ICAO demands modalities for Nigeria’s airports concession
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has requested for the business outline, the feasibility and transaction advisers for the proposed concession of some of the country’s airports.
A source told New Telegraph that a team from the apex aviation regulatory body was in the country two weeks ago to appraise the country’s preparation for the concession of Lagos, Abuja, Port-Harcourt and Kano airports.
At the meeting was immediate past Acting Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Emma Anyansi and other top officials of the agencies.
It was learnt that the team harped on transparency in the concessioning of the aerodromes by ensuring that they are dully advertised so that they do not replace public sector monopoly with private sector monopoly.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has assured that it would ensure transparency in the planned concession of airports and creation of a new national carrier for the country.
Government had indicated readiness to concession the four airports in order to increase their capacity and efficiency. Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, recently disclosed that transaction advisers that would be saddled with coordinating both projects would be announced by government within the next two weeks.
He reaffirmed that concession was not tantamount to privatisation or outright sale, explaining that the facilities involved in the exercise remained the property of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
“Public-private-partnership and concessioning the airports have never been done in a structured and transparent manner.
“The contracts are not properly prepared, no risk analysis and no financial models. Consequently, it is not surprising that they ended in litigation. “I want to assure stakeholders that we will be transparent and the concession is in the best interest of the country,” he said
According to Sirika, Nigeria with a population of 180 million people has the capacity to become an aviation hub with the implementation of right policies and investment on airports infrastructure and navigational aids.
“Nigeria is growing and the facility is not adequate so the airports must be improved upon.
“The Federal Ministry of Transport remains committed to making air transportation the preferred and safest means of transportation, creating a self-sustaining business model and driving socio-economic growth in Nigeria,” he said.
He added that government was committed to protecting the jobs of Nigerians in the aviation sector, adding that the era of airlines giving preferences to expatriates would soon be over.
“We will ensure that Nigerians are given priority in getting jobs in the aviation sector.
We will give adequate time for the airlines to prepare themselves, but we will ensure that it happen soonest.”
Many stakeholders who are desirous to know the details of the proposed transaction have been meeting at different fora to assist government in its new line of thinking.
This is all in a bid to see that the airports are managed as profitable enterprises rather than social service providers that they currently appear to be under the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
Many, who were worried by the state of all the FAAN managed airports across the country said the only guaranty for continued survival of the weather-beaten airports is concession.