Why NLC will continue to oppose FG’s airport concession/privatisation plan

Trouble is brewing again between the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Federal Government over the unfinished business plan by the government to embark on the concession of the four most vibrant international airports across the country.

As good as the idea is, it was meant to be in view of success stories recorded in other countries where airports concession or privatisation had taken place, the country is not yet ripe for such ideology for so many reasons.

In the first instance, the concession or privatisation plan started on a shaky ground that lacked transparency and national interests.

Besides, other similar concessions and privatisation earlier carried out such as that of the Nigeria Airways ended up rubbishing the image of the country rather than improve the lot of the entity only turned the once vibrant national carrier to a dungeon crawler.

From experience, the idea of airport concession or privatisation in Nigeria has so many baggages hanging around it which may not make it work for now.

Top of the factors presently working against the planned airport concessioning or privatisation is total corruption and lack of patriotism, or how can one explains a situation whereby a government will cherry pick the only viable airports sustaining others for concessioning or privatisation?

Why can’t government start with the less viable airports or better still, why can’t government pair two less vibrant airports with solid one to help revive the low capital revenue generating ones.

In a normal clime, no government will push out its best four airports for concession without considering the future of the remaining 18 or 20.

By time you gave out the country’s best airports under the guise of sustainable development, how then will the half moribund ones survive?

These are some of the reasons why the labour unions are feeling agitated about the privatisation/concession saga as nobody is surely these four airports will not end up in the hands of some cronies of government at the expense of Nigerians who have equal rights to these national legacies.

From day one the idea of airport concession/privatisation was mooted, government has failed to carry out all the required due diligence as all plans have been shrouded in secrecy with no iota of transparency.

Under this condition, there is no way there will be no suspicion and aspersions being cast and trust unions, especially the ones in aviation, they are not pushovers and they are one of the best intelligent groups, who are ever ready to support their claims with facts and figures.

So for the NLC under the leadership of Comrades Ayuba Wabba and Emmanuel Ugboaja respectively to have come out once again to  insist that it would continue to oppose the plan to concession the airports, means something is fishy.

While describing  the move by the government to concession the Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt Airports to private business as unnecessary, the union insisted that neither concession nor privatisation of public assets were in favour of government or members of the public, as such moves would end up favouring individuals in the system.

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the NLC, however warned that experience showed that neither concession nor privatisation of public enterprises and assets have been to the advantage of the Nigerian people and workers.

With the way the government is going about the airport concession/privatisation policy, there is no way such plan can be realised without setting the unions on behalf of Nigerians against the government. Unless there is transparency and national interest, the plans as good it may look like is bound to fail like one of those shoddily packaged projects.


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