The Federal Government has concluded plans to concession or privatise four of the nation’s airports to guarantee efficiency and good management in view of government’s dwindling revenue for infrastructural development in the aviation industry.
The Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi made the disclosure today at a press briefing after inspection of facilities at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos.
This is coming gave December 2016 for the completion of the four major international airport terminal under construction for Lagos, Abuja, Port-Harcourt and Kano.
He stated that after completion, Lagos airport would help to generate 15 million passengers, while other airports after completion would equally generate 15 million, bringing total traffic to 30 million annually after completion.
“The new terminal in Lagos will generate additional 15 million passengers annually making a total of 30 million passengers yearly nationwide. The medium and long term plans will require significant investments to upgrade and expand infrastructures to meet current and future requirements.
“As a result of limited resources for capital projects development, government is exploring the possibility of private sector participation to towards the realization of the industries’ potentials”.
Amaechi stated that there is the urgent need to continue to improve on infrastructure, noting that out of the four conveyor belts, two have broken down while just two are functional for the Lagos.
He directed that the Although, Amaechi did not disclose the airports that would be concessioned or privatised, there are indications that the Lagos airport, the Nnamdi Azikiwe International, the Port-Harcourt International Airport and the Mallam Aminu Kano are the aerodromes slated for this exercise.
He reiterated that the exercise would lead in private participation in airports development to ensure good service delivery.
The Minister who was accompanied on the tour by Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Muhtar Usman, Managing Directors of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Saleh Dunoma, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Ibrahim Abdulsalam, Director-General of the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET), Dr. Anthony Anuforom among others stated that there would not be no sacred cows in the recovery of debts owed the various agencies.
Collectively, Nigerian carriers are said to owe NAMA, NCAA, NCAT NIMET over N4 billion over in Passenger Service Charge (PSC) and Ticket Sales Charge (TSC), prompting the NCAA to issue them two weeks ultimatum to pay up or be grounded. Not much is heard about the ultimatum as Usman admitted that the agency was still pleading with the airlines to pay.
The NCAA DG stated that there are historical debts, stressing that what the aviation was guarding against was to ensure the debts do not mount; a situation that has them to offer services to the carriers on a cash and carry basis.
The Minister unfolded agenda for both the aviation and maritime sector, saying that for aviation, President Muhammadu Buhari has called for the review of all waivers, adding that most of the waivers granted in the past were abused.
His words, “We must be careful on the issue of waivers. The President is reviewing all waivers. Waivers in the past were abused.”
On the planned national carrier, he explained that the ministerial committee on the national airline had submitted its report to the President, saying the government is studying carefully and will announce its decision in due course.
He added that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is in the process of developing a national transportation masterplan that will be implemented as a fulfilment of one of his campaign promises to diversify the national economy while improving non-oil sector revenues.
While reducing dependence on oil revenues, he added that it will also develop the rural economy, reduce unemployment and urban drift.