- Minister pleads for JetA1 importation, forex access
PRESIDENT of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammad Buhari today commissioned the new Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Terminal 2 and has directed the fast tracking of the concession processof the four international airports as well as approving 12000 hectares for the construction of a second runway in Abuja.
The president who arrived at new China Civil Engineering and Construction Company ( CCECC) constructed terminal at 3:18 pm said with the new terminal births the dawn of a new era for safety, security and comfort in Nigeria.
He said government’s continuous investments in aviation and other critical sectors are yielding results and people are attesting to the dividends and assuring it would get better.
On the terminal he stated, “This improvement will increase airport operations and management services to about 14 million passengers per annum, with the attendant positive multiplier effects, by creating about 3,000 direct and indirect employment opportunities for our youths, increased inflow of Foreign Direct Investments and exponential growth in the Gross Domestic Product.
While speaking on infrastructure development he said,”Government is responding by further investments and partnerships in the sector to tend to this challenge. Consequently, the Minister of Aviation has been directed to fast track the airport concession programme. Similarly, the Abuja second runway is being fast tracked. The Minister of FB&NP has been directed to source special funding for the project while the MFCT is directed to conclude the titling of the approved 12,000 hectares of land to accommodate the runway and other developmental projects
He expressed appreciation to the Government and People of the Republic of China, through the China Export-Import Bank and CCECC Nigeria Limited, for their commitment and support towards the completion of the project.
Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika who spoke earlier said that in the administration of President Muhammed Buhari, there will be air rail connectivity between the domestic and international airports to shorten the traffic time between both airports.
Sirika who gave his remarks at the commissioning of the terminal also laid on the feet of the president, the numerous challenges aviation business is currently facing.
He stressed that problems from access of forex to the most recent JetA1 challenge has caused some setback and asked the president to direct the NNPC to import jet fuel in good quantity.
He said,”Mr. President aviation business suffers from issues of access to foreign exchange by local and foreign airlines and the ability to repatriate block funds. Nigeria currently holds $283m of foreign airlines blocked funds in the country. I would like to humbly request the support of the central bank through the directive of Mr. President to prioritize action of forex for all carriers both local and foreign.
“ Mr. President is aware of the recent chaos in the sector caused by lack of Jer A1. Flights are unduly delayed and/or cancelled unpleasantly.
“While apologizing to our teaming passengers, I wish to use this medium to humbly request Mr. President to direct NNPC to import Jet-Al in good quantities and devise means to sustain supply as well as directing CBN to allocate Forex for the major marketers to sustain supply.