The Federal Government, on Thursday disclosed that the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja; Malam Aminu Kano Airport, Kano and Port Harcourt International Airport, Rivers state, will be concessioned by August.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, while speaking at an Airport Business Summit and Expo which held in Lagos, revealed that the concluding phase of the concession preparations would be done between this month and July.
The federal government, in 2016 had indicated interest in concessioning the Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano airports in a bid to increase their capacity and efficiency.
The New Diplomat understands that a concession is a form of public-private partnership (PPP) where a government-owned asset is being operated and maintained by a private investor for a period of time on terms contained in a contract.
Meanwhile, Sirika, in his address assured the concern workers of the four affected airports that the government has made provision in such a way that no worker would be laid off.
There have been concerns from the workers of the affected airports under the aegis of the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP), National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and the National Union of Pensioners (NUP), about their future when the airports fall into private hands.
Similarly, the aggrieved workers had criticised the federal government’s decision to concession airports that were beneficiaries of the $500 million loan deal between Nigeria and China in 2013. The unions have requested for details of the $500 million credit for the four terminals, especially the additional plans to concession them.
However, the aviation minister, at the Airport Business Summit and Expo, assured that the planned concession would not affect the repayment of the $500 million loan taken from the China Exim Bank for the airports’ terminals.
Sirika also retirated that there would be no job loss during concession, but an opportunity to engage more hands into the system.
According to him, the decision of the Federal Government was taken in the interest of Nigerians, saying that the concession will allow for the generation of more revenue.
Speaking futher, Sirika explained that the concession proposal will be advertised by July for bidders to show interest, after which qualified companies will be invited for profiling, adding that everything convening the process will close in August.
He added that evaluated companies would be asked to present a proposal for engagement, even as he assured labour of dialogue to ensure that every issue concerning concession was addressed, adding that no single worker will be laid off.