NLC resists FG’s airport concession plans

THE Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has again vowed to vehemently oppose plans by the Federal Government to concession the country’s most viable international airports.

In a letter written to President Muhammadu Buhari dated October 8, 2020, and signed by the union’s president, Ayuba Wabba, the NLC disagreed with the aviation minister, Senator Hadi Sirika on his reasons for pushing ahead with the concession without “reconsideration of the facts”.

The letter titled, ‘the Nigeria Labour Congress rejects the plan to concession Nigeria’s major airports’, appealed to the government to consider other viable options of managing airports and attracting new capital for expansion and development rather than outright concession.

The NLC emphasized ideas like Green Field Concession and corporatisation or full autonomy of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) instead of the planned concession, which it said would end up adding no value to the airports but would rather ensure that private pockets are filled.

The letter partly read: “First, is the Green Field Concession where investors are invited to make fresh investments in clearly delineated areas of deficit in our airports’ infrastructure, including terminal expansion, runway expansion and upgrading of critical aviation equipment and facilities. Such investments should be recouped from the additional revenue from the patronage and services accruing from the use of the upgraded facilities.

“Another alternative is to corporatise FAAN. Here, the government should retain 45 per cent equity share while the remaining 55 per cent is broken down for public acquisition. This is the model adopted in such climes as South Africa in a similar situation as we are. This would help build investor confidence while assuaging the concerns of labour.”

“Another way to optimise infrastructure layout, service delivery, revenue generation and served markets is to ensure the complete autonomy of FAAN as is the case in Ethiopia. This should be void of political meddlesomeness which has been the bane of the efficient performance of Nigeria’s aviation sector.”

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