By Peace Busari
The House of Representatives during the week said the house will soon overhaul the aviation laws for lack of international best practices.
The Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila during a public hearing on six key aviation bills, said the house will undertake a total overhaul of aviation laws towards making the sector more viable and profitable.
He explained that the inability of 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), to meet up with the international best practices, caused the move for the overhauling.
Gbajabiamila added that there is absolute need to amend and bring them in conformity with the international best standards for effective performance and profitablity.
He maintained that the bills under review by the House, includes; 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), 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), and 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(NAMA) 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).
The rest are; 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), 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), 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 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 the 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 it is witnessed in other advanced economies”.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, in his address during the occasion said: “The journey to the proposal for amendments of the laws establishing agencies under the Nigeria civil Aviation commenced as a result of funding in the International Civil Aviation /ICAO) Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) in the year 2006 as well as finding in the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Category Certification Audit in the year 2010 that the establishment Acts of some of the aviation services providers contain regulatory powers.
“Whereas the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) should be the only and autonomous regulator of the Civil Aviation in Nigeria.
“Thus, Nigeria was requested and agreed to take corrective action to address the audit findings.
“Consequently, a committee involving the relevant stakeholders was constituted by me to review the establishment Acts of the six Aviation Agencies, not only to close the audit findings by removing regulatory powers from service provider agencies but also to bring the respective Acts up to date with development in International Civil Aviation, separate powers among the agencies, facilitate the upgrade of NCAT to Degree awarding institution, give NIMET the Leverage to commercialise some of its products, remove impediments Into smooth running of the functions of all the agencies and ensure seamless coexistence between the agencies, encourage the agencies to initiate avenue of generating revenue, etc.
“After series of meetings and deliberations by the Committee, the six (6) draft Bills were produced. The draft Bills were then cleared by the Federal Ministry of Justice and the Federal Executive Council before their Transmission to the National Assembly by Mr. President.
“We have earlier on appeared before the appropriate committee of this Honourable after the transmission of this Bill by His Excellency the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the National Assembly and submitted a written report detailing the reasons behind this request for the repeal and reenactment of these Acts.
“The time table of the Committee sitting today indicated that we are starting with Nigerian Metrological Agency (NIMET) and the College of Aviation Technology Zaria (NCAT). Let me use this occasion to briefly state the history of the emergence of these two agencies.
“In the course of carrying out the statutory functions of the agency, it was observed that there is need to reposition NIMET for the effective performance of its duties.
There is a need to enact an Act that will unequivocally give the Agency the sole authority to regulate, license, approve and authorize the standard of Meteorological activities and operation in Nigeria”.
For the NCAT, the Minister told the Committee, that the wish of the executive, is to “empower NCAT to be able to award diploma, Degree and other relevant aviation courses and training as it is done in other jurisdiction