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Start concessioning with underutilised airports, TUC tells government

The Trade Union Congress Nigeria (TUC) on Thursday urged the Federal Government to start its planned concessioning of airports in the country with those considered underutilised, as against the viable ones already listed by the government.

The government is pushing the concessioning plan with four of Nigeria’s most patronised international airports in the first instance. They include the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos; Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja; Port Harcourt International Airport (PHIA), in Rivers State, and Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA), Kano.

But the TUC said rather than starting with the “big four”, the government should in the immediate hand over the non-viable airports to the private sector to turn around.

According to Quadri Olaleye, and Musa-Lawal Ozigi, president and secretary-general of TUC, respectively, the government’s declaration that the concession is a “forgone conclusion” smacks of “impunity which this administration preaches against.”

“Virtually all aspects of our national life have been breached. The social contract this government entered into when we voted for it has been grossly violated. The tenacity with which the minister of aviation and his team are going about the project is a matter of concern to us.”

The TUC said from experience, past concessions of our common patrimonies have always been bedeviled with tales of woes, citing the power sector privatisation.

“If the minister and the forces behind him are sincere and genuinely desire a business model that would reposition the aviation industry they should adopt the Green Field and Corporatisation models which empower new investors to among others construct new runways, terminal buildings and thereafter operate for a specified period of time before handing over to government. Under corporatisation model, government gives the running of the business to a statutory board/agency to autonomously carry out operations of the airport on a purely commercial basis same way the Airports Company of South Africa operates.

The Ethiopian Airports Authority, Egyptian Airports Authority are all doing great. Nigeria is more endowed in all ramifications than these countries but it is obvious they have better economy managers.

The congress said it was opposed to the move to concession the nation’s viable airports, stressing that “we urge the government to kick-start this

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