By Emman Ovuakporie
ABUJA—For over two hours, yesterday, House of Representatives Committee on Debts, Aids and Loans Management grilled the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, over a $500 million loan proposed for the aviation industry.
The minister had told the committee that the proposed loan was to be sourced from China Export-Import Bank and will be used for the upgrade of four international airports located in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt.
Chairman of the Committee, Adeyinka Ajayi, said the parliament was interested in knowing if the loan complied with the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
Ajayi also demanded to know the amount of money attached to each of the airports and if the projects had been subjected to the appropriate Environmental Impact Assessment, EIA.
Oduah disclosed that the facility being sought was a concessional loan that would last for 25 years and had a 10-year moratorium and 2.5 percent interest rate.
According to Oduah, the loan had become imperative because of the need to construct new international airport terminals at the four airports.
The projects, she said, were to give the airports a facelift and bring them in line with international standards.
The minister explained that airports across the world were no longer places used merely for parking of airplanes, but a business hub with a cluster of business activities.
She said: “The aviation industry has grown in the last six years and the construction of new airport terminals will bring to fruition our vision of establishing an aerotropolis, where passengers could have access to quality goods and services within the airport.”