The federal government has announced the review of all the subsisting Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASAs) to be in consonance with the Yamoussoukro Decision (YD) while the process of domesticating the decision is currently at the advanced stage.
Speaking at the sensitisation workshop on the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) held in Lagos today, the minister of state for aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika said Nigeria being one of the pioneer member states signatories to YD as well as one of the 23 states that have so far made solemn commitment to the implementation of the single market by 2018 had constituted a national implementation committee to do the review.
Sirika, who was represented at the event by the managing director of the Nigerian Airspace management Agency (NAMA), Capt. Fola Akinkuotu said Nigeria should strive to commit to the full implementation and operationalisation of SAATM so as to become an effective global competitor in aviation.
“Nigeria recognized the need to provide for enhanced traffic growth that will be an offshoot of the full operationalization of SAATM. Currently some of the international airports are being expanded with the addition of new terminals, the government has also approved the concession of the major international airports in its efforts to reposition them for better service delivery,” said Sirika.
The minister reiterated the importance of working together towards achieving the African Union (AU) agenda 2063 in the area of air transportation integration, full implementation of SAATM, which he maintained “will boost inter-Africa trade, tourism, infrastructural developments and other socio-economic benefits for our sub-region.”
In his welcome address, the director general of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Muhtar Usman said sensitization workshop could not have been more apt given the fact that Africa is now focusing on the development of the African Union Agenda 2063 and the Solemn Commitment of the AU member states with respect to the establishment of a SAATM in Africa through the full implementation of the YD.
“It behoves Nigeria being among the 23 signatories to the solemn commitment to adhere to the stipulated concrete measures instructing the signatories to open their respective air transport markets immediately to each other and without conditions in compliance with the Declaration of the assembly of heads of state and government on the establishment of SAATM,” he said.
It would be recalled that at the 24th ordinary session of the AU in January 2015 held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the heads of state and government adopted a declaration to establish a SAATM through the full implementation of the YD AU agenda 2063.
The SAATM had 11 member states, which immediately after the decision of the heads of states, declared their solemn commitment to establish the SAATM by 2017.
Through the advocacy activities of the African Union Commission (AUC) and African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), the member countries that have signed the solemn commitment have risen to 23.