Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
The Director General, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu, yesterday, in Abuja, said a no visa policy in all African countries would boost air transport in the continent.
Nuhu, said this at the 24th Yamoussoukro Decision (YD) Week under the theme, “African Wants to Fly.”
He said only five out of 54 African countries of Rwanda, Kenya, Seychelles, Benin, and the Gambia had implemented visa-free travel for all Africans. “This is anti-connectivity,” he added.
Nuhu, who represented the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development at the event, explained that the event, a four-day programme witnessed participants across the African continent.
According to him, “A couple of African countries have removed visa requirements for Africans. I enjoy other Africans to do that. That will certainly stimulate air transport in Africa. “This will lead to more direct flights, improved frequency, improve routs and make the movement of passengers and cargo easier with minimal transit points at competitive prices.
He also strongly advocated for a single regulatory agency and a single policy for Africa as being experienced in Europe for more seamless operations.
“Fifty-four different policies won’t work for SAATM, not even 50 years from now. Nigeria’s commitment to the full liberalisation of YD/SAATM.
“While Nigeria recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with AFCAC for tracking and monitoring the full implementation of YD/SAATM, she is also in the process of setting up a National Implementation Committee that would include various relevant stakeholders to enable further discussion that would facilitate the full implementation of YD/SAATM in Nigeria.”
Nuhu, maintained that this year’s Yamoussoukro Decision (YD) Week would afford States in identifying the status of implementation of the YD/SAATM while encouraging Member States and all partner to join hands in the implementation of SAATM.
“The YD Week will also encourage African Airlines to take full advantage of the benefits of SAATM and expand their operations across Africa.
“Air connectivity is an asset, which improves the global competitiveness of cities, States and regions.
“Increased air connectivity brings concrete value by making trips shorter with optimal user satisfaction at minimum prices.
“We know that YD/SAATM would enhance connectivity by removing barriers and restrictions on air travel between African countries,” he added.
Also speaking at the event, the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), Secretary General, Ms. Adefunke Adeyemi, said despite the believe in some quarters that the YD/SAATM implementation across the continent had not been standardised and had not yielded the expected results, there was significant progress being made especially with the introduction of the noble initiative of SAATM Pilot Implementation Project (PIP).