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*Nigeria: Hand Over Airports To Private Sector
.............concession is the way forward
By Nosa Osula-Aituamen
An aviation expert has again called for the concessioning of airports across the country for better management and profitability for the success of the transformation agenda of the present administration. At a news conference in Lagos, the aviation expert, Mr. Chris Aligbe said the mammoth funds needed to transform the nation’s airports which are in a deplorable condition cannot come from government but the private sector. According to him, the agency responsible for the management of the airports, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria was not financially stable to cater for all the 22 airports in the country.
He noted that the funds required to fixing these airports infrastructure rests with the private sector, adding that the government would make more money if the private sector operators are allowed to run them. Mr. Aligbe however advised that for a transparent concessioning, there must a legal and legislative framework to avoid a repeat of what currently operates in the industry today. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Sam Mbakwe Airport, Owerri, Imo State.
Mr. Aligbe urged the National Assembly committees on aviation to focus their oversight function on policy as this would help to address other issues as infrastructure, stressing that there was need for mental and perception re-order to achieve this. ‘’What is the sector policy in aviation? Up till today there is no sector specific reform for the aviation industry, there is none, while the reforms were going on, while everything were going over time, there is no sector specific reform and because there is no sector specific reform anybody whether he is appointed will try to do his or her best, try to put one thing or the other in place and that is why we don’t have a cohesive aviation industry where every place is properly linked, the airline, the airports, they are not properly linked in terms from the policy perspective so when you ask what do we do, do we need to sit down and look at it.’’
He explained further, ’’you know the time has come for us to put in place a sector specific policy for the aviation industry and it is not just the ministry because when we say this we think it is only the ministry no, where is the legislature, the major problem that we have today is that there is no document, there is no document on which all actions, all policies in the aviation industry will be based on, the only area specific to NCAA was a policy that is all encompassing, if there was such a policy that was all encompassing these states government will be looking at these policies and knowing that people will build an airport today as say international airport like in my state, they say Asaba international airport’’. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, Nigeria.
Asaba can never be an international airport but Asaba will be one of the most viable domestic airport if it is properly managed so as an investment as a domestic airport, it is an excellent investment, it is well thought out as a domestic airport by the time you start international airport, it will not be one and it is not going to successfully be one.
The policy that affects both airports airlines, handling companies all operators within the aviation industry, we need this policy, we don’t have one for now says Mr. Aligbe.
On concession, he said, ‘’We have over 22 to 25 airports in the country but take the ones been managed by FAAN at least 22 of them, it is not possible for FAAN as an organization to become financially stable in as much as it is left to mange 22 airports, it will never even if you fly an angle into that place to manage it there is no way it will work. You cannot do a central management of 22 airports from one point and having said that what we should do where do we go to’’ ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, Nigeria.
Mr. Aligbe therefore advised that all Nigerian airport starting with the seemingly most profitable of them, Murtala Muhammed Airport Lagos should be concession, all of them should be concession ‘’ all Nigerian airports, I say this because that is the way the mammoth fund required to bring our airports to what they should be cannot come from government, will never come from government and therefore we need to go get this money from where it is, luckily the minister is a business woman so she understands what we are talking about this business’’.
According to him, ‘’You use other peoples’ money to make money, government cannot afford this, government should call in the private sector, the question of national asset, who owns Gatwick airport, you are aware that a Nigerian is involved in those who bought up Gatwick airport in the UK, who owns Heathrow it is a Spanish company that owes BA, check worldwide airports are not really owed but what the government does efficient operation and the money that comes from the airports because government will make real money if the airports are functioning well’’.
Nosa Osula-Aituamen (Aviationreport)
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