25 March 2019

Nigeria: We Need $461 Million to Fix New Airport Terminals - Minister

The Minister of State Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has urged the National Assembly to approve $461.8 million for additional work on the new terminals ongoing across the country.

Mr Sirika made the request when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Aviation on Monday in Abuja for his ministry's budget defence.

He said the required amount, which was needed in addition to the $500 million loan already gotten from China Exim Bank for the purpose would help to tackle some challenges encountered in the process of building the terminals.

He said some of the challenges encountered in the process of building the news terminals were change in the structural design of the airports, foundation footing and escalators.

The minister also said there was a need to make provisions for the biggest modern aircraft, change in departure and arrival floors to flow with railway station, provision of adequate power supply and relocation of control tower and fire service station, among others.

"The challenges have resulted in the need for variation and additional works to the tune of $461,795, 551.02, which has been approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), "he said.

Mr Sirika, a former senator, stressed that the China Exim Bank had indicated willingness to consider funding additional works.

He added that the ministry had written to the Ministry of Budget and National Planning to provide for the sum of $73.9 million as counterpart fund in 2019 outside the ministry's proposed national budget.

He said the airports being worked upon were already wearing new looks befitting of modern airports.

According to Mr Sirika, two of the new terminals, in Port Harcourt and Abuja have been commissioned, while Lagos and Kano will be completed shortly.

He said adequate provision had been made to complete the new terminal buildings at Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.

He solicited the support of the National Assembly and other stakeholders to ensure all needed equipment necessary for safety and security were provided to meet the Standard and Recommended Practices (SARPs) as outlined by regulatory aviation bodies.

The minister assured that more bilateral and multilateral air service agreements would be signed for the benefits of travellers.

On the 2019 budget proposal, the minister said the sum of N47.5 billion was being proposed for Capital Expenditure at the headquarters.

He said the amount would be used in sustaining infrastructurel renewal at the airports by driving the remodelling projects to upgrade of air navigational equipment, safety and security infrastructure.

On the 2018 budget implementation level, he said the total appropriation for the Aviation sub-sector for 2018 was N26.9billion out of which the sum of N3.12 billion representing 11.6 per cent was released to the sector.

He said the sum of N2.99 billion representing 96 per cent had been expended as at March 15.

The minister added that the sum of N508.8 million was appropriated for overhead expenditure for the whole Ministry of Transport, which includes Aviation, Marine and Land sectors.

According to him, of the said amount, N296.8 million, representing 58.3 per cent was released, while N296.8 million representing 99.9 per cent was expended as at December 2018.

Mr Sirika said the ministry was funded from national budget, but agencies under it like Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET), Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Nigeria College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) and Accident Investigation Bureau were also funded from Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).

However, he said, the Federal Airports Authority (FAAN) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) were wholly funded from their IGR.

(NAN)

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