Concessioning is the way forward for Nigerian airports because we do have standard airports and if we don’t create it, we may never have headway. I know at first it is going to affect the aviation workers. However, the government’s decision to concession the four international airports is the best decision because the government does not have the money to invest in airports. If we want to join the countries that have developed the aviation sector, we must take a bold step.
The plan to concession major airports is a good one. All the airports in the country should be given out for concession at once to remove the burden of providing annual budgets for their maintenance and improvement from the government except recovery intervention. Concession remained the best way to manage airports across the country. Most African countries have better looking airports and facilities than what we currently have in Nigeria. The concession should go on as long as our airports will be improved on.
I am not in support of it because similar moves which have been done in other sectors, such as the privatisation of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, have not yielded positive results. I know our airports need to be restored but I don’t think that granting concessions to private investors should be the best way to accomplish this. I feel there is more to this concessioning of airports. Since our leaders believe so much in falsehood, it is obvious that not one of them is willing to set a benchmark. What I expect the ministry to do is to set an agenda that should be clear and strong enough to keep us from dissipating energy on meaningless and wasteful ventures. The leadership of this country needs to liberate the country from the clutches of corrupt and incompetent people.
It is a welcome development but concessioning the major airports which are the legacy of our country, should not be allowed. I will urge the government to concession the dormant airports, the Minister of Aviation should look into that. So much is going on in the sector that is not known to the public.
The plan by the government to concession major airports is a good development because it will give the airports new lift, multiply the revenue generated and eventually double the number of people that currently work at the airports. The problem of decayed facilities would come to an end because the major objective for the concession is to upgrade, modernise and expand the facilities to be in competition with better airports of the world and also meet international standards.
The aviation industry contributes to the national economy by supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs, stimulating tourism and hospitality sub-sectors, facilitating skills and technology acquisition and projecting image but Nigeria’s airports are a national embarrassment. Concessioning of our airports should be in a well-handled agreement and it should be reasonable and safeguard Nigeria’s economic, security interests and workers’ severance benefits should be given priority. The government should be prepared to implement all obligations it makes to avoid a repeat of the failed Nigeria-Virgin Atlantic deal. I support the idea of only inviting proven existing airport operators to bid. Nigerians can owe only a small percentage of the deal by using proven existing airport operators, then we are assured of massive investment, professional and world class operation and job creation. The government should not be in the business of operating any business, they should just be regulators.
I believe it is a good move but I hope those mentioned airports to be concessioned have not been used to borrow money from China? I hope the privatization doesn’t end in the hands of some Nigerian politicians because that is what is done most times, look at electricity for example, after privatizing electricity, Nigerians have seen the worst ever electricity power supply in the country.
This is a welcome development and I will plead with workers of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to embrace the change that the concession will bring forth. It is 30 years now still no improvement in airport services, baggage handling, and boarding in and check-ins. It has always been shambolic and riddled with bribes, even the airports are kept dirty without any efficient system in place.