Minister expresses concern over funding of $962m new airport terminals

⦁ As President Buhari approves $51.8m, N91.8bn for remedial work on 4 terminal buildings, National carrier

Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika on Tuesday expressed concern over the ongoing construction of new terminals funded by China Exim Bank to the tune of $500 million.

Senator Sirika who expressed the view during the 2019/2020 budget defence held at the instance of House Committee on Aviation chaired by Hon. Nnolim Nnaji assured the lawmakers of his readiness to relocate his office to Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu state for which the sum of N10 billion was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to him: “Mr President has approved a total sum of  $461,795,551.02 variation required for the project.

“Other approvals by President Buhari include $51.8 million as counterpart funding for remedial/additional works and completion of four Chinese terminals at Kano, Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt ($51,800,266.99)(N15,850,881,698.94).”

He further disclosed that Mr President also approved total sums of N91.8 billion Viability Gap Funding for the establishment of National Carrier and N10 billion for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Enugu Airport Runway.

He affirmed that: “There are challenges with the new terminals being built with the $500 million loan from the China Exim Bank. These challenges include: changes in structural design of the airports, foundation footing and escalators; provisions for the biggest modern aircrafts; change in departure and arrival floors to rhyme with the railway station; provision of adequate power supply to ensure all facilities are put to use; relocation of the Control Tower and the Fire Service Station and some other issues such as sewer and water supply.

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“The above has resulted in the need for variation and additional works to the tune of $461,795,551.02 which has been approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

“The China Exim Bank has indicated willingness to consider funding the above additional works and we have written to the Ministry of Budget and National Planning to provide for the sum of $73,887,288.16 (N22,535,622,888.00 @N305/$) as counterpart fund in 2019 outside the ministry’s proposed FGN Budget.

“The President has graciously approved 50% of this sum and in 3 months we are expecting the balance of the remaining 50% of the money. For the 2020 Budget Proposal, we have also approached the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to provide the following: Counterpart funding for remedial/additional works and completion of four Chinese terminals at Kano, Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt ($51,800,266.99)(N15,850,881,698.94) has been approved by Mr President.”

According to the Minister,  more Bilateral/Multilateral Air Services Agreement would be signed in 2020 for the benefits of air travellers.

“We have developed a road map for the Aviation Sector that will be implemented through the Public-Private Partnership (PPP). These are: the establishment of National Carrier; establishment of Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO)facility; development of Agro-Allied Cargo Infrastructure; establishment of Aviation Leasing Company; Search and Rescue System; and establishment of Aerospace University with the support of International Civil Aviation Organisation (lCAO) has been approved by Mr President.

“We have a policy of enforcement of expatriate quota in the Industry with the full cooperation of the Ministry of Interior and immigration service.”

He also assured the lawmakers of his resolve to relocate to Enugu state to ensure timely completion of Akanu Ibiam International Airport before April 2020.

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