Airport concession must be transparent, foreign airlines advise FG

The Association of Foreign Airlines and Representatives in Nigeria has advised the Federal Government via the Ministry of Aviation to ensure the ongoing concession of four international airports is transparent.

The Federal Government through the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission and the Ministry of Aviation are overseeing the concession of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos; Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja; Mallam Aminu Kanu International Airport, Kano; and the Port Harcourt International Airport, Rivers.

The aviation ministry has also engaged transaction advisers in the concession.

But the President, AFARN, Kingsley Nwokoma, who spoke at a press briefing in Lagos on Thursday, said the international community and investor were watching the process, stressing the need to follow due process.

According to him, the association is in support of the proposed concession plan by the government but is concerned about the process.

In a statement, Nwokoma said, “The news, however, is that a lot of comments from various quarters have continued to trail the four major airports penciled down for concession since the plan was hatched and made public by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, almost three years ago.

 “The world is watching the process and AFARN calls upon the minister to live up to the above promise he made at the outset of this process,”

He recalled that the law firm of Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, had recently raised concerns over the concession process.

“Much as I share this opinion, our position is that things should be done right and transparently too, to avoid crippling the industry that has provided thousands of Nigerians with employments. We cannot afford to gamble this time with the aviation industry, considering the state of the economy and its global outlook too,” he noted.

The AFARN president recalled that the liquidation of the defunct Nigeria Airways which was reportedly done in a hurry should be enough lesson for everyone involved in the ongoing concession plan to learn from.

He added, “Since that time, well-meaning Nigerians and various stakeholders have spoken. The latest one coming from Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, whose law firm had also advised that there might be legal battles if things are not done right based on what the law says.

“He (Falana) went further and urged the Federal Government to disqualify Messrs. TAV Consortium and GMR Consortium owned by ADP that holds 46 per cent share in GMR and 49 per cent in TAV respectively, having expressed desire and submitted applications for the airports in question.”

“Two consortiums owned by ADP, Airport de Paris, submitted expressions of interest. They also own 49 per cent in TAV consortium that also expressed interest in this process and GMR Airport Limited. ADP owns 46 per cent.”

According to him, it is stated in Section 2.2 of the RFQ Guideline that no applicant can be part of more than one bid in this case.


Article first published on the Punch Website

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