Former President of Nigeria’s Aircraft Pilots and Engineers and Chief Executive Officer of 7 Stars Global Hanger and 7 Stars Global Airline, Comrade Isaac Balami has reacted to the current scarcity of aviation fuel.
Balami, in an interview with Legit.ng also suggested measures to be put in place in order to avert any likely incursion and security breach in the aviation sector. Recall that Nigeria’s aviation sector is currently being faced with a major fuel crisis as the cost of aircraft fuel has gone unimaginably high.
Jet A1 fuel that was earlier sold for N190 per litre is now sold for N714 per litre. This development has resulted in a strong protest from airline owners and operators who had threatened to shut down the sector in the early part of 2022. Never miss important updates! In a letter to the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, by its President, Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina, the airline operators had threatened to shut down the sector over the fuel situation. It took the intervention of the National Assembly before airlines in the sector continued their operations.
But the current situation in the sector has continued to take a toll on Nigerians as they now bear the brunt by paying high fare charges. Most Nigerians are currently faced with the difficult situation of being unable to travel on land due to the current wave of insecurity and also being unable to fly due to the astronomical rise in aviation fares.
Expert blames aviation fuel crisis on high dollar rate
But Balami exclusively told Legit.ng that the aviation sector is facing a fuel crisis because of the high rate of dollars to the Naira. According to the former President of the Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, the problem persisted because Nigeria does not refine jet A1 but imports the same. He said: “We are only talking about aviation fuel, but the problem is not in the aviation sector alone. If you want to look at the problem objectively, you have to look at the high rate of dollars to the Naira.
“The exchange rate is the major problem because Nigeria does not produce fuel but imports with dollars. Nigeria has crude oil but cannot produce it locally. As an import-dependent nation, this is what we go through.”
Expert speaks on solutions
Proffering a solution, Balami said the nation must look inwards in order to solve the problem. He said encouraging local capacity will go a long way in not only reducing the price of the product but will also create employment in the oil sector.