As part of efforts to enhance the air traffic management system in Nigeria, aviation experts have observed that there is a need for innovations in processes and applications to achieve success in the sector.
Aviation veterans stressed this at the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI) webinar which held recently, noting that aviation infrastructure development, maintenance, and service delivery, are key essential aspects in need of innovative approaches.
With four airports generating 87% of total revenue from 22 airports in Nigeria and a record of about eight million air travellers from over 200 million population, speakers at the online summit posited that Nigeria remains a good infrastructure investment destination if existing opportunities are properly harnessed.
They, however, noted that there is a need to develop, maintain and modernize aviation infrastructure to attract air traffic growth and more patronage of air transportation.
Speakers at the strategic conference included; Dr. Olumuyiwa B. Aliu, Founder, International Partners For Aviation Development (IPADS); Prof. Bamidele Badejo, Dept of Geography, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye; Engr. Femi Adeniji, COO, Tropical/Arctic Logistics; Mrs. Adebimpe Ajimotokan, Head, Corporate Banking, Training/Comm, GTB; Mr. Raphael Kuuchi, Director, Communication, Industry/Legal Affairs, AFRAA; Mr. Abiola Lawal, CEO, Quorum Aviation and Dr. Gbenga Olowo, President, ASRTI.
The recommendations from the conference included that; government should provide an enabling environment, reflected in enabling institutional, legal, regulatory, monitoring and evaluation framework for Nigeria’s aviation infrastructure to be developed.
A culture of good corporate governance by all stakeholders was agreed as essential to tackle the deficit in Nigeria’s aviation infrastructure development, while the interest of aviation infrastructure users and service consumers must be in the front burner during decision making while they should be consulted by private capital providers and government policy decision makers on aviation infrastructure development to avoid retrogressive conflicts both in the process and at completion of such projects.
Other recommendations are that; performance reward system for manpower must be in place while training and competence of personnel in aviation infrastructure operations and management should be given priority in decision making.
There is a need to improve access to private capital for financing aviation infrastructure by ensuring ease of doing business, access to low interest rate loans, reduction of business risk for investors, access to multilateral financing and long term tenure for debts (10 to 20 years).
Some submissions are: “Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangements on aviation infrastructure must come with investment protective laws and enforceable provisions as well as full disclosure by private capital entrepreneurs to ensure accountability, transparency and confidence in such partnership arrangements”
“There is a need for consistency in government policies to protect investment in aviation infrastructure. Access to private capital investment in aviation infrastructure should be encouraged because of its numerous benefits including increased efficiency and quality service delivery in terms of Return On Investment (ROI) and service consumer interest.”
“For any infrastructure PPP arrangement to generate the desired benefits, infrastructure investment needs must first be identified, after which a master plan should be developed with features of a robust cost-benefit analysis, a transparent process, strong oversight, realistic target expectations and infrastructure users’ consultation. All aviation infrastructure related partnership contracts, and concession agreements should be reviewed regularly (every five years)”
The summit also observed a need for prompt response to new developments in infrastructure growth without bureaucracies but in compliance with laid down agreements, policies, laws and regulations, whilst arguing that key aviation infrastructure needs that require urgent intervention should be prioritized appropriately, using SWOT Analysis.
“Periodic institutional, legal and regulatory reforms should accommodate private capital injection in infrastructure. The Nigerian government should salvage its image regarding perception that it hardly honours contractual agreements on infrastructure, as this can help to re-energize interest in aviation infrastructure investment in the country,” the communiqué read.