Nigeria’s national airliner, Nigeria Air, is expected to generate 70,000 jobs for Nigerians when it becomes operational, Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika said yesterday.
The minister spoke with State House Correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to Sirika, the national carrier will be run by a company in which the Nigerian government will hold a 5 per cent stake, Nigerian entrepreneurs holding 46 per cent, while the remaining 49 per cent will be reserved for yet to be assigned strategic equity partners, including foreign investors.
Sirika recalled that over 400,000 Nigerians participated in choosing the name, which was launched in 2018.
The Federal Government in London at the Farborough Air Show; a gathering for global players in the aviation industry, unveiled the name and logo of ‘Nigeria Air’.
The new carrier, according to Sirika, was expected to fly into 81 routes on domestic, regional and intercontinental routes.
Since then, the project has been paved with turbulence.
Torrents of commentaries have enveloped the global arena over the government decision to float a national carrier after it liquidated the Nigeria Airways Limited in 2004.
The new airline, many industry players have cautioned, must learn from the pitfalls of the former one, which, they said, lacked the right to remain in business.
The defunct Nigeria Airways Limited was operated as a social service.
Sirika said: “The next one also is approval of the outline business case for the establishment of the national carrier and this is the sixth time the memorandum appeared before Council. The sixth time, we got lucky to be passed by Council.
“The structure of the proposed airline; government will be owning not more than 5 per cent. So, 5 per cent is the maximum equity that government will take, and then 46 per cent will be owned by Nigerian entrepreneurs. So, if you add that, it’s 51 per cent. So, it’s 51 per cent majority shareholding by Nigerians and then 49 per cent will be held by strategic equity partner or partners that will be sourced during the procurement phase, which is the next phase.
“This airline, if started, and within the first few years will generate about 70,000 jobs. These 70,000 jobs are higher than the total number of civil servants that we have in the country. Its importance had been well discussed so, I’ll not go back to it. You had discussed it separately also on various fora as to the need for it.