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Reps give conditions for airports concession

Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, Hon. Nnaji Nnolim on Thursday backed the move by the Federal Government to concession major airports in the…

Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, Hon. Nnaji Nnolim on Thursday backed the move by the Federal Government to concession major airports in the country.

However he said there must be “a regulatory frame work that will ensure proper guidance on the operations of privatized airports in the country or government running of airports like in Egypt and Ethiopia…”

He spoke in Lagos during the annual colloquium organized by the Nigeriatravelsmart with the theme, “Airport concession and options for airports development in Nigeria.”

The lawmaker said Nigeria airports were not just underdeveloped but they are also “grossly underutilized.”

According to him, Nigeria had not exploited up to 10 percent of the possible non-aeronautical revenues “because our airports are not yet developed to the level of harnessing the revenue potentials available on the land side (non-aeronautical sources of revenue).”

Daily Trust reports that the Federal Government has commenced moves to concession four major airports in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt.

However, experts suggested that the right models and proper regulatory framework must be adopted to avoid the mistakes of the past.

Rep. Nnolim who delivered the keynote address said the biggest challenge to airport concession is the fear of job loss.

He said another challenge was the Act that set up FAAN, giving it the power to dominate in an area that can be open for private sector entry, saying this has to be reviewed.

He argued that the unbundling of FAAN might lead “to a more efficient and progressive airport development and enabling environment that will attract private sector investments and tourism development in Nigeria.”

He said three agencies such as Nigeria Airport Development Agency; Airport Management Company PLC; and Federal Airports Property Company Ltd are being proposed to emerge from the unbundling of FAAN.

But Mohammed Magashi, CEO of Kitari Aviation Consult has a slightly different opinion, saying development of airports is still very new to private sector.

Magashi stressed that it is the responsibility of government to develop the airports to a level when they can be concessioned.

Convener of the colloquium and CEO of NigeriaTravelsmart urged the Federal Government to carry along the workers of FAAN in privatizing the airports, stressing that concession would boost revenues generated from the airports.

“With Nigeria’s God given natural and human resources, and a solid leapfrogging plan and strategy, we should be aiming for a futuristic airport of $2.5billion. We have the population, the market and geographic position to make and realize such aspirations,” he said.

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