The House of Representatives will continue to support total reforms in the aviation industry, a key contributor to the growth of the country’s economy, through legislation, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila has said.
The Speaker, who gave the position of the House at the opening of a three-day public hearing session on six aviation-sector bills by the House Committee on Aviation on Tuesday in Abuja, said the draft legislation would make the sector more effective and efficient.
The bills are as follows:
a) A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (Establishment Etc.) Act, 2003 and to enact the Nigerian Meteorological Agency Act to Provide for the Regulation of Meteorology and Related Matters (HB.464);
b) A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology Act, CAP. N96 LFN, 2010 and to enact the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology Bill to Provide for its Organisation, Control and Operation and for Related Matters (HB.463);
c) A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency Act, CAP N90 LFN, 2010 and to enact the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency Act for the purposes of Providing Effective Air Navigation Services in Nigeria, Ensuring Safety and Regularity of Air Navigation Services and for Related Matters (HB.462);
d) A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Civil Aviation Act, 2006 and to enact the Civil Aviation Act, for the Regulation of Civil Aviation in Nigeria and for Related Matters (HB.460);
e) A Bill for an Act to Provide for the Establishment of the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau for the Regulation, Prevention and Providing Effective Administration for Safety Investigation in Nigeria and for Related Matters (HB.465);
f) A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria Act, CAP F5, LFN, 2010 and to enact the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria Act to Provide for the Effective Management of Airports in Nigeria and Related Matters (HB.461).
Gbajabiamila explained that the bills would help to deliver effective and efficient Civil Aviation Acts for the country and bring aviation operations in tandem with global best practices.
He further told the session that the bills came out of the commitment and promise of the 9th House of Representatives to pursue critical reforms in all sectors of the economy.
He said: “It is not out of question that the establishment laws for the service-provider Aviation agencies like Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Nigerian Meteorological Agency, (NIMET) the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) and the regulatory body: Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), are far from meeting up with the international best practices hence the need to amend and bring them in conformity with the international best standards.”
On how aviation impacted positively on the economy, Gbajabiamila said: “It is imperative to note that the development of our aviation industry is an added advantage to the growth of our economy.
“It is in this vein that the House of Representatives will continue to support total rehabilitation and upgrading of our airports and allied services.
“The consideration of these Bills during this Public Hearing is a testament to our commitment to give new life to the aviation sector and make our airports to be a better non-oil revenue-generating sector as is witnessed in other advanced economies.”
The speaker commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his willingness to collaborate with the National Assembly in developing the aviation sector for good and gave the assurance that the House would ever be ready to provide the necessary legislation and needed oversight to achieve this purpose.
Gbajabiamila seized the opportunity to appeal to the public and interested parties to honour invitations to House committee public hearings so that they can share ideas on how to make critical sectors deliver optimally.
Citing an example with Tuesday’s public hearing, the speaker observed that many private sector stakeholders were absent, noting that some stakeholders would later come to complain after such bills had been passed by the legislature.
He said: “Five of the bills here are to repeal existing bills and re-enact new ones.
“That is why I asked: where are the stakeholders?
“These bills are at the core of the aviation industry.”
However, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, who interceded for some of the stakeholders, informed the House that they attended the hearing on some of the bills at the Senate two weeks ago.
Sirika said he was surprised too that they didn’t show up at the House two weeks after, but promised that he would contact them and make a submission to the speaker.
He also disclosed that it was likely that the stakeholders would attend on the days slated for bills dealing directly with their operations.
Earlier, the Chairman of the committee, Rep. Nnolim Nnaji, in a welcome remark, thanked the Speaker for his continued interest in the aviation industry.
Nnaji said: “Let me appreciate and Speaker for his great support and passion in the development of the Aviation Industry.”
He also thanked the stakeholders who honoured the invitation, urging them to make useful contributions to the public hearing.