…Says It Has No Money To Boost Infrastructure
The Federal Government has said that concession of the nations airport remains the most valid consideration to boost the aviation sector.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, speaking at a webinar jointly hosted by the Ministry of Aviation, the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) and the National Policy on Public Private Partnership on the concession clarified that state governments would not be allowed to take part in the ongoing concession exercise in a bid to guarantee transparency.
The Minister said, “Government is not ready to put money into airport infrastructure. Let the concessionaire bring in his money and at the end of the day, the facilities return back to the government.
There are other competing needs for the scarce resource especially when we have health, education and others needs”.
“Our airport in Nigeria operates sub-optimally. Government has no money to pump into airport infrastructure. Our airports operate for few hours except for few. The population growth of Nigeria is rising. Murtala Muhammed International Airport was built for less than one million capacity but today, we are doing eight million while we have 19 million passenger traffic from all over the country. Nigeria is a good country for investment”.
Sirika, however, allayed fear of workers and other stakeholders over the model of concession to be applied and the apprehension that many workers of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria 9FAAN) would suffer job losses.
He has said the concession of the four international airports in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port-Harcourt would fetch the nation enormous investments.
The Minister disclosed that the concession of the Murtala Muhammed Airport terminals would bring investment of over N30 billion annually which would be boosted by the construction of a rail line to link both the domestic and international terminals.
He noted that the exclusion of state governments from the bidding exercise would amount to taking off the management of infrastructure and substituting another form of government’s management.
He however stated that states that had gone into building of airports can concession them like the case with Asaba airport which was early this year concessioned the facilities to a consortium of private investors under a Public-Private Participation (PPP) model.
He said, “The terminal building in Lagos is expected to bring investment of about N30 Billion annually because we are going to link the domestic terminal to the international airport. There would be an investment plan by the concessionaire before we hand over the terminals to the preferred bidders. It is part of the process.
He reiterated that the Nigerian airport concessions would be a terminal concession with majority of its revenue would be derived from non aeronautical sources.
The Minister that all other facilities at the airports and existing concessions outside the airport terminals will still be managed by FAAN.
Passenger service charge and security charge, he further stated, would be shared by FAAN and the concessionaire and FAAN’s share of the charges shall be paid directly to FAAN by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the clearing house of over 250 global airlines.
Sirika, said that four airports will be handed over to private operators who will run them for at least 20 to 30 years, the Ministry has said.