By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
The Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika has said that the Airports in Nigeria are currently operating in a suboptimal environment, and are urgently in need of infrastructure investments and modernisation to meet international standard.
Sirika, said this at a virtual meeting with Aviation stakeholders on Tuesday, where he spoke on the Nigerian Airport Concession Strategy.
While speaking on the need and strategic objectives of the project, he noted that with the population growth and its increasing affluence, a private operator of the four main airports in the country will be able to operate the airports with an international standard and expand the facilities in accordance with traffic demand at each airport.
He explained that, typically on Airport Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects, the Authority sets minimum service levels for the Concessionaire to comply with, adding that this will provide the Authority with a tool to set service standards for the operation of the terminals and secure a reliable high-level products.
The Minister while giving a breakdown of the Airport Concession Strategy, said that, “The Nigerian Airport Concessions will be a Terminal Concession and majority of its revenue will be derived from Non Aeronautical sources; All other facilities at the airports and existing concessions outside the Airport Terminals will still be managed by FAAN.
“The Concessionaire will provide the investment required to upgrade the existing terminals, take over the new terminals and maintain them over a period of time to be determined based on financial assessment of each transaction; and Passenger Service Charge and Security Charge will be shared by FAAN and the Concessionaire and FAAN’s share of the charges shall be paid directly to FAAN by IATA”.
Furthermore, he pointed out that the concessionaire will sign service level agreements with FAAN and NAMA to ensure that airport operates efficiently, the service level agreement will cover the Runway, Taxiway, Security and Air Traffic Management.
Sirika added that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), will be required to provide manpower through Aviation Security (AVSEC) for security of both the Airside and Landside, noting however, that the concessionaire will provide and maintain landside equipment but FAAN will continue to provide and maintain Airside security equipment.
“All existing concessions within the Terminal concession will be inherited by the concessionaire and will be allowed to run its course before any review.
“Tariffs will be regulated in accordance with the procedures set in the concession agreement”, he explained.
Sirika emphasized that the concessioning will not lead to job loss, adding that “there are too many jobs to be done and we need more hands, so, there won’t be job loss”.
The Minister stated that the Ministry is committed to be transparent and law abiding in the process, noting also that the concessioning is being done on behalf of the people and in their interest.
For his part, the Acting Director General, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) Mr. Michael Ohiani, said the ICRC has availed the Ministry of all it needs for full compliance and international best practices in the concessioning process, adding that they will ensure the project is delivered transparently.
He commended the Minister for the effort in ensuring that “this important transaction is undertaken in compliance with ICRC Act”.
Also speaking, the Managing Director, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Capt. Rabiu Yadudu, said a lot has been done in the last eight  months to make it clear to the people that “there are no fears”.
While noting that the policies of the government are people-friendly, he called for more interaction and participation, so that there will be an enhanced and sustainable process.