Minister targets more aviation contribution to GDP

The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, is looking forward to more contribution from the aviation sector to the Gross Domestic Product.

He said this when aviation unions, including National Union of Air Transport Employees, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals and National Association of Air Transport Pilots and Employees, put up a surprising welcome reception for him after his oath of office.

Sirika said Nigeria Air was still on the cards and would contribute to the GDP. “This industry has a lot for Nigerians and it connects people, nations and markets. One airplane that will come in means 300 jobs. More than that, it is a catalyst for economic growth and contributes to the GDP. We have raised the contribution to the GDP from 0.4 to 0.6 per cent. We believe that by next year, it will increase the GDP contribution by at least one per cent. Aviation, for sure, will add to the quality of life in Nigeria.”

Responding to the gesture by the unions, Sirika said, “I truly appreciate the aviation workers for coming out in their numbers to receive me. This surprise, by the grace of God, will not be misplaced. We worked together as a family and I missed them. I never thought that I was coming back. I could not find a forum to say a big ‘thank you’ to them. Now that we are back, we will still continue from where we stopped. If there is need, we will tweak to better what we had done, in the interest of our country and our industry.”

He reiterated the collaboration of stakeholders in the country when he said, “Nigerians should know that while we are here, given the opportunity, we, together with the stakeholders, will continue with the road map. If it needs adjustment, we will adjust it appropriately to serve the industry better.”

President of NAAPE, Abegnego Galadima, and President-General of ANAP, Kabir Gusau, on behalf of other unions, expressed satisfaction in having Sirika back as substantive minister and appealed for continued collaboration with the unions in the industry for a better working relationship, which will give room for progress in the industry.

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