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Airport security: FG approves N10.59bn contract for facilities upgrade

…intensifies debt recovery drive

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved a contract for the provision of Airport Management Solution for the Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt and Enugu international airports in a bid to strengthen the security around the nation’s airspace.

This is to avoid being taken unawares as recent occurrences had threatened security around some of the nation’s airports, including Kaduna airport that was invaded by gunmen.

Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, in a briefing after the FEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, disclosed that some of the facilities which were hitherto limited to Lagos and Abuja airports are now being extended to cover all the five airports, while those of Lagos and Abuja are to be upgraded.

The minister disclosed that the system is expected to, amongst other benefits, enhance security at the nation’s airports, through the electronic surveillance and e-gates system.

These are access-controlled gates to restrict only passengers and staff access to designated areas. The e-gates provide a platform to monitor and control access into the airports including the boarding area.

“This is new and not part of the systems that were being provided for Lagos and Abuja before now,” Sirika said.

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The contract was awarded in favour of Messrs Arlington Securities Nigeria Limited, in the sum of N10.59bn, inclusive of 7.5 percent VAT and to be completed in 12 months.

Prior to the approvals, only Lagos and Abuja airports had the Airport Management Solution.

The facility is expected to allow for flexible shared resources for check-in and boarding, such as servers, workstations, associated peripherals between all airlines and handling agents present at the airport.

“This service, as explained, will be in all of the airports, which makes it faster and quicker for passenger processing,” Sirika said.

The services will also be extended to Local Departure Control Systems and is aimed at assisting airlines that are still using manual procedures.

The system secures and accelerates operations at the airports while ensuring better service for passengers, including accepting mobile phone boarding pass or home-printed boarding pass, which was not existing before now.

Other benefits include Baggage Reconciliation System, which allows baggage tracking from arrival, while baggage are dropped automatically into the system and onto the aircraft itself.

“So this will eliminate the issue of missing baggage or mix-up of baggage to arrive at another location not intended,” he said.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed disclosed that Council approved the second phase of Project Lighthouse, which is a component that is meant to expand the debt recovery drive of the Federal Government.

Project Lighthouse is a data engine that collects, integrates and analyses data from revenue-generating agencies in order to create insightful information for improved decision making.

She disclosed that the government, through the process, has been able to aggregate N5.2 trillion worth of debts that are being owed to the government by third parties.

“As at today we have been able to recover N49.7 billion of this amount through the efforts of works we’ve been carrying out through Project Lighthouse and we’re still compiling,” she said.
Messrs Carter House Consulting, a Nigerian technology company, which has been working with the ministry for three years, won the first phase of the contract in May 2019 and also got the second phase in the sum of N316.5 million.

“One major area that we have witnessed remarkable progress is in terms of recovery of debts owed to the government. Generally, revenue loopholes have been aided by poor information sharing enforcement.

“So this Protect Lighthouse shows us that many companies and individuals who owe government agencies have refused to honour their obligations yet are still being engaged and transacted with, and even being paid on government payment platforms like Treasury Single Account,” the minister said.

The Federal Government had in 2019 issued a directive to all ministries, departments and agencies to aggregate and sent to the ministry a list of all debtors and their outstanding amounts that are owed to government agencies.

“This we have put together in one central fund that we call Project Lighthouse. Project Lighthouse has brought together data from the FIRS, the Nigerian Customs Service, the Corporate Affairs Commission, as well as data from BVN in one central pool. Also, we’re hoping we get data from three states; land registry data from the FCT, from Kaduna State, as well as from Lagos State and other states will also be joining in the second phase.

“So what this has done is enabling us to identify revenues that the government can collect and actually be able to use the common platform to collect some revenues. We’re leveraging this project to enhance our revenue collection capabilities,” she said.

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