Minister: FG can’t continue funding of airports
The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has said the Federal Government can no longer sustain the funding of the 22 airports across the country thus they will be concessioned.
The minister said the concession would start with the big four airports Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt as government revenue dwindles.
The minister stated this yesterday shortly after he inspected some failed portions on the 34 years old and largely expired Abuja airport runway.
The Abuja runway was built in 1982 with a life span of 20 years. Fourteen years after the life span of the airport ended, there haven’t been any major repairs on the runway, the minister noted, adding that the situation was disturbing.
The minister however noted that, some failed portions of the runway have been fixed and can now take larger aircraft for the short term but a long term measure would be a more comprehensive repairs and the building of the second Abuja runway.
Senator Sirika disclosed that the president has approved the finances for the complete fixing of the runway and bids have been invited from local contractors amongst who are CCECC, Julius Berger among others.
On the airport concessioning, he said transaction advisor would soon be appointed and the advisor would develop the terms and conditions of the concession. He however noted that, the concession would be based on public private partnership (PPP) basis so Nigerian would still own the property.
“We have already been to Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), they have posted a staff to us and they are also partnering with us to see that we have a very smooth activity,”he said.
On the scarcity of aviation fuel (JET A1), he said the ministry was discussing with the Ministry of Petroleum and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to address the issue.
The Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr Ibe Kachikwu, who was a part of the minister’s entourage said the supply of Jet A1 was not within the purview of NNPC adding that discussion was on with marketers of the product to ensure the immediate availability of the product to ease the problem created by the scarcity.
Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika with his team of inspectors at a ruptured portion on the runway of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja yesterday. Pics: Chris Agabi.