President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday in Port Harcourt, River State, said
the Federal Government’s removal of Value Added Tax (VAT) from domestic
air travels will reduce air fares, enable speedy movement of more people
and spur business activities that will stimulate the economy.
Speaking at the commissioning of the new terminal of Port Harcourt
International Airport Omagwa, President Buhari said the decision by the
Federal Government to remove VAT from domestic air transportation was in
line with global best practices of making air transportation affordable,
which will subsequently lead to the creation of more jobs by the air
transport service value chain.
He said the removal of VAT will also increase revenue for the government
with more traffic at the airports.
The President noted that the increase in national population with
consequent surge in air passenger traffic necessitated upgrading and
construction of new airports across the country.
“I am very pleased to formally commission the new International Terminal
of the Port Harcourt airport, Omagwa, today. This ceremony represents a
significant landmark for international air travellers, particularly from
the South-South region and the entire country.
“You will recall that after opening the major airport terminals in the
country in the late 70s and early 80s, not much was added to increase the
passenger handling capacity of these facilities by successive
“Following the large increase in national population with consequent surge
in air passenger traffic, the capacity of the airport terminals became
woefully inadequate to cater for the increase in passenger traffic,’’ he
The President said decisive actions had to be taken by the Federal
Government to ensure that terminals meet minimum international standards
for the travelling public.
“The Federal Government responded to a global trend in which aviation
became a catalyst for economic growth as a result of massive and speedy
movement of persons, goods and services in a safe and secure manner.
“As part of the infrastructure renewal program, the construction of four
new international terminals at Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt and Kano
airports was embarked upon by the Federal Government with a view to
modernising the aging airport infrastructure to meet global aviation
standards and improved service delivery in tandem with best international
practices,’’ he said.
President Buhari said at the presentation of the 2017 Budget to the
National Assembly he promised to upgrade and develop Nigeria’s transport,
power and health infrastructure, and complete a number of stalled
infrastructure projects, which includes major airports, roads and power
projects, and the completion of the Kaduna–Abuja as well as Itakpe to
Warri Railway lines.
The President said Nigeria, having an advantageous central location within
the sub-region with a desire to develop into a regional air transportation
hub, must upgrade its facilities to take advantage of its assets.
In his remarks, Rivers State Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike said the state
was safe for visitors and investments, commending the Federal Government
for its intervention in ensuring a better airport for the people, which
will attract more investments.
Wike also said the state government will revamp the road leading to the
international terminal for ease of access for the public.
In his remarks, the Minister of State, Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, said
the Federal government injected $461 million into the airport projects to
The new terminal of Port Harcourt International Airport Omagwa completely
alters the poor rating by Sleep in Airports in 2017, which listed the
airport as the third worst in the world.