The Nigerian government will no longer enter into any Bilateral Air Services Agreement with any country unless it is mutually beneficial to both parties. This is against the backdrop of such agreements in the past from which Nigeria has not reaped the desired benefits.
Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika made this known when he received the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ethiopia to Nigeria,Samia Zekaria Gutu in his office.
According to the Minister, the success story of Ethiopian Airlines remains an inspiration to Nigeria as it strives to re-establish its national carrier, saying that it has proved sceptics wrong about the possibility of a public venture being effectively, efficiently and profitably managed.
He disclosed that out of over thirty (30) airlines that fly into and out of Nigeria, only the Ethiopian Airlines has the privilege of operating in more than one terminal and therefore charged the Airlines to do more on route development.
Sirika who expressed his readiness to receive his Ethiopian counterpart on a proposed visit to Nigeria in due course, described Ethiopia as a nation with a rich historical, religious and cultural background which has impacted positively on its socio-economic life, especially in the development of its aviation industry.
On the request for the reduction of the Value Added Tax paid by the Ethiopian Airlines in Nigeria, Senator Sirika said only the Federal Ministry of Finance, through the Federal Inland Revenue Service had the mandate to handle such issues. He therefore advised the Airline to take the issue to the appropriate quarters.
Earlier, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Samia Zekaria Gutuwho was accompanied by the Traffic and Sales Manager of the Ethiopian Airlines,Mrs Firiehiwot Mekonnen had expressed the gratitude and appreciation of her home government for the cordial relationship has existed between the two countries over time, and especially the latitude its national airline has been enjoying in its operation in Nigeria.
According to her, it was in appreciation of these that the Ethiopian Minister in charge of Aviation has requested to visit Nigeria in due course to explore more avenues for an improved bilateral air services.