Sirika Insists Nigeria Air Still On Course, Says US, France Are Interested
One would have thought that the Nigeria Air project was dead and buried. But it appears not necessarily so.
The Federal Government announced on Thursday that the governments of the United States of America and France are interested in the national carrier project.
It also dismissed claims that the process for the establishment of the national carrier was suspended due to the lack of investors.
Speaking at the 5th Aviation Stakeholders’ Forum in Abuja, the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, also explained that the planned national carrier was suspended because the first Transaction Adviser, Lufthansa, that was to spell out the ownership model in the privatisation and shareholding process, did not complete the process.
He said Lufthansa was replaced due to its outrageous demands which included opening an escrow account, refusal to pay tax and demand for 75% upfront payment.
The minister outlined ready investors in the national carrier to include the African Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, the governments of the United States and France, among others.
Sirika said: “There was fake news that we suspended the process because there was no investor. That is not true. Already IDB, AfDB, AFREXIM, US-EXIM, Standard Chartered Bank, Boeing, Airbus, COMAC/CCECC, BOAD, China-Exim, Qatar Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Deutche Infrastructure Finance, all of them, including the governments of France and US, have written us to say they are committed to this project, that they want to donate and partner.
“And you know why? It is because they want to export their markets. They want to sell their aircraft. And this is because we don’t have, and we can’t produce aircraft. So their (US and France) governments have the responsibility to promote their businesses and that is why they wrote to us that they want to partner. So we have investors.”
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