By Patience Danjuma
Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has said that the Federal Government will not change its mind on the concession of airports in the country.
The Minister made this statement while addressing State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday.
The Federal Government had announced the concession of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos; Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja; Aminu Kano Airport, Kano and Port Harcourt Airport.
Sirika told reporters that government could no longer sustain the funding of the 22 airports in the country.
“The money is not there. We intend to get private sector to come and put in their money,” he said.
“Murtala Muhammed airport was built to cater for 200,000 people per annum but today it is doing eight million. The toilets and lifts in the airport were meant to serve 200,000 people per annum but now it is serving eight million per annum. There is no single addition on that airport and we are growing as a people.
“At the time it was built, we were 60 million people. Today, we are 173 million. And we cannot continue to let the airport be like that and we do not have the money to invest and develop it.
“At a time the concessioning of some government assets started, we were not knowledgeable in what concession entails but today, we have the knowledge and it will be transparently done with active participation of workers in both the delivery and the steering committees to drive this process.
“It will go through concession, to give to some individuals who will build, operate, maintain, sustain, make money and government will also make money in the process and return to government after a number of years between 20 to 25 years. This will be transparently done, this is the catch phrase, so we are proceeding.”
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