An expert in the aviation has attributed unpopular policies by the government, excessive aeronautical and regulatory charges and poor understanding of the global business climate as part of the reasons why investment in aircraft repair facilities and other projects are diverted to neighbouring African countries.
Chief Executive Officer,Tropical Artic Logistics Limited (TAL), an integrated logistic outfit, Femi Adeniji, who this known in an interview, said unless the Federal Government and its agencies reversed the negative trend Nigeria would lose more investment into the sector.
He said the country recently lost a $2.5 billion investment for the setting up an aircraft maintenance repair and overhaul organisation (MRO) to Ghana on account of the unfriendly business climate.
The facility, according to Adeniji, would have been sited in Nigeria but the unfriendly system operated in the country forced the investors from the United States to divert it to Ghana.
He said Nigeria has lost many investment proposals in the aviation sector on account of the harsh hurdles set by the Ministry of Aviation, the airport and regulatory authorities.
He attributed the lack of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to the country to corruption in the system stressing that the existing aviation policies and attitude of aviation authorities towards organisations and individuals that indicate interest in FDI has not been encouraging.
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Adeniji cited instances of such discouraging incidents from people trying to invest in building airports and are shut down through charges on investments from companies outside.
He said the National Assembly committees on aviation have a huge role to play in addressing these gaps by ensuring a review of relevant legislation that will attract and drive offshore investment into the sector.
He said the committees should look beyond their oversight responsibilities by putting in place enabling legislation that will attract more private sector funds to the sector .
Adeniji said: “The system is completely corrupt. I would give you an example, I have two friends who wanted to invest, Americans who want to invest in this country, build their own private airport accessible to the state, the answer I got from Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria and Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority is that one of them should go and bring N35 million.
“In the United States all those things are waived if you are spending your money but in this country it is a different story. I have a very strong relationship with Boeing Aerospace. They are now in Ghana and I am talking of four months ago. They were trying to come in here and they said sorry, we cannot contribute when we are trying to create employment they are making life difficult for us.
“The United States just gave Ghana $2.5 billion to do a feasibility study to set up an MRO that is supposed to be in Nigeria there in Ghana.”
Adeniji decried that there are currently 15 Nigerians managing MROs and related businesses in the United States, but are not disposed to investing in Nigeria because of discouraging policies and feedback they get. By Kelvin Osa-Okumbor, The Nation