A closer look at the contemporary Nigeria shows that her future lies less with heavy manufacturing industries and more with servicing industries. Although, there are certain manufacturing industries in which we still do very well, but the broad trend is that as compared with our rivals, we increasingly lack the competitive advantages required for a massive capacity to invest.
The general tendency is reinforced by our lack of indigenous natural resources apart from our old coal, cocoa and new oil and gas. On the other side, the servicing industries offer a much more service that does not demand mass production but still, we have skills that can be inherited or acquired and need to draw inspiration from education and sophisticated reputation.
Servicing industries are an integral part or area of any economy in which acquired reputation and tradition of service are assuming a higher dimension. Government statistics underline the increasing dependence of the country’s balance of payment on the so-called invisible exports. Banking and insurance, brokerage and commercial services loom larger and larger.
The other great field for services is the transport industries while the Nigeria shipping is still a major factor in our economy, although menaced by flags of inconsistence civil aviation and its associated tourist industry is a major factor in the Nigeria economy. Tourism to this country is one of the largest earners of foreign exchange and in this day and age, it is a means of carriage by air.
The Nigeria Civil Aviation industry earns a reasonable percentage of the nation’s income which is only one element in its contribution. Without the aviation industry, a greater loss would be suffered in our tourist trade. Air cargo plays increasing part in Nigeria’s economic effort, but it’s treated as an activity in which we are not well fitted to participate. Attention seems to be more focused on the seaports and sea cargoes.
Aviation is an activity involving professional skills and high technology and it is a thing the country is good at despite some occasional incidents. Our flight deck crews know their job and our cabin crews have a way of doing their business to satisfy their passengers. Service in the cabins of Nigeria airlines, be they publicly or privately owned, is very impressive.
Civil Aviation in Nigeria is good for the country’s struggling economy and every effort should be made to expand and develop it profitably. Something needs to be done to induce profitable growth in the Nigeria Civil Aviation because profitable growth is the main objective of the business. This is achievable only as a result of the combined efforts of the government, regulatory bodies, airline managements, air crews, operators of the business and ground crews as well as the public at large.
Although, aviation business is risk-bearing, a number of people are comfortable travelling by air. While it is absolutely splendid, and a very agreeable way of life, it is enormous and the economic efficiency requires high priority. In a highly populated country such as Nigeria, it is of no use kidding ourselves that we can only survive with oil and gas that may disappear in the future. The shipping industry no longer strive or boom as in the past, so we must begin now to accept and work our economy and productive activities to suit the present time when aviation has become a balance between amenity and efficiency.
Profitable airline operation depends very much on maximum utilisation of facilities at the airports. This is why it is pertinent to make available all the necessary equipment and ensuring proper maintenance of aircraft. Our local and international airports should be equipped to meet world standards. Owners of aircraft should be given the desired support and encouragement to allow for economic growth.
In the case of Nigeria Aviation where the great majority of operations go overseas, there is a greater need to apply well-meaning attempts marginally to improve existing amenities to avoid repercussive effects. Those with the responsibility in this sector of our economy must have considerations very much in mind and act with prudent caution in respect of any circumstances they may find themselves. The social and personal effects of aircraft noise must not be underrated at any moment.
In aviation, profitable operation involves careful consideration of the way in which fares are determined and capacity decided upon. Capacity is very crucial in the aviation business, especially in the ordering of aircraft, which causes fares to be high or low. If capacity is right, no one has any motive to take fares lower than the market level. It is important for airlines as responsible business to determine both capacity they offer and the price they charge. Fares fixed higher than economic forces would be susceptible to variants of cheating and an airline that wants to charge lower fare than has been fixed is free to do so.
Nigerians and other air travellers want to see certain expansion and development in the aviation sector and it should be in line with the philosophy of seeking to avoid unforceable circumstances for which the ordinary public or passengers would suffer. The policy of all airlines must be customer/consumer oriented and moderate in its fare demands.
Airlines must in general be free to purchase the equipment which in their judgment is what the need to operate their particular routes. Nigeria’s aviation industry can be improved to become an important contributor to economic growth both in the country and the outside world. Inclusion of aviation in National Development Plan (NDP) will guide the government’s economic strategy in achieving the 20-2020 vision.
A well structured development plan should be made to provide an appropriate framework for economic and instituted reforms to diversify the economy and enhance external competitiveness, thereby help to contain inflation and to achieve long-run fiscal sustainability. Placing more emphasis on the aviation sector and providing the right infrastructure at our airports would encourage human capacity development, raise employment potential of the nation, reduce poverty and help prepare for the tailing-off of oil production in the future.
In the present circumstances, aviation is essential to the prosperity of the country and Nigeria airlines should be free to buy the aircraft they want on their technical merits. Aviation in this country has a very great future and in the latter years, it will be placing more significant part than it is today in maintaining this nation’s economy, so government and other stakeholders should be involved more seriously in the running of our airports and its agencies.