NIGERIAN aviation officials are considering offering concessions to run all of the nation’s airports for effective and efficient service delivery as part of a post-coronavirus programme due to kick on once international flights resume on August 29.
Like most other countries, Nigeria shut down her airspace following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, grounding both domestic and international flights. For several weeks now, domestic flights have resumed and international operations are now expected to start on August 29, with flights resuming from Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano airports.
Aviation minister Senator Hadi Sirika, said that the concessioning process would boost the revenue drive of the government. He added that President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, being social democratic in nature, has vehemently refused to sell government property as carried out by past administrations.
In addition, the minister warned that with the Covid-19 pandemic that has affected all globally, Nigeria would up till the first quarter of 2022, continue to witness a sharp decline in the number of passengers. He added that the aviation sector needed funds to carry out its activities, warning that if the government could not fund the industry because of the challenge of income, it should not take the little the sector has.
Senator Sirika said: “So we are in a difficult and challenging times and we do not have solutions to it, even as advanced countries are spending huge amounts of money to support civil aviation businesses. The government, because of the challenge of funding, has not been able to respond to civil aviation requests and civil aviation funding like other countries have done.
“If the government is not able to fund us because of the challenge of income, then the government should not take the little we have. Every single agency in civil aviation is so critical that we need to fund it and because we understand the nature of this business, that was why we have now introduced the concession of our airports.
“ We have done the outline business case and we are now going ahead for the procurement to concession these airports. The reason is simple and that is because this government, the APC administration, is social democratic in nature and it does not want to sell national assets.
“It wants to keep the assets with the people but we can concession them and improve them to make them better. We are very sure that when we do that, we will improve the revenue of the nation.”