By Favour Nnabugwu
Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has declared the concession exercise of the Federal government is open to all qualified entities but not for State governments.
Sirika said no sub-national government will be allowed to participate in the concession of the nations four major international airports.
He made this known earlier today during a virtual stakeholder’s meeting to update on the concession of the four international airports: Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Port Harcourt International Airport and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.
The Minister who was responding to reactions from presentations at the conference also said that the nation’s airports will not lose staff as by ICAO statistics Nigeria was short handed with regards aviation personnel and so many will be redeployed as government has taken responsibility for other state-owned airports.
Sirika who presented an argument on why states will not be allowed to participate in the concession said government was trying to remove the airports from the national government to private entities and will not be handing over to a sub-national government.
He said,”What I can say emphatically, is that no state government will be allowed to participate to get this concession because the argument is, we are taking this concession from federal government to private sector, we cannot give from one government to another government, in fact to a lesser government which is a sub national, this will not happen but any private sector any private entity with proven record that is able to demonstrate will be allowed to participate and the best will emerge.
Reacting to Mr.Aliyu Mustapha on whether the Organised Private Sector of Kano can participate in the process, Sirika assured that it was quite possible if the organization had the technical capacity, foundational capacity as well as the experience and expertise as will be proven during the process.
He said,”This process (Concession) is for anyone that has the capacity, the technical capacity, the foundational capacity, the experience, the wherewithal and is interested to participate”.
“So whether you are organized private sector or a private entity you are free to participate so long as you can prove within the process that you can give us value for our money you can participate in the process you will be allowed”.
“It is going to be transparently done, this is the beginning of the process and we are in the planning, so now we are beginning the steps that would lead to the concession and it would be on our website, it would be on the website of ICRC so they can begin to organize themselves now either as a group or as an entity to participate in the process and you’d be certainly allowed to do so,” he said.
On loss of jobs, he said the workers’ rights and privileges will be protected
Unions fear for jobs but i keep saying they will not lose their jobs because number one: we currently by the findings of ICAO, we are understaffed in so many areas and we need to recruit people so we need all hands to manage our airports,
“Second: we have now increased the number of airports within our care, we are taking over Gombe, Bauchi, Dutse, Kebbi, Osubi and many other airports and we need helping hands, we need new people to manage the airport that being the case we look at what is the staff strength and how do we employ more people.”