Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has stated that the current crisis facing the aviation industry may linger for some time because some of the issues cannot be checked immediately.

Reacting to the crisis at a meeting with officials of the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) in Abuja yesterday, Sirika, stated that the government was aware of the challenges, but noted that there was no immediate solution to the concerns currently.

He said, “Energy crises is real and it is global. Today there is aviation fuel problem all over the world. From America to New Zealand. It is aggravating in Nigeria because we don’t produce the product.

“It is aggravated also because the foreign exchange is scarce in Nigeria and the source of earning the foreign exchange has also has dwindled”.

“As we speak, the government is in the process of finding a permanent  solution to this issue,” Sirika stated.

Outlining some of the the solutions, the minister said it would include, “importation of the product at the appropriate price, accelerating the refurbishment of our refineries and also wait for the coming on stream of Dangote Refinery to boost supply of the product.”

He, however, noted that this would not happen soon.

“So when you ask how soon, I wouldn’t know when Dangote will come on stream, I wouldn’t know how soon the refineries will be fixed. I wouldn’t know when imports would become sufficient. But the government is working towards all these to happen,” Sirika stated.

The President, AON, Abdulmunaf Sarina, said the aviation fuel crises began from N180/litre, but had now jumped to N1000/litre, adding that accessing forex crises was a huge burden on the Industry.

“The rate at which the dollar is escalating now is very alarming. Everyday, a difference between of N10 to N15 Naira is added at the parallel market. Last week Monday, it was N610 but today it is N670 to one dollar,” he said.

Also, Vice President of AON, Allen Onyema, said the airlines were satisfied with the government intervention in the industry, but admitted the solution to the crisis was not in the short term.

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