*KACCIMA bids for Kano Airport 

*We ought to be given right of first refusal —Bi-Courtney

*Concession’ll improve airports facilities —Airline operators

By Lawani Mikairu

Preferred bidders for four of the nation’s international airports would be announced today by the Federal Government.

This is coming three years after the government disclosed plans to concession the airports, including Murtala Muhammad International Airport, Lagos; Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja; Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano; and Port Harcourt International Airport.

The preferred bidders were to have been announced on September 27 but had to be pushed forward to today to enable more bidders participate, according to information at Vanguard’s disposal.

This is even as the operator of Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal 2, MM2, Lagos, Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Ltd, BASL, expressed anger that it ought to be given “right of first refusal“ to bid for the four international airports to be concessioned since it had experience in running concessioned terminal (MM2).

It was learned that Kano business community, under the auspices of Kano Chamber of Commerce, Mines and Agriculture, KACCIMA, had declared interest to acquire the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport, MAKIA, Kano.

Investigation revealed that domestic airline operators had expressed their support for the concessioning of the airports as they believe it would improve infrastructure and facilities in the airports.

Nigeria currently has 36 airports, 26 of which are owned by the Federal Governments but managed by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, while the five international airports are also controlled by the Federal Government.

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The Ministry of Aviation had in compliance with the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, ICRC, and National Policy on Public-Private Partnership (N4P) recently released a request for qualification for the concession of four international airport terminals and related services.

Up for ‘sale’

In the document signed by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Aviation, Hassan Musa, the four major commercial airports, namely Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja; Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos; Malam Aminu Kano International Airport and Port Harcourt International Airport and surrounding communities are intended to be developed into efficient, profitable, self-sustaining commercial hubs, which will create more jobs and develop local industries through a Public-Private Partnership, PPP, arrangement.

The advertised document announcing government’s intention, read: “The Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Ministry of Aviation is inviting bids from reputable Airport Developers/Operators/Financiers/Consortia for prequalification for the concession of selected airports terminals under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.

“The airport’s terminal concession is one of the critical projects under the Aviation sector Roadmap of the FGN and fits well within the scope of the ministry’s strategic plan for the sector.

“The execution of this project is meant to achieve the Federal Government’s objective in terms of air transport value chain growth by developing and profitably managing customer-centric airport facilities for safe, secure and efficient carriage of passengers and goods at world-class standards of quality.”

According to the document, the eligibility requirements include full names of firm/consortia; evidence of company registration; ownership structure of bidding entity; audited financial statements; sworn affidavit; power of attorney/Board resolution and in the case of a consortium, evidence in the form of a letter of association agreement.

It explained that to be prequalified for consideration as a prospective PPP partner for the project, the prospective firms/consortia must have technical, operational and financial capability, including experience in the development and operation of an international airport and cargo terminals;

Evidence of financial capacity in support of the company or consortium’s ability to undertake the airport concession illustrated by a minimum net worth of N30 billion and letters of support from credible financial institutions in support of the consortium’s ability to manage and operate the airports terminals, were also required.

“The modalities for application submission shall be in a sealed envelope containing seven copies neatly bound (one original and six copies clearly marked) of the completed RFQ and the required supporting documents, which shall be clearly marked “RFQ for the Concession of Airport Terminals’ and addressed to the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Aviation, Federal Secretariat Complex, Abuja.

“The application shall be submitted either physically or by pre-paid, registered/certified mail or courier to the address provided.

The submission shall be on or before 15:00 hours Nigerian Time (14.00hrs GMT) on September 27, 2021,” the document explained further.

It further emphasised the fact that the RFQ is the pre-qualification stage of the procurement process for the project, and asked interested parties to meet the pre-qualification requirements specified in the RFQ package.

“Only pre-qualified parties will proceed to the Request for Proposal (RFP) stage and shall execute a Non-Disclosure Agreement prior to issuance of the RFP documents,” it stated.

The document urged interested international parties to partner with “local firms in compliance with the requirements of the Federal Government of Nigeria local content development policy while submission of Request For Quotes, RFQs, through electronic media will not be considered.”

Bi-Courtney

Meanwhile, Bi- Courtney Aviation Services, BASL, managers of Murtala Muhammed Airport, terminal 2, MMA2, has signified interest in the four international airport terminals the Federal Government have earmarked for concession.

Executive Chairman of BASL, Dr Wale Babalakin, who disclosed the company’s interest in the terminals, said the Federal Government ought to have even given  Bi- Courtney the “right of first refusal“ before calling for bids from other interested parties since BASL already had experience in running terminals.

At a briefing in Lagos, Babalakin said: “BASL is interested in anything that is intelligent infrastructure development.

“I have had people say are you a business man? I am not a business man, I am a lawyer and an infrastructure developer; I don’t trade, I don’t import and export, what is my interest? Infrastructure development and that’s where you find me.

“So we are interested but we are more interested in the process leading to the emergence and we believe that we are entitled to be first option. In any very organised country, we would be given the first option.

“There is a bid going on in the country for the concession of Abuja, Kano, Lagos and  Port Harcourt airports.

“In very well organised countries, what would happen is that the authorities would call on those who have done it well and say we are going to give you the first option because you have demonstrated capacity.

“You don’t need to bring technical expertise from abroad, you have them in Nigeria tested for 14 years.

“I think it will be better to consult those who have track records. Before MMA2, nobody talked about terminals but after the completion of MMA2, Asaba built a terminal.

“I also hear about Bauchi, Dutse have terminals and now I think Anambra State is planning to have one.

“We have succeeded immensely as an eye opener to aviation infrastructure development in Nigeria.”

KACCIMA declares interest in Aminu Kano Int’l Airport, Kano

Similarly, the Kano business community, under the auspices of Kano Chamber of Commerce, Mines and Agriculture, KACCIMA, had declared interest to acquire the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport, MAKIA, Kano.

At press time the chamber was the only one that had publicly declared interest to run the Kano airport.

Acting President, KACCIMA, Ambasador Usman Darma, who declared the interest while briefing newsmen, said the chamber’s decision to acquire the airport was informed by its previous experience with the privatisation of the electricity company which was acquired by  people from outside the state where it services were unfriendly with exorbitant charges.

Darma said the chamber had the capacity to acquire the airport, citing Ado Bayero Mall housing Shoprite as part of its landed property worth over N50 billion.

He said plans were also on to bring foreign and local partners on board to ensure smooth and efficient running of the airport and improve its activities, revenue and employment generation.

He said: “We have consulted key stakeholders such as our business mogul and father, Alhaji Aminu Dantata, commercial and private airliners, hoteliers and other relevant stakeholders in a bid to take over the concession of the facility.

“We have formed a technical committee, saddled with the responsibility of looking at the guidelines and how to acquire the facility based on the guidelines set by the Federal Government.

“We have given them two weeks to look at the guidelines and report back to us to avoid any chances whereby the Federal Government will take us unawares by handing over the facility to an outside company or entity.

“It is also part of the guidelines that foreign partners must be brought on board in order to get the concession.

“I believe if we invite foreign partners, they would help us manage the business more efficiently because they have more skills and wherewithal.

“Acquiring the concession will be a great benefit to the people of Kano as it would subsidise services for them, generate revenue for the government and provide employment opportunities,” Darma said.

Concession’ll improve airports facilities — Airline operators

Reacting to government’s decision to concession the airports, Airline Operators of Nigeria, AON, threw its weight behind the plan.

An operator who chose to remain anonymous, said: “If the airport terminals are concessioned in transparent manner to qualified investors, facilities that have been lacking in those airports will be provided by the concessionaire.

“The new facilities would enhance passenger facilitation, enable airlines to operate effectively and also provide needed equipment that could convey passengers from the terminal to the airside.”

Speaking on concession, former chairman of AON, Captain Noggie Meggison, said: “Concession could be a solution to the myriads of problems of airport infrastructure, including obsolete facilities, inadequate x-ray machines, inadequate technical personnel and others.”

In his reaction, Chairman/CEO of Air Peace and current Vice Chairman of AON, Allen Onyema, said:   “Concession would help modernise Nigerian airport terminals and would be beneficial to airlines, which expect that state-of-the-art facilities are provided to enhance easy passenger movement.”

He also said a well executed concession plan would add more workers to the work force at the airports.

He, however, said airport workers must be sufficiently compensated with comprehensive severance packaged in such a way that those who might want to leave the service would be happy.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.