About $500 million (N152.5 billion) extra is required to fix design anomalies in the on-going airport terminal buildings in four locations in the country Daily Trust has learnt.
The new terminal buildings, conceived by the previous administration, in Abuja, Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt airports, were not sited at the proper locations before work commenced.
Daily Trust had exclusively reported that the new terminal building, located after terminal D at Abuja airport is badly located as it blocks the control tower, obstructs the fire tender and doesn't link to the existing terminals seamlessly.
It was gathered that the Federal Government has begun moves to obtain a $500 loan from the China Export and Import Bank to be sunk into the new international airport terminal buildings.
In July 2013, government obtained $600 million from China EXIM Bank to build the four new airport terminals. The Abuja airport new international structural building should be ready by February 2018 according to the contractor, CCECC, but the facility will not be put to commercial use until the flaws are corrected.
Also, the Minister of State, Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, had confirmed the anomalies to our correspondent in an exclusive interview. He had said the new terminal building was without proper sewage, had small apron hanger and inadequate power and water capacity.
"The terminal in Abuja has no link to the old structure, no apron space provided. The little one that is available is obscured by the fire service. Even if you remove the fire service from there, you will only accommodate at best one large bodied aircraft.
"Again, there is no sewage, no power etc. So it's a huge challenge. The building itself is blocking the control tower and the tower has to be moved. So even if the terminal building is complete, it will take time for them to become operational," the minister said.
Both the minister and the contractor, CCECC, agree that for the facility to be put to maximum use, all the infrastructural deficits (power, water, sewage) must be provided. Also, the fire service station must be relocated as well as the control tower. The apron area will also have to be expanded to take more aircraft.
The Project Manager, CCECC, in charge of the new terminal building, Mr. Kelvin Lee, had told legislators on oversight visit to the terminal building recently that it will take additional one year for all lapses to be fixed. He said the earliest time for the airport to be operational is December 2018 if the procurements of the needed infrastructure commence immediately.
"I have told the National Assembly members that the water and power capacities need to be upgraded. They also need to relocate the control tower and fire stations. To commission this building, about 8MVA capacity power is needed and right now, the existing power cannot carry it and we cannot go ahead to test some of the things installed because of the low capacity of power," he had explained.
The Senate Committee Chairman on Aviation, Senator Adamu Aliero, who led the team on the inspection, promised legislative assistance to get the money for the terminal building to become operational.
Investigation by our correspondent showed that government may have commenced the process of taking another $500 million loan from China EXIM Bank. The bulk of the money will be used on the Abuja terminal because it has the most issues.
Our correspondent gathered that the Ministry of Transportation recently approached the China EXIM Bank management team which was in Nigeria on official visit for yet another $400 million loan to fix the anomalies at the Abuja airport terminal.
It was also gathered that the China bank team didn't refuse the loan but advised that the request should come from the presidency.
Top ministry officials say, the ministry has approached the presidency over the matter and the presidency may have built the loan into the $5 billion external borrowing plan submitted to the National Assembly. The proposed 2nd runway at the airport will also be built from the facility when obtained.
Sen. Sirika had assured that government will do everything to put the new terminal building to use. We "will do everything possible to put them to use as soon as possible," he said.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, also told our correspondent in an interview last week "I have said to the minister of state, Aviation, we need to put that facility to use even though he argues about the issues of apron, water, power and others that will take about another $500 million, as I hear."
He however said the full brief over the matter hasn't come to him so he could not speak further on it.
Our correspondent reports that, the new international terminal building at the Abuja airport is among the four that will be concessioned by the Federal Government when the concession plan manifests. But if the terminal is not put into proper shape, no concessionaire may be interested in it.