News & Finance

Enugu Airport rehabilitation begins

Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika said
on Tuesday that he will be relocating his
office to the Akanu Ibiam International Airport
in Enugu temporary to directly supervise the
rehabilitation of the airport which he said will
be completed before the end of April 2020.
The Minister also announced that the new
terminal building for the Murtala Mohammed
International Airport in Lagos and the Aminu
Kano International Airport in Kano will be
ready before the end of the year.
Sirika who spoke while defending his
ministry’s budget before the House on
Aviation said with the approval of N10 billion
for the Enugu Airport by the President, the
contractors are expected to mobilise to site
as soon as possible, adding that the
President has already directed all agencies
associated with the smooth work on the
airport to work together to ensure it was
delivered on time.
The Minister disclosed that the rehabilitation
work on the Enugu airport will be done in
such a way that the airport will be the best in
the country, adding that all houses located
close to the airport may have to give way for
increased safety.
He said that the Enugu state governor has
given assurance that he will swing into action
to ensure that conducive atmosphere is
provided for the rehabilitation of the airport
and ask the lawmaker to always visit the
airport to access progress of work.
Speaking on hygiene in the nation’s airports,
the Minister explained that out of the 22
federal airports in the country, 21 of them
were clean and hygienic, adding that the only
place of concern was the Lagos airport.
He explained that when the Lagos airport was
established, it was built to accommodate
200,000 passengers per annum, stressing that
today, the airport accommodate traffic of
about 8 million annually.
He said that the large volume of traffic makes
it impossible for the airport to be clean,
stressing that efforts were being made to
complete the new terminal building in Lagos
to ease the traffic on the old building.
Senator Sirika said further that the delays in
the completion of the terminal building in
Lagos has been addressed with the approval
of funds by the President, stressing that the
private hangers that were also hampering the
work have started giving way.
He said once the Ministry is able to complete
the new terminal building, the old one will be
brought down to pave way for a new structure
and appealed to the lawmakers for their
cooperation in the efforts of the Ministry
ensure the nation’s airports are safe.
On the performance of the 2019 budget, the
Minister told the lawmakers that only
N7,330,178,427.45 representing 20.8 percent
of the capital allocation to the Ministry was
released, adding that so far
N2,627,119,597.14 has been paid out from
the released 2019 Budget, while some
Certificates of Completion of Projects are
being processed for payment.
He appealed for their support to ensure that
the Aviation Sector is improved by ensuring
that the airports and all the needed equipment
necessary for safety and security are provided
to meet the Standard and Recommended
Practices (SARPs) as outlined by regulatory
Aviation bodies such as the International Civil
Aviation Organization (lCAO), Nigerian Civil
Aviation Authority (NCAA) etc.
He told them that there were challenges with
the new Terminals being built with the $500M
loan from the China Exim Bank, which include
changes in structural design of the airports,
foundation footing and escalators; provisions
for the biggest modern aircrafts; change in
departure and arrival floors to rhyme with the
railway station; provision of adequate power
supply to ensure all facilities are put to use
and relocation of the Control Tower and the
Fire Service Station
He said: “the above has 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).
“The China Exim Bank has indicated willingness
to consider funding the above additional works
and we have written to the Ministry of Budget
and National Planning to provide for the Sum
of $73,887,288.16 (N22,535,622,888.00
@N305/$) as counterpart fund in 2019 outside
the Ministry’s proposed FGN Budget.
“The President has graciously approved 50% of
this Sum and in 3months we are expecting the
balance of the remaining 50% of the money.
“For the 2020 Budget Proposal, we have also
approach the Ministry of Finance, Budget and
National Planning to provide the counterpart
funding for remedial/additional works and
completion of four Chinese terminals at Kano,
Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt
(($51 ,800,266.99)(N15,850,881,698.94) has
been approved by Mr. President.
He said that about N91.8 billion was being
proposed in the 2020 budget for what he
called Viability Funding of the new national
courier, adding that more Bilateral/Multilateral
Air Services Agreement would be signed in
2020 for the benefits of our air travelers. We
have developed a road map for the Aviation
Sector that will be implemented through
Public Private Partnership (PPP).

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