Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, and Kano airports will all be concessioned by August, according to the Federal Government.
Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation, stated in Lagos that the final phase of concession preparations will be completed between this month and July.
In a related development, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has purchased two new automated mobile control towers that will serve as backups in both Lagos and Abuja airports.
Since 2016, the Federal Government has been eager to concede all 22 federal airports, beginning with the big four in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, and Kano, for them to operate efficiently and profitably. Despite the government’s assurances that workers would remain relevant in the new arrangement, unions have been staunchly opposed to a concession.
The main concern of the workers, who are represented by the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP), the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), and the National Union of Pensioners (NUP), is what will happen to them when the airports are privatized.
Similarly, they questioned the rationale for conceding viable airports that benefited from the 2013 loan agreement between Nigeria and China. The unions have asked for more information about the $500 million credit for the four terminals, particularly the additional plans to concession them.
Sirika assured attendees at the Airport Business Summit and Expo yesterday that there would be no job losses during the concession period, but rather an opportunity to engage more hands in the system.
He stated that there was no need to sell the people’s assets, but rather to concede them in such a way that they would be operated to generate more revenue.
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He stated that the proposal would be presented to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for approval in February 2022.
He also stated that all concession agreements were included in the outlined proposal and that they were in the best interests of the people.
Sirika explained that the proposal, which began in 2015, will be advertised this month for bidders to express interest, after which qualified companies will be invited for profiling, and that the process will be completed in August.
He added that evaluated companies would be asked to submit a proposal for engagement, even as he assured labour of dialogue to ensure that every concession issue was addressed and that no single worker would be laid off.
He promised that all ongoing concessions would be allowed to run their course before being reviewed. In response to the current traffic congestion between the domestic and international airports, Sirika stated that an agreement had been reached between the Lagos state government and the ministry to build light rail from the Ikeja terminal through the local airports to the international airport.