The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika has said the Federal Government has commenced plans to revisit the suspended national carrier project.
The minister made this known on Monday while appearing before the Senate Committee on Aviation to defend the ministry’s budget.
According to the minister, the project was suspended to put adequate measures in place, promising that the project would be delivered soon.
He said the project, which was President Muhammadu Buhari’s brainchild would not be allowed to die.
In his words, Sirika said, “We had to suspend the earlier plans for the national carrier for strategic reasons. The move was not killed. Provisions have to be made to continue to fund activities of advisers and so on, to ensure that it is delivered”.
The minister further gave an assurance that the carrier will be delivered within the period of administration of the incumbent government. The Federal government he noted has not washed the plans down the drainage as they are putting all necessary measures in place to ensure the carrier is delivered.
The minister also stated that the carrier would not be funded solely by the government as it is expected ti be a public-private partnership (PPP).
“Viability funding is also being addressed. After that, then the full business case which is the implementation stage. It is at that point that it will be advertised for people to come in and participate”, he said.
He said that the process would be transparently done through local and international fora and media. He added that anybody who was interested in getting in information on funds spent and other processes was free to do so, stressing that the ministry would be willing to respond.
The minister lamented that besides the huge revenue loss due to the absence of a national carrier, Nigerians still pay exorbitantly to use air carriers belonging to other countries.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Aviation, Sen. Adamu Aliero, commended the minister for his efforts at repositioning the aviation sector.
He, however, said that the sector was capable of generating huge revenue for the country if well positioned.
He advised the minister to engage more often with critical stakeholders including the National Assembly for advice in carrying out his mandate.
He further advised agencies under the ministry to be up and doing in securing the lives of Nigerians, who often use air transport as well as ensuring that they complied with international best practices.