Sirika said this when he addressed the 40th assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal, Canada stating that Nigeria has been a major champion of liberalization.
According to the minister, liberalization efforts in Africa has already been yielding benefits including increased manual traffic and foreign airline traffic in the country.
He said, “Nigeria has been a great supporter of liberalization and as a continued champion of liberalization efforts in Africa through the implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision ( YD) and the Single African Air Transport Market ( SAATM), I wish to call on ICAO to continue to support the regional liberalization efforts of states as they could be used as incentives to achieve global multilateral achievement on liberalization of market access.
I am happy to inform you that Nigerians efforts of liberalization has led to significant increase in the operations of foreign airlines utilization so far our airports resulting in manual traffic growth of over 8%. Today aviation in Nigeria is the second fastest growing industry after water and .. We recorded 12.6% growth this quarter.
The minister also expressed Nigeria’s belief that successes in technological advancement should be complemented with the modernization of global regulatory frameworks.
He said,”We believe that successes in technological advancement should be complemented with the modernization of global regulatory frameworks through the liberalization of market access and convergence of regulatory approaches. This will maximize the social economic benefits of air transport and enhance the comfort and convenience of consumers of our services.
He further relayed the country’s resolve to be a hub stating that the country is enacting new strategies to make air transportation, “safer, more secure, more efficient and more environmentally friendly as well as ensure the growth and sustainability of aviation industry globally.”
He said,” With 200million people and 923 766 sq km of land mass, our resolve is to make Nigeria the hub of west and central Africa region and make air travel the preferred mode of transportation. We are fully aware that achieving this will require a robust industry that is safe and secure and environmentally friendly with modern and adequate infrastructure.
“In the area of safety, Nigeria in the last three years have continued to work towards sustaining the successes achieved ICAO universal safety oversight programme and the FAA International aviation safety assessment category 1 rating through strengthening of the Nigeria civil aviation authority to keep regulating aviation safety without political interference.”