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Reps to convene public hearing on airports concession

The House of Representatives Committee on Aviation on Wednesday said it would convene a public hearing to discuss the proposed concession of some airport terminals by the Federal Government.

The committee’s Chairman, Mrs Nkieruka Onyejiocha, made the disclosure during the 18-man committee’s inspection visit to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

The Federal Government had indicated its interest to concession the Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt airports, toward increasing their capacity and efficiency.

Onyejiocha said the committee, during the hearing, would examine the pros and cons of concessioning the airports

She said:” I am one person who doesn’t believe that we should concession the four major airports that we have because I know it is those four airports that are funding the other 18 airports.

“And of course, you have to look at the issue of workers and the Nigerian people as a whole.

“If we concession them and people are going to make money and be okay, why can’t we do it?

“Having said that, I also know that we are going to conduct public hearing where we will take all the issues together.

‘’We will be able to ask Nigerians and of course, the key players in aviation industry, including the workers, and the press to tell us what they think.

“We will also look at the issues of the concession that have been done in the past. We have to evaluate it.

“How has it helped, how did we do it? Did we get any benefit from it? And if we have, then we see where we are going to do the same. If we have not; then why? What are we going to do differently?

“So I believe that very soon, by next week, Nigerian people are going to talk to us on the issue of concession. I don’t want it to be my personal opinion.

“We are going to listen to Nigerians, we are going to listen to stakeholders, we are going to listen to all aviators and we are going to listen to the ministry themselves.”

Onyejiocha also expressed dissatisfaction with the slow pace of work at the new international terminal being constructed by the China Civil Engineering Construction Company at the Lagos airport.

She said that given the current pace of work, the contractors might not be able to deliver the project in December.

“The engineers said they won’t be able to deliver by December, but I want them to know that they should understand that we took loan to build this.

‘’The Chinese government is not going to wait for us because agreements have been signed.

“So, the repayment period will start when it will start unless they go back to drawing board to renegotiate.

‘’You know we have three other terminals that we are hopeful will be delivered by December.

“What it simply means is that Lagos is lagging behind and we will take it seriously,’’ she said.

At the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), she urged the regulatory authority to take urgent steps to ensure more domestic carriers do not collapse.

She said that the recent challenges affecting domestic carriers had attracted their attention.

The chairman called on NCAA to step up efforts to ensure sustainability of the struggling carriers.



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