On 9th of May 2022, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), the Senior Partner of OAL wrote to Senator Hadi Sirika, Hon. Minister of Aviation on supporting indegenious Airline Operators. His letter to INEC reads:
9th May 2022
Senator Hadi Sirika
Hon. Minister of Aviation
Federal Ministry of Aviation
Federal Secretariat Complex
Dear Hon. Minister,
RE-EMERGING ISSUES IN THE AVIATION SECTOR: SUPPORTING INDIGENOUS AIRLINE OPERATORS – A PROPOSAL ON FLY NIGERIA PROJECT.
We write to commend your current efforts at ensuring the Nigerian Aviation Industry is efficient, strong, and globally competitive. We applaud the many initiatives of Government, especially the new National Carrier – NIGERIA AIR – which will take off this year (2022). The new national carrier when established will re-establish Nigeria's presence in the international aviation industry. But we are concerned about complaints of the challenging operating environment Nigerian airline operators face. Specifically, the rising cost of aviation fuel and difficulty accessing foreign exchange. The government needs to intervene to ensure the industry does not shut down as it currently supports over 240,000 jobs directly and indirectly.
Beyond addressing operational challenges, we feel there is a need for a long-term growth strategy for the Nigerian aviation industry. Olisa Agbakoba Legal (OAL) has developed a Fly Nigeria Project which is designed to create an enabling legal and policy environment for NIGERIA AIR and other indigenous airlines by the enactment of the Fly Nigeria Bill. The Fly Nigeria Bill is similar to the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act 2003 which opened up a N10 trillion local maritime economy. If the Fly Nigeria Bill is passed, it will reserve commercial transportation of goods and services to airlines flying Nigerian flags and owned by Nigerians and ensure government spending on air travel (estimated to be over N100 Billion annually) originates and terminates with airlines flying Nigerian flags. The Act will enable the government to recoup the proposed $ 300 million investments into the national carrier and provide steady cargo, revenue, and passengers for Indigenous Airlines.
The government needs to also develop a corporate governance regulatory framework for the Aviation Industry as the rate of airline failure is extremely high. This will separate ownership and management and reduce financial and operational risks. OAL is currently working on an Aviation Corporate Governnace Model. Good corporate governance practice will enhance public confidence and encourage investments in the Nigerian Aviation Industry.
Please accept assurances of our highest regards.
Dr. Olisa Agbakoba SAN
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.