development and development of human capital are key to ensuring the industry maintains its category 1 status.
National President of ATSSSAN, Benjamin Okewu, expressed his association’s frustration at alleged plans by the government to merge three agencies of the aviation ministry – Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and Nigerian Meteorological Agency – which he noted violates standards prescribed by International Civil Aviation Organization conventions and protocols.
Analysts and operators in the sector have regarded Nigeria’s aviation industry as the fastest growing in Africa, citing the delivery of more aircrafts to the country than South Africa as one of the bases for their assertion.