Aviation in Nigeria Needs $50bn to Grow

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CEO of RTC Advisory, Opeyemi Agbaje.

Aviation industry expert and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of RTC Advisory, Opeyemi Agbaje, said to actualize Nigeria’s desire to become a hub in West and Central Africa and for the aviation industry to grow in tandem with what is obtainable in other parts of the world, the industry needs an injection of $50 billion over a period 30 years.

He gave this projection in a presentation at the Colloquium 2017, Vision 2050 for Aviation Industry held in Lagos on Tuesday.

Agbaje said the Nigerian aviation industry attracted $4 billion foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2016, noting that in 2010, the sector attracted $6 billion, $7.1billion in 2012; $5.6 billion in 2013; $4.6 billion 2014 and $8 billion in 2015.

Delivering a paper titled: ‘Vision 2050: How to fast track Nigeria’s Aviation,’ Agbaje remarked that by attracting these huge funds during the said periods indicated that the country did not encourage private participation. He stressed that the industry needs about $50 billion to grow into a competitive industry and utilise the huge market provided by the country’s growing population.

But for this goal to be realized, the country needs a stable macroeconomic environment and should be forward-looking in its activities.

 “It requires a stable macroeconomic environment; forward-looking and proactive policy; a clear and compelling vision for the industry shared by all stakeholders including government and the private sector; and regulation that seeks to foster industry transformation,” he said.

Agbaje advised the Nigerian government that it could not solely provide all the infrastructural gaps in the country’s aviation industry, insisting that the answer to Nigeria’s aviation industry was FDI.

Nigerian transport industry would require at least $800 billion in the next 37 years to address the infrastructural gaps in the system while the Nigerian aviation industry would require $50bn within the period.

Agbaje said the Nigerian economy in 1999 was $57 billion while it grew to $110 billion by 2013, but noted that by 2016 the growth declined.

According to him, all forms of transportation contributed 2.88 percent to the Nigerian economy in 1999, but nosedived to just 1.4 percent of the nation’s economy. Within the period, the Nigerian economy had grown ten folds while Agbaje noted further that there have been shifts in the structure of the Nigerian economy over the years sector. He however insisted that for the country to be rated among the best, it should improve on the infrastructural deficits in the system.

However, Agbaje observed that Nigeria had become a more diversified economy especially in the domestic production, but the federal government was yet to diversify from dependence on crude oil.

He added that, “The entire transport system is not keeping pace with the Nigerian economy. From 1999 to 2016 the total gross domestic product (GDP) was $1.6bn in 1999 and was $6.1bn by 2016. Our government still relies on crude oil, but the private investors have diversified from the oil economy. The entire contribution of the transport sector to the GDP in Nigeria is 1.4 percent, but this has been on the decline in recent time”.

“Out of this figure, the contribution of aviation to the entire transport sector is merely 5.7 percent while road transport gulped 86.78 percent, water transport is 1.4 percent and rail is 0.03 percent. The evidence of government’s incapacity is so glaring, yet, the government thinks it can solve every problem in the country,” he said.