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Govt Eyes 4 Airports For Concessioning

Minister for Aviation, Hadia Sirika.
Minister for Aviation, Hadia Sirika.

BEVERLY HILLS, June 04, (THEWILL) – The Federal Government has proposed a 20 to 30-year concession tenure for four major airports.

The plan would enable private investors to own, operate and recoup investments made on Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano airports.

The Federal Government, however, gave a condition that the operation might be extended depending on performance and “Nigeria’s best interest” subject to negotiation and approval by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

The FEC, in 2016, approved the concession of the four major airports in a move to have them run efficiently and profitably.

Though the proposal has since been stalled, The Guardian learnt that the process had been revamped and has reached an advanced stage.

Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, who gave an update on the project, said the Federal Government was starting with the most strategic asset “because successful delivery of the programme would give stakeholders the confidence to consider other possibilities in the sector.”

The Minister, in response to questions on the project released by Director of Media, Ministry of Aviation, Dr. James Odaudu, said the concession applies to the non-aeronautic assets of the airports located in the passenger and cargo terminals.

He said there was no plan to sell the airports. “There shall be no change in the ownership structure of the airports involved in this programme. What has been mandated by the Federal Executive Council is a concession programme.

“The decision of the government to settle for concession rather than outright selling of the assets is because of tremendous national importance from an economic and security perspective. We believe it remains in Nigeria’s best interest to maintain ownership for this reason.”

He denied conflict of interest between the planned concession and the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) over five new terminals built from the $500 million loan deal between Nigeria and China.

Sirika explained: “There is no conflict. CCECC was contracted to deliver a number of infrastructure projects throughout Nigeria in 2013. The Passenger Terminal Development works are a small part of this, and the Federal Government has every intention to service its obligation.

“We now have the Outline Business Case (OBC) Certificates of Compliance from the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission. We are currently finalising the documents required for the procurement phase, after which we will commence the next stage of the process, i.e. publishing a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) – a critical phase of the public procurement process. The RFQ will give interested parties, local and international, ample time to prepare their submissions. Once the deadline for submission has been crossed, we will then begin the pre-qualification process. Only Pre-qualified parties will be invited to respond to a Request for Proposal (RFP), which will also be published as per ICRC guidelines and general best practice in Public Procurement.

“There are not many companies with the qualifications, experience and financial resources required to run assets like the ones up for concession so while we do expect Nigerian companies, or consortium comprised of groups of Nigerian investors, we expect the process to receive significant attention from the international community, perhaps in partnership with qualified and capable local companies and investors.”