From Suleiman Idris, Lagos.
The National Assembly has said it will initiate a local content regulation for Nigeria’s aviation industry to serve as an impetus for further development of manpower for the sector.
The Houses said when passed into law, the bill would make it mandatory for both domestic and foreign airlines operating in the country to engage a certain number of indigenous pilots and engineers in their employ.
Senate, David Mark, said the proposed bill is part of efforts to deepen local participation in the aviation sector where there is influx of expatriates as pilots, aircraft engineers and other aviation professionals.
He spoke in Lagos at the weekend during the unveiling of 127 pilots and aircraft maintenance engineers trained by the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, which oversees the Presidential Amnesty Programme for former agitators in the Niger Delta.
The pilots and aircraft engineers were trained at the Afrika Union Aviation Academy, Mafikeng, and Flight Training Services, Midrand, both in South Africa, Lufthansa Flight Training Network, Germany,
Fujairah Aviation Academy, United Arab Emirates, Jetstream Aviation Academy, Greece, and Royal Jordanian Air Academy, Amman, Jordan.
The Senate President, who was represented at the event by the Senate Deputy Leader, Abdul Ningi, said the National Assembly would continue to support the Presidential Amnesty Programme for the training of youths in the country in order to close the gaps in manpower needs in the aviation industry.
He said the proposed bill had become imperative as one of the ways of creating an avenue for Nigerian aviation professionals to get jobs in the aviation sector, which is currently dominated by expatriates.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, also said it will give speedy passage to the bill to be initiated by the Upper House to protect the interest of Nigeria and create jobs for indigenous professionals in the strategic aviation sector.
Tambuwal spoke through chairman of the House Committee on Niger Delta, Hon. Warman Ogoriba.
Also speaking at the event, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Aviation, Captain Shehu Usman Iyal, said the relevant agencies of government were collaborating to ensure that pilots and aircraft engineers type-rated after their training from the amnesty programme were absorbed in the aviation sector.