….Says National Carrier still much alive
By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—THE Federal Government yesterday told the Senate that an additional $461.8 million (N141.31 billion) was required for new terminals across the country.
Minister of State, Aviation, Hadi Sirika, who disclosed this when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Aviation for the ministry’s budget defence, explained that the amount, needed in addition to the 500 million dollars loan already gotten from China Exim Bank for the purpose, would help tackle some challenges encountered in the process of building the terminals.
The Minister also told the Senate that the National Carrier project by the Federal government was still alive, noting that deliberation on the project would soon commence and the government would intimate Nigerians on the stage of the proposal.
Sirika said: “The challenges have resulted in the need for variation and additional works to the tune of $461,795, 551.02, which has been approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).”
The Minister who noted that the China Exim Bank had indicated willingness to consider funding additional works, informed that the ministry had written to the Ministry of Budget and National Planning to provide 73.9 million dollars as counterpart fund in 2019 outside the ministry’s proposed national budget, just as he said that the airports being worked upon were already wearing new looks befitting of modern airports.
According to him, two of the new terminals, in Port Harcourt and Abuja had been commissioned, while Lagos and Kano would be completed shortly, even as he said that adequate provision had been made to complete the new terminal buildings at Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu.
The Minister, who solicited the support of the National Assembly and other stakeholders to ensure that all needed equipment necessary for safety and security were provided to meet the Standard and Recommended Practices, SARPs, as outlined by regulatory aviation bodies, however assured that more bilateral and multilateral air service agreements would be signed for the benefits of travelers.
On the 2019 proposal, Sirika who told the lawmakers that N47.5 billion was proposed for Capital Expenditure at the headquarter, said the amount would be used to sustain infrastructural renewal at the airports by driving the re-modeling projects to upgrade of air navigational equipment, safety and security infrastructure.
On the 2018 budget implementation level, he said that the total appropriation for the Aviation sub-sector for 2018 was N26.9billion, out of which N3.12 billion representing 11.6 per cent was released to the sector and N2.99 billion representing 96 per cent had been expended as at March 15.
According to him, N508.8 million was appropriated for overhead expenditure for the whole Ministry of Transport, which includes Aviation, Marine and Land sectors.
He said N296.8 million, representing 58.3 per cent was released, while N296.8 million representing 99.9 per cent was expended as at December 2018.
The Minister said the ministry was funded from national budget, but agencies under it like Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Nigeria College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) and Accident Investigation Bureau were funded from Internally Generated Revenue(IGR).
He said however that the Federal Airports Authority (FAAN) and Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority(NCAA) were wholly funded from their IGR.