The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Aviation, Hajia Binta Bello, has said the federal government will complete and deliver five international airport terminals across the country, concurrently being remodeled and built to meet international standards at a total cost of $500 million (N100 billion).
The remodeling of the airports located in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano and Enugu, was conceived by the former Minister of Aviation, Ms. Stella Oduah, at the cost of $500 million, including a counterpart funding of $100 million (N20billion) from government on Built, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis.
Bello, who made this disclosure weekend in an interview in Abuja, averred that finance was not an impediment to the delivery of all the projects going on simultaneously in the five major states of the country.
According to her, “We don’t have any financial impediment that would slow down the work that is in progress. For instance there is no problem of finance with the finance of the five ongoing international terminals.
“The five international airport remodeling terminals are being financed by the Chinese EXIM bank loan and federal government’s counterpart funding of $100 million, which has been paid at the commencement of the projects. I therefore assured that the contractors will deliver the project by the first quarter of 2016.”
The timely completion of the five new brand terminals, Bello pointed out, became imperative in the present administration’s change mantra, adding that it would help to boost foreign direct investment and increase the nation’s gross domestic product.
Assuring all on completion timeline of nine months, Bello disclosed that the airport remodeling projects were almost half way completed. “The job is about 45 per cent complete, but the most important thing is that the contractors have all the other materials ready as are only awaiting shipment from China. Most of these things are already done as the super structure is already on the ground. And once the materials arrive, it will just be fixing of the materials,” she said.
However, the permanent secretary admitted that the envisaged delay at the 22 domestic airports regarding infrastructure upgrade was due to financial constraints.
She said hands were on deck to guarantee the collective interest of safety, security and efficiency at the domestic airports, adding that very soon installation of sophisticated security equipment apart from the ones already there will be completed.
According to her, agencies under the ministry had been mandated to assert their regulatory functions to inspire public confidence and stimulate growth in the sector.
She emphasised that steps were also being taken to ensure that all airport operations conform to established laws and regulations in line with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards.
Meanwhile, Bello expressed confidence that the committee on national carrier will come out with solutions for the establishment of a national flag carrier that Nigerians will be proud of.
President Muhammadu Buhari, she revealed, had given the ministry a marching order to commence work on the national carrier that should culminate in making the Nigeria Africa’s aviation hub.
She stated that the establishment of a national was not only justified by economic considerations, but also national interest, national pride and job creation potentials for the country.
The committee, she noted, had the mandate to consult widely with stakeholders on establishing a national carrier, including interested national partners on the basis of Public Private Partnership (PPP).