Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Convert presidential fleet to passenger planes – Agbakoba April 27, 2015 : Eniola Akinkuotu

A former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, has urged the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, to immediately commence reforms in the aviation sector by converting the presidential fleet for public use.
Agbakoba, who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said this in a statement on Sunday. He listed eight areas Buhari must concentrate on in order to succeed.
He said, “The aviation sector requires major reform. Nigeria has no presence in the aviation business. Nigeria Airways has been long comatose. Foreign aircraft dominate the Nigerian airspace and earn well over a trillion naira to our exclusion.
“A trillion naira is about a quarter of our entire national budget. The way forward is to redeploy all aircraft in the presidential fleet to form the hub of a new national carrier. Business for this new national carrier is easy to generate. I have proposed a bill, the Fly Nigeria Bill, to ensure that every government naira used to purchase a ticket must originate and terminate on a Nigerian carrier.
“The Fly Nigeria Bill, when passed into law, will create an instant market for our national carrier.”
Agbakoba said Nigerians were looking up to Buhari just as Americans looked up to Franklin Roosevelt for succour during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
He maintained that Buhari must concentrate on the fight against corruption, housing, constitutional reform, welfare, financial services, economic reform, national re-orientation and legal reform.
He said, “I see strong parallels between the great economic depressions that occurred in American in the 1930s and the present challenges in Nigeria. I will suggest that close attention be given to how President Roosevelt dealt with the challenges of the great depression that came to be known as “The New Deal”. Nigeria needs its own New Deal in very many directions.”
Agbakoba said in the area of housing, for instance, securing a mortgage had become almost impossible for low-income earners.
He said, “There is a shortage of housing for low-income earners and constantly growing housing demands (due to increase in population) that are unmet. Unfortunately, banks are reluctant to provide mortgage facilities to low-income earners.
“In order to solve the housing/mortgage challenges described above, the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company was established to promote home ownership and increase the availability and affordability of mortgage loans to Nigerians.
“In spite of the incorporation of NMRC on June 24 2013, not much has changed.”

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