The Federal Government has assured aviation stakeholders that it would ensure transparency in the planned concession of airports and creation of a new national carrier for the country.
This assurance was given by the Minister of State for Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika. He made it known at the Second Aviation Stakeholders’ Forum in Lagos.
The government had indicated interest to concession airports in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, and Port Harcourt. The aim, according to the government, is to increase their capacity and efficiency.
Sirika disclosed that transaction advisers, who will coordinate the projects, would be announced within the next two weeks.
Not outright sale
He reaffirmed that concession was not tantamount to privatisation or outright sale, explaining that the facilities involved in the exercise remained the property of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
“Public-Private-Partnership and concession in 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.
Take advantage of population
The minister also noted that Nigeria’s huge population has the capacity to become an aviation hub with 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.
To protect jobs
He added that the government is committed to protecting the jobs of Nigerians in the aviation sector. He further said 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 for sure, we will ensure that it happens soonest,’’ Sirika added.
He also disclosed that the government intended to strengthen security at the airport and that approval had been given to the ministry to properly train and arm aviation security personnel.