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Why FG failed to resolve MMA2 concession conundrum in 2018

When will the Federal Government resolve the decade old MMA2 concession debacle? This is the question on the lips of experts and aviation industry stakeholders…

When will the Federal Government resolve the decade old MMA2 concession debacle?

This is the question on the lips of experts and aviation industry stakeholders as the 2018 election ended without the government addressing the concession debacle of the Murtala Muhammed Airport terminal two operated by Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL).

For more than a decade, BASL and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) have been at loggerheads over the terms of the concession which have triggered claims and counter-claims of indebtedness.

There were high hopes and expectations that the issues surrounding the concession would be put behind the nation within the first term of the present government especially with the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC) intervening in 2018.

Minister of State for Aviation Senator Hadi Sirika also promised that the issue would be addressed very soon and even vowed to sanction civil servants involved in putting up the concession agreements which turned out to be unfavourable to government.

Analysts say resolving the issue should be on the front burner of discussions more so as the government moves to concession some international airports.

“MMA2 is a model of concession in Nigeria. It is the first experiment in airport privatisation but the concession has been mismanaged so far”, an analyst told Daily Trust.

ICRC DG Chidi Izuwah during a facility visit to MMA2 to explore ways of bringing an end to the seemingly intractable controversy, decried the fate that has befallen the MMA2 concession project.

The team also visited two projects – a conference centre and a four-star hotel – near FAAN headquarters being undertaken by BASL which have been abandoned for almost a decade despite reaching advanced stage.

“The commission is here today as the regulatory body saddled with the responsibility of monitoring and ensuring the efficient execution of all Private, Public Partnership (PPP) projects entered into by MDAs on behalf of the Federal Government as spelt out under Section 20 (a) of the ICRC Establishment Act, 2005,” he said.

Izuwa urged the two parties to be ready to bend towards finally resolving the problems.

According to him, “the success or failure of Public Private Partnership (PPP) transactions in Nigeria does not only depend on the advice and solutions proffered by our commission, but largely on the willingness of the parties to accept the advice and implement our recommendations in resolving disputes.”

Currently BASL insists the government owed it N132bn, being judgement debt incurred from FAAN’s management of the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) against the concession agreement.

Also, FAAN has tried to upgrade its facilities to accommodate its facilities to improve passenger facilitation especially at the GAT.

As the controversy persists, MMA2 has had a significant increase in clientele with more airlines indicating interest in flying from the terminal; the latest was Air Peace which moved some of its flights to the terminal with effect from yesterday (January 1).

Speaking with our correspondent, aviation analyst, Group Capt. John Ojikutu (rtd), described the MMA2 concession as a big problem.

But he insisted that government should resolve the problem by complying with the court judgement and avoid playing politics with it in order to attract more private sector investments.

He said, “What do you want to do with MM2 other than for you to comply with what the court said you should do? That is a major thing. Go and pay back this amount…We were calling attention to the issue of MMA2 at a time. They put politics into it.

“Look at the hotel, look at the conference centre. MMA2 is one of the best airports, well managed terminals in this country, I don’t know of others. But we put a lot of politics there.

“If the minister says they want to solve the problem, I will rather say, sit down with the owners, see how we can be paying back some of the money we are owing especially when you are not contesting it.”

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