Minister of State for Aviation Hadi Sirika said yesterday that Nigeria will soon have a full private sector-driven national carrier.
He spoke in Addis Ababa on the sidelines of 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union after the AU inaugurated the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) aimed at enhancing connectivity among member nations and ensuring cheaper continental flights
Sirika said the government would provide enabling environment and support so as to take advantage of the Single Air Transport Market launched by the African Union.
Apart from Nigerian entrepreneurs, he said that the African Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank and the Chinese Exim Bank as well as countries like Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Rwanda, Namibia and Niger Republic would participate in the initiative.
“We are very close to having a national carrier at the moment. We are at the stage of transaction services. We have affiliations which will be dealt with. I hope within this week, you will hear from me on where we are. It will be soon.
“We have been having alliances, discussions and co-operations regarding establishment of a national carrier in Nigeria. It is going to be a full private sector driven. And if that happens, the government will provide enabling environment and support. And once that is done, Nigeria is on its way to greatness. Most importantly, the prices of tickets and the efficiency of service will be much better.
“Apart from enterpremeurs within Nigeria, institutions like African Development Bank has written to us that they are willing to support us and partner with us to drive this process. So also the Islamic Development Bank. So also the Exim Bank.
“Countries like Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Morocco and Egypt have been coming around to try to participate and partner with us. And lately, Rwanda, Namibia and Niger Republic. So, we are getting there soon,” Sirika said.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame and the chairperson of the AU Commission Moussa Faki, launched the market in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the close of the 30th AU Summit.
Kagame said Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe would lead the continent in ensuring full implementation of the market.
He thanked the AU Commission for its efforts towards ensuring the floating of the market which he said “is very important for the development of our continent in line with our many projects that will take us to our wishes for the year 2063.
“I’m glad that we can achieve some of these now or tomorrow, especially this particular project. I am happy for associating myself with the progress that we have made so far.”