Economy

Nigeria's airports need Upgrading and Proper Funding - Sirika Tells FG

Nigeria's airports need Upgrading and Proper Funding - Sirika Tells FG”

The workers who are members of the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) carried different placards to signify their opposition to the concession plan during the peaceful protest which is still ongoing as at the time of filing in this report.

They were joined by some pensioners of the aviation parastatals.

The Minister also said that there was one reported death of yellow fever in Kwara State.Prof Adewole said he submitted the weekly report of the state of the nation's public health to FEC intimating it that the ministry was tracking four major disease outbreaks.He said that government had started a programme to curb maternal mortality to prevent women from dying in pregnancy. He argued that previous concessions in the sector have not yielded any benefit to the country, citing the case of SAHCON.

It reiterated that it could no longer sustain the funding of the 22 airports across the country, thus they would be concessioned, assuring that the process would be transparently done with the workers fully involved in the process.

Sirika also noted that the Muritala Muhammad International Airports which was built to cater for 200,000 people every year has now increased to eight million but the facilities appear not to be in shape again.

While acknowledging the rights of the workers to protest, Sirika said the government would try its best to ensure that jobs were not lost.

"What is more, come this Friday a portal will be put up by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), where all matters of concession will be available for anyone to see".

The Minister of State for Aviation, Sen.

"Governments, in the past, decided just to liquidate Nigerian airways without tending to the issue of the entitlements of the workers and they have been struggling to get that paid and we came in government and we took it very seriously".

"We don't have the money to invest and develop these airports".

"In our opinion as a government and the policy has been done that we will go through concession to give some individuals who would build; who would operate; who would maintain, sustain, make money and government will also make money in the process and return back to government after certain number of years (20 to 25 years)".

He added, "I have to say that we have been meeting with them but the policy of the government is that we can not fund aviation infrastructure today through public budgets".

He further disclosed that Buhari had approved the concessioning of all Nigerian airports two months after the administration assumed office. "This will be transparently done, this is the catch phrase, so we are proceeding", Sirika said.

Sirika explained that with the certification, the government would be able to value the airport and know how to relate with its concessionaire when the facility is eventually given out in concession.

The unions and workers of FAAN disapproved of the plans by the government to concession both airports.

The minister also revealed that the council had approved the hosting of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) World Aviation Conference, to be held between November 20 and 22.



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