By LAWANI MIKAIRU
A lot of concern has been raised about the current debt profile of the Federal Ministry of Aviation . The Senate Committee on Aviation first blew the whistle that the ministry has incurred so far about N174 billion in the current remodeling of the airports across the country.
The Supervising Minister for Aviation, Dr Samuel Ortom recently undertook a tour of some of the projects this money has been expended on.
The minister said “ I have to do this inspection to have first hand information about the projects. Before now I set up a committee that is visiting the projects and will soon come up with a comprehensive report on all the projects going on currently. You are aware of the master plan to revitalize the aviation industry. This further confirms why we have a commitment of N174 billion! Some of the commitments are on projects that have not even started.”
The minister does not seem to be worried about this debt profile of the ministry as he believes that the massive reconstruction work going on in the airports should be a source of joy to millions of Nigerian air travelers. While at Lagos Airport on inspection tour, he said “There is massive work going on at the international wing of the Murtala Muhammad, Airport Lagos. This is just one out of the 22 airports that are being remodeled. As we speak, work is going on in other airports. Some have been completed. Yes, some of the projects have been suspended due to paucity of funds.”
He has assured all Nigerians that all the current on going projects will be completed as “ you will agree that the 2014 Budget has been delayed but it has been signed into law by Mr. President and once the funds are released to us, we will make it available to contractors to resume work. We will make sure we complete all the projects that are ongoing. Though we have funding challenges, through internally generated revenue, we can achieve a lot. We will strive to generate more revenue and plough it back into the system. “
The fact that there are external investors interested and ready to finance some of the ongoing projects should gladden the hearts of Nigerians. As the minister said “ I am impressed with the level of work done thus far. As you are aware, we are
constructing the same terminal in Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano and Enugu.
They are being financed with the $500 million China EXIM Bank loan and the $1
million federal government counterpart funding”