FG Will Not Sell Airports To Private Investors–Sirika
…We Are Concessioning Because Of Lack Of Funds
…Says State Govt.Cannot Be Part Ot The Process
…We Are Engaging Aviation Unions
…No FAAN Staff Will Be Laid Off
In a bid to carry stakeholders in the aviation industry along in the ongoing concession of four major airports, the Aviation Minister, Senator Hadi Sirika, has assured stakeholders and Nigerians that the Federal Government does not have the intention or plans to sell any of the airports positioned for concession to private investors .
He argued that these airports are public assets that should not be sold to private investors .
This is just as he also stated that no state government would be allowed to be part of the concession,but that any private sector or private individual that has the capacity can participate , as the Federal Government would not like to move the concession from one government to another.
The international to be concessioned Sirika said are :Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt, adding that one of the reasons for putting these terminals for concession is because the Federal Government does not have money to invest and maintain these airports
“Our airports are sub-optimal and they are not operated to the capacity that they can attain and Federal Government has no money to continue to invest in these airports. They are competing against other sectors such as healthcare, education, security, etc. That is why we want investors to come and invest so we can make more money and they would employ more people.
The Minister stated this while speaking at stakeholders virtual meeting organised by the Federal Ministry of Aviation to clarify issues and give update of the concession process .
Speaking further, Sirika contended that the four airports designated for concession are not well utilised to the fullest , adding the situation brought about the concession of the airports.
Sirika argued that the population growth has been on the increase and that as a result airports built over the years are overstretched and that to ensure that the airports meet the growing population, infrastructure must be provided .
According to him, “We had 60 million people when the Murtala Muhammed Airport,Lagos airport was built, so our infrastructure must meet up with that number. We had 8 million passengers before but now, we are doing 19 million passengers.”
The facilities the Federal Government wants to concession according to him are the in terminal building and cargo terminals..
On the allegation that concessioning the airport is an opportunity to lay off Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) workers, the Minister stated that workers would not be laid off.
He added that already the Federal Government has been engaging labour unions on the issue and that workers have the option of either joining the concession or returning to FAAN when concession starts.
The stakeholders virtual meeting which saw the participation of CEOs of aviation agencies, managing directors in and outside the industry attracted close to 250 participants.