…As Stakeholders State Positions
The National Assembly today began a Three-Day stakeholders and General Public Hearing on the six Civil Aviation Amendment Bills, in line with what is obtained in other aviation climes
The aviation agencies whose Executive bills are to be looked into are the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) , Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) and the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT)
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the three-day public hearing in Abuja today, the Senate President Senator Ahmad Lawan, explained that the challenges with the Executive bills cannot guarantee enough safety and enhance security in the Nigerian aviation industry, hence the need to address them
The Senate President represented by the Deputy Senate Leader Senator, Robert Boroface stated that the Nigerian aviation industry just like other aviation industry was worst affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.
He advised aviation agencies to be creative and proffer ways of addressing issues in the event of natural disasters or pandemic.
The Chairman Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Smart Adeyemi, said that the public hearing is very important to encourage the quality and content of the bills, ensure economic growth, improved job creation, provision of Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facilities and safety of the industry.
Adeyemi further explained that it is only when the existing Civil Aviation Acts, are reviewed that the Federal Government can implement the master plan for the sector and that not reviewing it would further take the country’s aviation industry backward
The Aviation Minister, Senator Hadi Sirika during his presentation stated that the idea to amend the existing Acts in the industry followed the findings of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) during the 2006 universal audit programme, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) findings in 2010, when Nigeria achieved Category 1 that said that civil aviation operation in Nigeria must be in accordance with global aviation practices
On his part, the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Capt. Musa Nuhu, in his presentation said that the NCAA is the only regulatory body in the country but that surprisingly some of the service provider aviation agencies, such as the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria Act, 1995 and the Nigerian Airspace Management Act, 1999, equally gave these two agencies powers to regulate.
This, he noted is contrary to the Standard Recommended Practices(SARPS) of ICAO, which states that that only NCAA of every ICAO Member State to act as the only autonomous regulator of civil aviation in the member state. sTOP
He also reiterated the Aviation Ministers submission that the findings of FAA Category 1 Certification Audit of Nigeria aviation conducted in 2010 and ICAO audit in 2006 brought about the need to amend the t Acts and strip FAAN and NAMA the powers to regulate the industrt.
He ex[lained that it was based on the above findings that Aviation Ministry in 2013
He added: Consequently, in 2013 constituted a committee to review the Acts establishing all the agencies, adding that the essence was not to close the audit findings but also to update the respective laws, including the Civil Aviation Act 2006 and bring them to conform with new and amended ICAO SARPs.
According to him, “ICAO issues SARPs for the regulation of the aviation industry. Nigeria, as an ICAO Member State, is obliged to comply with the standards while recommended practices are desirable. Since the enactment of the Civil Aviation Act in 2006, ICAO has issued and amended a number of SARPs, such as the new Annex 19 (Safety Management), and there is the need to review Nigeria’s primary aviation legislation (the Civil Aviation Act) to incorporate these developments.”
Some of the stakeholders who were present at today’s inaugural hearing includes : Aviation Round Table(ART), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria(ATSSSAN), National Union of Air Transport Employees(NUATE), Air Operators of Nigeria(AON), National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers(NAAPE),National Association of Air Traffic Controllers(NATCA) among others.