Buhari: Why we removed VAT on air travel

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Port Harcourt, Rivers state,
said the federal government’s removal of Value Added Tax (VAT) from
domestic air travels would reduce air fares, enable speedy movement of
more people and spur business activities that will stimulate the

Speaking at the commissioning of the new terminal of Port Harcourt
International Airport, Omagwa, Buhari said the decision 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 would also increase revenue for the
government with more traffic at the airports.

The President said 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 said.

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

“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.

The President 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, Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike of Rivers state 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.

He said the state government would revamp the road leading to the
international terminal for ease of access for the public.

Also speaking, the Minister of State for Aviation, Mr. Hadi Sirika,
said the federal government injected $461 million into the airport
projects to enable construction.

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.

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