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Fuel price hike: Sirika meets airline operators, says FG working to proffer ‘permanent solution’

Fuel price hike: Sirika meets airline operators, says FG working to proffer ‘permanent solution’
July 27
10:10 2022

Hadi Sirika, minister of aviation, says the federal government is planning to end the hike in aviation fuel price

The minister said this during an emergency meeting with the Airline Operators Association of Nigeria (AON) in Abuja on Tuesday.

Sirika said some of the solutions include revamping of refineries and coming on stream of the Dangote refinery.

Last week, airline operators announced that there would be major disruptions of flights due to a hike in aviation fuel prices.

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But the minister said the variables impacting the crises in the aviation sector were beyond the industry’s control, and as such, “there is no immediate solution”.

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

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

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Sirika reiterated that the federal government had in the past sourced 10,000 metric tonnes of aviation fuel for the airlines, adding that the government was willing to do more.

“As we speak, the government is in the process of finding a permanent solution to this issue, and some of the solutions 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 the supply of the product, thus he submitted that it cannot be soon,” he said.

“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 filled, I wouldn’t know when imports would become sufficient. But the government is working towards all these to happen.”

He also promised to meet with relevant stakeholders, including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), so that the airlines could access dollars at the official market rate rather than the black market rate.

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In his remarks, Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina, president, AON, said the aviation fuel hike began from N180 per litre, and the price is currently about N1000 per litre.

He also said the forex crisis was a huge burden on the industry.

Allen Onyema, vice-president, AON, said the association was satisfied with the government’s intervention in the industry.

“It is not easy to give a timeline to issues like this because the challenge is global. Even American airlines are threatened too. It’s not only Nigeria. Which is why we are pleading with the government. But we are pleased so far,” he said.

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