The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, says the scarcity of jet A1 and its high cost will persist in the nation until the Dangote and Port Harcourt refineries begin operation.
According to him, the issues surrounding aviation fuel will only be resolved sustainably after these refineries come online. He disclosed this while addressing State House correspondents on Tuesday.
He said, “The scarcity and high cost of Jet A1 in civil aviation, is not peculiar to Nigeria. It is a global phenomenon driven by many factors. Some of them include even low capacity to refine the product.
“It is also in high demand around the world, it has increased activity and increased the number of aeroplanes out there and users of this jet A1. Plus, also the Ukraine crisis and many more.
“It is a time when crude itself is so expensive today, it is in the hundreds of dollars per barrel and only the high cost of Jet A1 product in Nigeria. Also, the peculiarity of the fact that we’re not refining the product, so to speak.
“And I did address the press a couple of days ago, saying that, by the grace of God, perhaps once the Dangote refinery is online or if the government fixes the Port Harcourt refinery, which is now ongoing, we will begin to refine this product and sell it.”
According to him, local airlines under the aegis of the Airline Operators of Nigeria have agreed to nominate a member or another major oil marketer to be allowed to import the product to manage the situation.
Sirika added, “Then also get the necessary foreign exchange for that purpose. And that will increase more supply and perhaps drive down the cost. We hope that this is a temporary thing, and hope that Jet A1 will be very available everywhere and at a very good price.”
Meanwhile, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), said more investments would be deployed to the provision of infrastructure and facilities for safe, secure, environmentally friendly, and sustainable civil aviation.
He said this when he received the Secretary-General of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, Mr Juan Salazar, at the State House, Abuja on Tuesday.
A statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, quoted Buhari as saying that Nigeria would support the ideals and aspirations of ICAO and achievement of its strategic objectives, in collaboration with the other Member States of the Organisation.
In the statement titled, ‘President Buhari assures ICAO that Nigeria will sustain investments in aviation safety, security,’ Buhari stated that the Nigerian Government had established independent agencies in order to enhance aviation safety and security and is open to working with other member states to enhance global collaboration.
He said, “These include the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority for safety and economic oversight of the industry; the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency for air traffic services; the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria for management of Government-owned airports; the Nigerian Meteorological Agency for meteorological services; and the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, the nation’s main aviation training organization, established in 1964 in collaboration with ICAO and the United Nations Development Programme.
“Nigeria is fully committed to working with other States and supporting the implementation of the Global Aviation Safety Plan, the Global Air Navigation Plan, as well as the Global Aviation Security Plan.
“Nigeria became a member of ICAO Council in 1962, and since then, it has continued to make valuable contributions to the Council’s work and its activities. It is pertinent to also mention that Nigeria has been playing a key role in supporting the implementation of ICAO Policies and Programmes internationally, and particularly in the African region.”