Focus on Downstream Aviation Sector, FG Urged

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Managing Director, Finchglow Group, Bernard Bankole

Chinedu Eze

The Managing Director, Finchglow Group, Bernard Bankole, has urged government to pay better attention to the downstream sector of aviation sector and implement policies that would provide the desired growth for the industry.

Bankole, spoke to newsmen recently, in his office, and also called for an independent Central Data System in aviation to ensure that activities in the sub-sector are properly captured to bring about good research and formulate good policies for the industry.

Bankole, who is the national president of the National Association of Travel Agents (NANTA), also said government needs to ensure proper regulation and proper structure restricting those who do not have business in the sector.

According to him, this is not chasing away Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) as major investors do not need to enter the downstream sector but can partner Nigerians.

“When you look at the downstream sector of aviation, travel agencies, ground handlers, catering companies, any government that doesn’t pay attention to the downstream sector is not prepared to grow the sector.

“If policies are not formulated to support the downstream sector, the desired growth will not be achieved.

“How do we pay attention to the downstream sector? By ensuring there is proper regulation and proper structure so that not every Tom, Dick and Harry can just go into the business until they understand where the sector is going.

“Downstream sector should be properly regulated, properly monitored and restricted properly you will find out that the desired growth will happen and the impact will be felt and things like capital flight will cease.
“Capital flight happens because the downstream sector is totally neglected”

On FDIs, Bankole said, “If there are no proper regulations, it means an Expedia with their financial muscle will come here, set up a push me out because he has the financial capacity and is supported from his country.
“FDIs can come in areas of capital intensive projects that can better the industry like Maintenance Repair and Overhauls (MROs), aircraft lease etc, it must not be the downstream sector.

On a central data system, Bankole said the problem was not lack of data but reliability of data being provided by the industry and called for an independent CDS whose sole purpose will be provision of data.

“When we talk about data, it is not lack of data, there is data but how reliable is that data. So let the Central Data System be managed by an independent system.

“I am proposing an autonomous CDS independent of other units so that it can mine and collate data with that there will be some level of effectiveness in data collation.”