Sirika Fails To Initiate Establishment Of MRO Despite Inclusion On Six Point Agenda

* Pix source : Brink News

…Government Not Serious About Creating Maintenance Hangar–Animashaun

… MRO To Remain Elusive As Long As FG Is Regulating , Operating –Ojikutu

 

 

As Nigerian airlines continues to carry out major maintenance such as C and D Checks overseas, spending billions of Dollars, the Aviation Minister, Senator Hadi Sirika has failed to initiate the establishment of a Maintain, Repair and Overhaul(MRO) in the country despite making MRO one of its six points agenda.

The non establishment of of MRO investigation has shown cost Nigerian airlines close to N23 billion to N25 billion yearly on aircraft maintenance

Recalled that when Sirika became Aviation Minister six years ago, he listed his six points agenda to include
1, Concession of four airports
2. Establishment of a national carrier
3. Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul(MRO) facility
4. Aircraft Leasing company
5. Establishment of Aviation Development Bank
He said that the bank will offer Nigerian aviation entrepreneurs long term, low interest loans in single digits to help finance their airline businesses and will boost the growth of the industry and help create stability.
6. Establishment of aerospace university

For Nigerian airlines to carry out comprehensive C-check on an aircraft, the cost ranges between $1 million and $2 million about N470 million to N940 million, depending on the scope of work that will be done on the aircraft.

Abelnews gathered that like other five points in his agenda, the MRO , which makes the sixth from all indications may not be fulfilled , in view of the fact that after six years the Ministry of Aviation under Sirika’s leadership does not have anything on ground to show for it despite t the promise to establish one,
Also, feelers reaching Abelnews revealed that the Aviation Minister may end up not achieve the establishment of MRO in the country, considering his alleged interest in the governorship of Kano State, which stakeholders claimed he has started preparing in earnest.
To ensure aviation safety, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has imposed a calendar limit for a C- Check at every 18 months.
The implication of the non establishment is that till date airlines such as : Air Peace, Dana Air, Arik Air, Overland Airways, Max Air , the new entrant; United Nigeria Airlines and the embattled Azman Air will continue to do their heavy maintenance abroad, thereby encouraging capital flight.

In view of the huge capital flight involved when Nigerian airlines do their C and D Checks abroad, stakeholders in the aviation industry are of the opinion that MRO as a matter of urgency and necessity be set up MROs in the country to stem the ugly trend and prevent a situation where Nigerian airlines have to reduce their frequencies either because their airplanes could not go for C or D Checks abroad or their airplanes could not fly back after maintenance have been carried out on them abroad due to the COVID -19 pandemic.

Speaking on having indigenous MRO for airlines in the country, Head of Engineering, Ibom Air, Lookman Animashaun said that the country is not having MRO because from the look of things the country lacks the seriousness to create one.

According to him, “Nigeria doesn’t have an MRO now because we are not serious about having it. Most of the things they are doing is politics and they are telling people what they want to hear at a particular time. Honestly, I must tell you that we are playing to the gallery. If truly we are serious as a nation, we should have gotten MRO now. We should have built on what we had in Nigeria Airways then, rather than liquidating it don’t let us talk about the liquidation of Nigeria Airways anymore. That has passed.”

Animashaun contended that without the establishment of MRO , Nigeria will continue to experience huge capital flight to other countries with established MRO.

“But, I must tell you that without sustainable MRO in the country, the industry will continue to experience capital flight and what we are experiencing now, which is the moment the aircraft is due for heavy maintenance, it will be taken out, there is no foreign exchange to carry out the maintenance, the aircraft will remain there and the next we are going to hear about the aircraft is that it can’t be sent to Nigeria. That is one of the reasons we are having low capacity in the industry as at today.

He called on the Federal Government and any individual to build MRO facilities now, adding that the builder will not regret building the facility as it would work throughout the year considering the fact that Nigeria’s weather has been so nice to airlines compared to Europe without good weather.

On  capital flight,Animashaun said, “Let’s do the calculation. The minimum you can do a C-check now for any airline is $1 million; there are some C-checks that can even go as high as $2 million, depending on the way and manner the aircraft is maintained. Let’s keep to the minimum of $1 million.

“Let’s say on the average, each airline has three aircraft, the number of aircraft scheduled airlines we have, multiple it by $1m. by the time you do that, you will realise that we are losing about $300m as capital flight annually. If you have an MRO in Nigeria, that will remain in the country.

“Without a sustainable MRO and the government looking at it, we will continue to be in a quagmire as we are having right away, ” he said.

On his part, the Chief Executive Officer, Centurion Security, Grp. Capt. John Ojikutu(rtd) pointed out that the issue of having MRO in Nigeria has been in the pipeline as far back as 1980s and that it would continue to be there as long as the Federal Government is in charge.

“Building aircraft maintenance depot has been on the government programmes as far back as the 80s, but for the instabilities of governments and its policies, the project remains in the tunnel and never to see the day lights as long as it remains with the government administrators,” he said.

He argued that what is trending in the commercial aviation sector globally today is Public Private Partnership(PP), adding that the Federal Government cannot regulate and still be sole operator aircraft and maintenance at any level.

In his words, “The delay in getting an MRO set up in the country can only be either there is no clear understanding among those responsible for policy administration in government or between them and those in the private partnership.

He pointed out that the Federal Government cannot be thinking of concession of a part of commercial aviation and still want to keep another;.

Speaking further, he said that the government cannot be a regulator of the industry and still be sole operator, stressing that it is either it excised itself from the ventures or be minority shareholder of not more than 20 per cent , foreign technical and financial investors 30 per cent, credible Nigerian investors 30 per cent and the balance of the 20 per cent for the Nigerian public.

According to hi Ojikutu, “The cost of aircraft offshore maintenance is and has always been exorbitant. It ranged between $500,000 to $2 million depending on the required level of maintenance.

“If you imagine about 50 aircraft in a year for whatever level and at average of $500,000 to $1 million for an aircraft, you might be looking at total average of $25 million to $50 million . The question to ask; do these airlines and aircraft operators make such earnings annually in returns to the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) or we still must find money for them from the public reserve? That is the dilemma of our country in distress and now bleeding, ” he said.

Also , speaking , the Board Chairman WestLink Airlines,  said that Nigeria should have her own MRO as it would enable Nigerian airlines to do their checks here in Nigeria and also pay in Naira instead having to fly the abroad where operators  pay the maintenance cost in Dollars.

He argued that if Nigeria does things the way it should be done , training of personnel would be done in Nigeria instead of training overseas.

” If we intensify our things properly, we can even have our trainings reduced to Nigeria as we have all the airplanes simulators here, ” Mshelia said.

The Director of Press and Publicity, Ministry of Aviation,Dr. James Odaudu could not be reached for the Ministry’s official reaction.

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////School Of Nursing,Midwifery: Obaseki Promises Timely Completion

…Says Over 600 Nurses, Midwives Will Be Trained Yearly

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has said the government plans to train over 600 nurses and midwives with the reopening of the state-owned school of Nursing and Midwifery in Benin City.

Obaseki who spoke to journalists at the weekend after inspecting the ongoing remodeling and refurbishment work at state school, said re-accreditation for the institution is ongoing as it will be officially opened to students in September.

The governor reassured that his administration is committed to the training of world-class health practitioners and building of infrastructure to deliver quality healthcare services to Edo people.

He maintained that the state School of Nursing and Midwifery, when fully in session, has the capacity of accommodating 600 students yearly.

According to him, “Every health care system is based on qualified manpower; you can’t think of a health care system without thinking about how to train and prepare people to deliver quality healthcare.

“A key category of staff you need in any health facility is nurses and Midwives. After the doctor has completed a surgery, somebody needs to take care of the patients. And the quality of nursing care is very critical in any health care system.”

He added: “For us as a government, we are determined in building a school that the standards are above the national accreditation standards; an institution that the admission process is one that brings in the best so that we can train world-class nurses.

“We want nurses trained at this facility to be able to practice here or anywhere in the world; that is the kind of school that we are building.”

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