The newly sworn-in Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika has said that he looks forward to having an increase in the contribution of aviation industry to the tune of one per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country, in the first few years.
This is as the aviation unions made up of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP) and the National Association of Air Transport Pilots and Employees (NAAPE) put up a surprising welcome reception for the minister after taking an oath of office.
He said Nigeria Air was still on the road map and will contribute to the GDP of aviation in the country. “This industry has a lot for Nigerians and it connects people, nations and markets. One airplane that will come in means 300 jobs. More than that, it is a catalyst growth for the economy of our country and contributes to the GDP. From what we have done, we have raised the contribution to the GDP from 0.4 to 0.6. We believe that in the next year, it will increase the GDP contribution by at least one per cent. 200 million people, in the centre of Africa? Aviation for sure will add to the quality of lives in Nigeria.”
Responding to the gesture by the unions Sirika said, “I truly appreciate the aviation workers for coming out in numbers to receive me. I am not sure if it has not broken me to pieces. Indeed it did. I am being the macho man that I ought to be to hold back tears. This surprise by the grace of God will not be misplaced. We worked together as a family and I missed them. I never thought that I was coming back. I could not find a forum to say a big thank you to them. Now that we are back, we will still continue from where we started. If there is a need, we will tweak to make it better what we have done before in the interest of our country and our industry aviation.”
Sirika reiterated the collaboration of stakeholders in the country when he said “Nigerians should know that while we are here given the opportunity, we together with the stakeholders. The union and that staff. We drew a road map and we are following that road map. We will continue with the road map. If it needs adjustment, we will adjust it appropriately so that it will serve the industry better.”
The National Presidents of NAAPE, Comrade Abenego Galadima and President General of ANAP, Comrade Kabir Gusau on behalf of other unions expressed their satisfaction in having Sen. Sirika back as a substantive minister and appeal for continued collaboration with the unions in the industry for a better working relationship which will give room for the progress of the industry.