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Nigeria’s new national carrier to begin operations April 2022

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The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved April 2022 as the official date for the commencement of the operations by the country’s new national carrier, Nigeria Air.

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, disclosed this to State House correspondents at the end of the FEC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, and his Finance, Budget, and National Planning counterpart, Zainab Ahmed, were also at the briefing.

Sirika said the majority shares of 49 percent of Nigeria Air would be owned by strategic equity partners, 46 percent by Nigerians while the Federal Government would own five percent of the shares.

The minister revealed that the council also approved N1.49 billion for the provision of Automated Civil Aviation Regulatory Equipment to be located at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

He said: “Today in Council, Ministry of Aviation presented two memoranda. The first one is approval for the award of contract for the provision of Automated Civil Aviation Regulatory Equipment, including the software support and training, which will be located at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

“In summary, this is the software that will allow all of the activities of civil aviation regulations to be done electronically on one platform, including payments, follow-ups on personnel licenses, medicals, economic regulation of airlines, safety regulations of airlines and all other businesses within the envelope of civil aviation, will be monitored by this single software. So, that has been approved.

“This one also is the approval of the Outline Business Case for the establishment of the National Carrier. This is the sixth time the memorandum appeared before the council and the sixth time got lucky to be passed by the council.

“The structure of the proposed airline – Federal Government would be owing not more than five percent. So, five percent is the maximum equity that government would take.

READ ALSO: Nigeria to sign more Bilateral Air Services Agreements in 2021 —Sirika

“Then, 46 percent would be owned by Nigerian entrepreneurs. So, if you add that is 51 percent. So, 51 percent majority shareholding will be owned by Nigerians.

“And then, 49 percent will be held by strategic equity partners or partners will be sourced during the procurement phase, which is the next phase.’’

The minister revealed that Nigeria Air would generate over 70,000 jobs when it becomes operational.

Ahmed said she presented the third quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report for 2021 to the council for information and discussion.

The report was released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) last Thursday.

She said: “The result showed an improvement from the contraction that we witnessed in 2020. Recall that we had negative growth in Q2 and Q3, 2020.

“We entered into a recession technically and then exited recession by the fourth quarter of 2020.

“So, this report showed that we now have four consistent quarters of growth from Q4 2020 to Q3, 2021.

“The GDP third-quarter report showed a growth of 4.03 percent in the third quarter 2021, compared to a contraction of minus 3.62 percent in the third quarter of last year.”

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