By Dipo Olowookere
A passionate appeal has been made to the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency, “private our airports” so as to make it very competitive like the British.
In a recorded video message of his ‘Common Sense’ series, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, a member of the Senate Committee on Aviation, said as long as government was in total “control and management” airports in the country, the nation’s aviation industry will continue to poor state as it is now.
Mr Murray-Bruce said Nigeria can make its aviation industry as viable as the oil and gas industry, the country’s main source of foreign exchange.
The lawmaker urged the Federal Government to take the same step the British government took some years ago under late Margaret Thatcher so as to revive the industry.
He pointed out that government has had control of the airports “for over 50 years and it has simply not worked,” emphasising that “it is madness to keep doing the same thing and expect a different result.”
Below is transcript of his speech:
“Friday, July 21, 2017, the United Kingdom set an all-time record of 8800 flights in just one day, i was the busiest day ever recorded in British aviation history. Altogether, those flights made over £20 million for the British economy in one single day, that is three times more than what Nigeria makes daily from oil.
“This year alone, the UK will record 2.5 million flights resulting in over £30 billion for the UK economy.
“I am a member of the Senate Committee on Aviation and I know that Nigeria is well situated to be an aviation hub for West and Central Africa.
“However, because of our reliance on easy oil money, we are not capitalising on this comparative advantage. Instead, we are losing flights to smaller African nations, mainly Ghana.
“Many airlines have divested from Nigeria and some of those that remain take-off from Nigeria and make stop overs in Ghana.
“As along as our airports are under government control and management, we will not be able to attract the right type of human and material resources to make our aviation industry competitive.
“We have had government control for over 50 years and it has simply not worked. It is madness to keep doing the same thing and expect a different result.
“I appeal to the government to quickly privatise our airports. That’s what the late Margaret Thatcher did when she was the British Prime Minister and today, the UK gains from that decision.”
Watch video here
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