• As Sirika canvasses harmonization of border protocols; single African passport

DIRECTOR General of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Captain Musa Nuhu pointed out some difficulty as regards implementation of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) stressing that one-third of the 34 nations that have signed the treaty do not meet the safety and security requirement.

This is just as the Minister of Aviation Senator Hadi Sirika has called on the action committee to look into areas like the implementation of SAATM itself, harmonization of border management protocols to enable seamless facilitation of goods and people as well as single African passports for the AfCTA to be effectively implemented. Read also: Dr. Demuren explains why SAATM may not  favour Nigerian  airlines

Nuhu made this known Nigeria’s National Action Committee on the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) during an Implementation Engagement Series organized for the Aviation Industry where he pointed out some potential for Nigeria to thrive in the continent.

Nuhu said,” One of the challenges I see in the implementation of SAATM and no one seems to talk about it. We say 34 countries have signed SAATM’s solemn commitment and Memorandum of Occupation. One key fact we keep forgetting is that a third of those countries do not meet the eligibility requirement in safety and security to participate in SAATM.

“So effectively, we just have about two-third of those countries signed that can really participate in SAATM. This is one of the challenges the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) which is the executing body of the SAATM is facing, and the regulatory bodies of the states that do not meet the security and safety requirement must handle as well.

On how Nigerians can tap into and benefit from the SAATM, Nuhu said with Africa’s 1.3 billion and a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $2.6 trillion, It offers incredible potentials for continental aviation and with the implementation AfCFTA and SAATM.

“For Nigeria,” he said, “being the dominant market in Western and Central Africa and a major market in the continent, has excellent opportunities and potentials and these have been largely ignored or not exploited over the years. It is a significant opportunity for Nigerian airline operators to go into cargo business and transport these goods massively and few hours to their destination countries. It will be cheaper and it gets there faster, which will lead to growth of this market.”

Speaking earlier, Minister of Aviation, Senator Sirika called on the committee to look at outstanding issue concerning implementation of Yamoussoukro Decision (YD), the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) and the proposed African Union Passport among others. Read also: Involve entrepreneurs, policy experts before signing AfCFTA; AON tells FG

He said,”For effective implementation of AfCFTA in the aviation sub-sector, the National Action Committee needs to look into the following areas: Challenges in the implementation of SAATM itself. Harmonization of border management protocols to enable seamless facilitation of goods and people. This is very important for perishable goods.

“For example, you cannot fly bananas across borders and keep them in the storage facilities for days. Efforts to fast track the implementation of African Union Passport to eliminate requirement for visa. This can facilitate easy movement for businesses or frequent flyers across the continent.”

He commended the Nation Action Committee in trying to sensitize all sectors for the implementation of AFCFTA stating that Aviation as an elitist sector is a myth and that Civil Aviation is for all as It connects markets and businesses.


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