Stakeholders emphasise importance of FG’s airports concession plan
STAKEHOLDERS across the sector have again emphasised the need for government to concession the country’s airport terminals in order to reduce financial burden on the Federal Government for airports infrastructure development management.
In a communique issued at the end of a webinar organised by the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI) with the theme’Nigerian Airports Concession: How Far, So Far?, stakeholders agreed that the concession of the airport terminals should not just be a departure from the status quo but with an objective to deliberately drive regional competitive hubs as well as mega carriers that will operate in those hubs.
Participants at the webinar enjoined the Ministry of Aviation to ensure that the terminal concession process was transparently conducted in compliance with the extant laws and due process to avoid post-agreement controversies and rancour as previously experienced. In addition, the government should, in its current concession plan consider the totality of all the 22 airport terminals.
The session advised the Federal Government to define and clarify what is to be concessioned within the airports and what informed the recruitment of a strategic communication consultant, who is expected to disseminate important information on the concession process for the benefit of all stakeholders.
According to the stakeholders “All existing legal, labour and other complications arising from previous experiments (Nigeria Airways (WT), NAHCO, etc) should be conclusively resolved. Therefore, there is need for government to allay the fears of the unions and employees of FAAN with regards to the planned concession. The process must be fair and transparent.”
The webinar attendees called for a quick resolve of the lingering controversies surrounding the various concession agreements between FAAN and some of its concessionaires including AIC Ltd, Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited, Maevis Ltd, Toll Plaza Operator and all other parties involved before moving on to sign new concession agreements in order not to discourage prospective investors.
It was also recommended that the concession be done with the objectives of protecting users’ interest through the provision of innovative and quality services by service providers as well as leveraging private sector funds amenable to modern technologies to provide improved infrastructure comparable to global standards.
The stakeholders further recommended that government should have minimal participation in airport’s terminal management and infrastructure development but should concern itself primarily with aeronautical services and regulatory interventions and oversight.
The gathering also emphasised the need for aviation authorities in Nigeria to understudy successful models of terminal commercialisation and operation in other climes to gain deeper understanding of airport concession and management to minimise controversies associated with such.
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