Nigeria’s Government Should Make Doing Business Easy In 2022, Says Olowo
The President of Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI), Dr. Gabriel Olowo says the federal government of Nigeria should “stay clear of doing business ” but provide business friendly environment and ease of doing business in the year 2022”
Speaking in an interview to review Nigeria’s aviation industry in 2021, Olowo said the language of ease of doing business “is on the lips but experience shows the situation is growing worse home and abroad. Government agencies see business tasks as a disruption of their schedule rather than a fulfillment of it. How can one explain passport renewal taking forever for instance? Aside internal trade, businesses cannot thrive without inter-economy movement. This should however, not be taken in isolation,” he said.
Olowo, who is also President of Sabre West Africa said “Government should continue to address issues of insecurity and its adverse effect on Nigeria country risk assessment. The country risk speaks volume on economic index measurement. For instance, exchange rates, insurance premiums, pricing, inflation, etc.
Businesses hitherto under “exclusive clause” should be opened to investors. Anything short of this will continue to encourage illegal & sharp practices.
Government should prioritize spending on security and thereafter, on welfare of citizens. That is, spending on healthcare, infrastructure deficit on housing, roads and education.
Recurrent expenditure spending should be cut and made lower than capital expenditure which demands huge reduction in the size of governance.
Our media should make deliberate efforts to sell the destination Nigeria rather than highlight its challenges which is not uncommon in any economy.
Olowo said the aviation industry in 2021 started with fresh hopes as the devastating effect of Covid 19, which hit the world economy between February and March 2020 began to show gradual decline but that airports are beginning to open in phases.
“Thanks to medical researchers, discoveries and advancement in medicines for vaccines, protocols and other remedies. Aviation business was beginning to crawl between 10 and 30%, YOY in Q1 till mid Q2, 2021 . Q3 was growing steadily to almost 75% 2020, YOY when different variants of Covid 19 known as Delta and now, Omicron raised its ugly head. Discriminatory border closures, visa regimes and Covid protocols disrupted growth once again. It was another big disincentive to travel and travels began to nose dive once again. Sadly, Performance returned to Q1 levels especially this December Q4 and one only hopes the decline does not continue into 2022.”
“I will imagine nothing has been left undone as peoples world over do yearn to have their life back but for the so called global disaster called covid. Riots & Protests have been witnessed in economies where you least expect. Total Closure of airports and boarders is daily resisted as if people prefer to die rather than go hungry. There’s Covid fatigue everywhere. See football Premiership in Europe for instance and economics of full stadia every other day there’s a game.”
He further stated that covid has affected the development and investment in the country’s airports but that “one should positively look forward to 2022 with great hopes that Omnicron variant will not metamorphose into another variant or any other plague as such that will impact life so negatively like Covid 19.”
On government’s aspiration to have a national carrier by April 2022, Olow said “I am not worried about time of entry or exist of any carrier. My earnest desire is to see the emergence of strong, efficient, globally competitive Nigerian Flag Carriers. The weight thrown by Government on Air Peace/ Emirate commercial negotiations in UAE disagreement is a confirmation that Nigeria already endorsed that flag Carrier by throwing its weight behind them. That was a commendable Aero-politics indeed. It was so with Arik Air before its demise. I am trusting that the same steam will be deployed to sanitize all the routes which pose negative trade balance to Nigeria viz a viz BASAs till date. No thanks to corruption.
Government should go its full hug to all destinations served by all countries hitherto in preparation for additional one or two more Nigerian Flag Carriers. Forget the nomenclature; National or Flag carrier. The experience of operators at Nigeria Airways is history. To see Nigeria’s aviation industry flourish again remains my focus.”