Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State on Friday said the state government would interface with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 with a view of having resumption of local flights between Lagos and Abuja.
According to the governor, this became necessary because of the increasing negative impact of the closure of airports on the economy of the state.
Sanwo-Olu also lamented that the aviation industry, as well as the entertainment, hospitality and transportation sectors, had been significantly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
It would be recalled that the Federal Government had shut down the nation’s airspace to both international and local flights in the wake of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
Sanwo-Olu stated this as a panellist at a webinar hosted by FSDH Merchant Bank on Friday.
The webinar, which was titled, ‘A global pandemic: local realities and peculiarities – a view from the frontlines’, had the Chairman, FSDH Holding Company, Mr Hakeem Belo-Osagie, and the bank’s Managing Director, Mrs Hamda Ambah as anchors.
The governor said: “In terms of direct economy, I know that the entertainment industry has been affected badly. I know the hospitality industry has been affected greatly, especially as people could not go out. It affected those sectors badly. Transportation business and the aviation sector have been affected significantly and these are large employers of labour. We all know that Nollywood employs many people, so we are thinking through how to reset these economies very quickly but in a very gradual manner.
“So, the aviation industry has been badly hit and just this (Friday) morning, I spoke with a major player in that industry and we are trying to get the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to see whether we are going to resume Lagos–Abuja flights before we get to other sectors. There has to be some gradual process in lifting the lockdown.
“We will continue to have engagements with all of the players down the value chain. At the right time when we see that the t’s have been crossed and the i’s have been dotted, we will do that and you can hold us to that.”