• Friday, May 24, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

FG recommences plans to concession airports

Director-General-of-the-Bureau-of-Public-Enterprises-BPE-Mr.-Benjamin-DikkiTalks have just recommenced among the relevant Nigerian authorities on the possible concessioning of the airports, Benjamin Dikki, director general, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), said yesterday.

Speaking during the BPE’s privatisation day held yesterday at the sidelines of the 9th Abuja international trade fair, Dikki said that even though the airports had been improved, the concessioning was now necessary for them to be more efficient and meet global standards.

No timelines have been given yet as it is still early days, but Dikki hinted that his office “has already held discussions with the minster of aviation, who is “agreeable and very keen that we hand over the management of our airports to the private sector.”

He noted that there is already an agreement in principle and that the concept paper was being developed to indicate the direction, timelines and work programmes which would be discussed with the minister before seeking necessary approval of the National Council on Privatisation and President Goodluck Jonathan.

While he could not actually say how soon the process could commence, Dikki, however, explained that the first step would be to do a due diligence on the airports which would be captured in a detailed information document that can be handed to the potential investors to make informed decision.

He hinted that it would likely take between two and six months to complete diagnostic study of all the airports before the process can then commence.

Dikki also announced that the guided liquidation of the NITEL/MTEL was still ongoing and that the prospective bidders were currently conducting data room due diligence on the assets of the companies.

He also said that the privatisation of the refineries was still at the consultation stage, noting that his office was still “consulting with the major stakeholders like the labour unions, among others.

“We want to agree with them on the acceptable framework for the privatisation of the refineries,” he stated, expressing confidence that the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) would encourage private sector investors to commit their money into those refineries.

“We are constrained by the absence of the law, and also by the fact that we are holding consultations with major stakeholders to be able to agree on a road map going forward,” Dikki explained.

According to him, the eight bills, which are also critical element in the Bureau’s 2014 work plan including railway bill, inland waterways bill, federal roads authority bill, national transport commission bill, ports and harbour reform bill, federal competition and consumer protection bill and postal reform bill have been reviewed and finalised by the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and presently before the FEC.

He envisaged that the passage of these bills would lead to the abrogation of monopoly sector laws, liberalisation of the sector and establishment of regulatory agencies would encourage private sector investment inflows, job creation and higher economic growth.

Dikki assured that the Bureau would be working with relevant stakeholders in meeting the conditions precedent for the declaration of Transitional Electricity Market and to continue to handle post-privatisation issues relating to the Discos, Gencos and TCN.