· Demand Performance Assessment for Ministers, Agency heads
By Moyosola Okuneye
Aviation experts have advised the Federal Government to ensure consistency in policy in order to encourage more investment in the sector even as they condemned inconsistency in policies, saying that it does not give room for structured planning.
Former Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Dr Harold Dumuren represented by the President, Aviation Round Table, by Dr Gbenga Oluwo, gave the advice at the 23rd Annual Conference and awards organized by the League of Airport and Aviation Correspondents(LAAC).
Speaking on the theme, “Boosting Aviation Investment Through policy”, Dr Gbenga Olowo said that investment in the aviation sector will be possible under stable regulatory and legal framework.
He also urged the government to design objectives and key performance indices that are measurable in order to assess the activities of each tenure.
“Our problem in Nigeria has been that when we make policies, we summersault and this happens because there are no measurement indices. A minister will be on the seat for four years and at the end of the tenure, he won’t be measured. He just goes in and goes out. Government must create objectives and key performance index that are measurable for every leader who comes on board. The guidelines are there, the standard operating practices are there but we don’t measure them”.
Gbenga while speaking highlighted operational excellence, stakeholder’s satisfaction, safety and security assurance as well as regulatory effectiveness as the policy thrust needed to drive investment in the aviation sector.
The Chief Executive Officer of TopBrass Aviation, Captain Roland Iyayi also stressed that the airline industry is being overregulated to the point of extinction.
“The airline industry is being overregulated to the point of extinction and I will cite an example. If we have a situation where the Civil Aviation Authority doesn’t bother about the fact that airlines are destroying themselves by pricing and overcapacity, then there is problem. In Ghana, there are five airlines that are registered as scheduled operators. I went to Ghana to register an airline, and I was clearly told that I would not be allowed to become a scheduled operator because they have five airlines they believe have enough capacity for their market. They told me that until one airline fails, nobody will be allowed into the market, he said”
According to him, Nigeria’s airline market has been dominated by foreign airlines which has led to the dearth of local airlines.
“If you have a situation where you want airline to thrive, the framework that you put in place to drive the policy must be consistent with the primary objectives of the industry. The policy we have on ground now is liberalization and the intent of liberalization was to ensure that there are new entrance into the field. With liberalization, you have fragmented the market, when you now bring in other players with similar capacities to Nigeria, chasing the same market, then we ended up having a fragmented market that has now led to a destructive competition as a result of policy inconsistency”.
Roland also urged the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority(NCAA) to create policies that will ensure success of the aviation market.
“We have individuals holding critical positions with little understanding of what the industry is all about. As long as NCAA shy away from its responsibility to grow the industry, then the policy created won’t be important. The government needs to encourage the private investors with consistent policies.”
Also speaking, the Chairman/CEO of Air Peace, Barrister Allen Onyema urged government to support local airlines and frowned at the constant praises given to foreign airlines operating in the country.
“Let us support our airlines, we should not eulogize foreign airlines. If there is a deliberate policy to protect Nigerian airlines in the next two years, we wouldn’t need a national carrier. Allowing foreign airlines to take over our airspace is a huge shame. Let’s support each other rather than engage in unprofitable competition. What the airlines need is an enabling environment,” he said.