- Abuja, Lagos New Terminals to Take Extra N5b
Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has faulted the locations of the new terminals simultaneously under construction at two of the busiest airports in the country, describing them as wrongly sited.
Sirika, who was short of describing the projects as a waste of fund, said the new terminal in Abuja alone would require the sum of N5billion to sort out the mess created by the error in location.
In a related development, more stakeholders have bought into the plan to have airports in the country concessioned to private investors for improved efficiency and profitability.
The minister, who spoke to stakeholders earlier in the week, explained that the current administration was almost at a dilemma on what to do with the terminals at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, and Murtala Muhammed International, Lagos.
This may not be unconnected with their obstructions of other facilities at the two airports. While the terminal in Abuja is directly blocking the control tower and fire station, that of Lagos is sitting on heavy cables that are servicing the entire area.
Recall that the last administration approved the construction of the two terminals, along with two others in a 2003 China and Nigeria loan deal, put at $500million. The projects are handled by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) and ought to have been delivered since March 2015.
Sirika, who was clarifying the status of the Lagos new terminal, said the terminal is part of a loan of $400 million from China and $100 million counterpart funding from Nigeria.
He said: “The Abuja terminal that is nearing completion is blocking the control tower and fire service station. Because it has been built, we need to knockdown the N3billion-worth of control tower and also knock down the fire station, which will cost about N2billion. Same problem with the Lagos terminal that is sitting on heavy cables. That is the situation we have found ourselves.
“If I have that $500 million, I will use it to develop the Murtala Muhammed Airport as hub of aviation in Nigeria and West Africa,” the minister said.
Also recall that the international terminal at MMIA, Lagos, had lately been experiencing power outages, which the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) kept blaming on construction work at the nearby new terminal.
But while the government continues to mitigate effects of the terminals’ poor siting, more stakeholders, except the workers’ unions, have continued to queue behind efforts to reposition the aviation sector, primarily centred on airport concession.
Concession will concede the operation of the airport to a private entity under an agreement with the government.
Latest to endorse the plan are industry players like veteran pilot and Managing Director (MD) of Aeroconsult Capt. Dele Ore, MD of Med-View Airlines, Muneer Bankole and his counterpart at IRS Airlines, Ishiaku Rabiu Ishiaku.
Ore, who led the flurry of buy-ins, said that Sirika is now listening to what they had asked for years and quite commendable.
His words: “We can see that you (Minister) are looking at the recommendations that we have made in the past and are implementing it, but it is not being done totally and we urge you to go back and look at our recommendations and totally implement it.”
Bankole, who looked at it from the aspect of service provision, said all that the airlines wanted was good service and if it takes concession of facilities to achieve it, then so be it.
“In my capacity and on behalf of the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), all we want is service. I speak on behalf of my colleagues. Most of us have been out of the country and know what entails in terms of service delivery.
“We do not get that kind of service here because of the way things are. We need to let you all know that out there, service is provided and if it would take concessioning of airports for us to get the kind of service that would make us at par with others then by all means concession because the status quo is nothing to write home about,” he said.
Ishiaku, on his part, said that the concession plan was an opportunity for Nigeria, as a country, to finally get it right.
He noted that aviation has moved ahead of the country in leaps and bounds, adding that concession, to address the infrastructure deficit, are the way to go, as only then would the country take its place among the comity of aviation nations.
A Public Private Partnership (PPP) expert, Dr. Chukwuma Katchy, however, attributed the failure of previous concession agreements to lack of proper knowledge on how such agreements work.
Katchy observed that some of the concessionaires, who are in the private sector and saw the knowledge-gap on Nigerian side, were smart enough to write the terms of agreement that in most cases favoured them on the long run.
Nigeria’s Real Estate Sector Shrinks by 8.06% in the Third Quarter -NBS
Economic uncertainty plunged Nigeria’s real estate sector by 8.06 percent in the third quarter of the year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Nigeria’s statistics office said “In nominal terms, real estate services recorded a growth rate of –8.06 per cent in the third quarter of 2020, indicating a decline of –11.78 per cent points compared to the growth rate at the same period in 2019, and by 9.12 per cent points when compared to the preceding quarter.
“Quarter-on-quarter, the sector growth rate was 18.92 per cent.
“Real GDP growth recorded in the sector in Q3 2020 stood at -13.40 per cent, lower than the growth recorded in third quarter of 2019 by –11.09 per cent points, but higher relative to Q2 2020 by 8.59 per cent points.
“Quarter-on-quarter, the sector grew by 17.15 per cent in the third quarter of 2020.
“It contributed 5.58 per cent to real GDP in Q3, 2020, lower than the 6.21 per cent it recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2019.”
Nigeria’s economy contracted by 2.48 percent in the first nine months following a 6.10 percent and 3.62 percent contraction in the second and third quarters respectively.
Nigeria Requires N400 Billion Annually to Maintain Federal Roads -Senator Bassey
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on road maintenance, Senator Gersome Bassey, on Friday said Nigeria requires about N400 billion annually to maintain federal roads across the country.
The Senator, therefore, described the N38 billion budgeted for road repairs in the 2021 proposed Budget as grossly inadequate. According to him, nothing meaningful could be achieved by the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) with such an amount.
He said, “For the 35 kilometres federal roads in the country to be motorable at all times, the sum of N400bn is required on yearly basis for maintenance.”
Bassey “What the committee submitted to the Appropriation Committee in the 2021 fiscal year is the N38bn proposed for it by the executive which cannot cover up to one quarter of the entire length of deplorable roads in the country.
“Unfortunately, despite having the power of appropriation, we cannot as a committee jerk up the sum since we are not in a position to carry out the estimation of work to be done on each of the specific portion of the road.
“Doing that without proposals to that effect from the executive, may lead to project insertion or padding as often alleged in the media.”
Scarcity of Day-Old-Chicks Cripple Poultry Farmers in Akwa Ibom
Despite billions of Naira spent on Akwa Prime Hatchery and Poultry Limited by the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, poultry farmers in the state said they had to order day-old-chicks from outside the state as the 200,000 capacity poultry farm developed specifically to make day-old-chicks and other poultry products available at affordable prices is almost empty at the moment.
The farmers expressed frustration over many challenges they face in the course of bringing day-old-chicks from outside the state. Usually, Ibadan, Enugu and sometimes as far as Kaduna, while the hatchery built and inaugurated in 2016 remains idle.
Mr Ekot Akpan, one of the poultry farmers who spoke with the pressmen said the state had not had it this bad.
Akpan said: “For the 12 years that I have been in poultry farming, this is the first time that poultry farmers have been so harshly affected by both economic and non-economic factors. And, quite unfortunately, nobody is available to offer any explanation.
“Farmers have been left at the whims and caprice of owners of the means of production.
“There seems to be no government regulation of the poultry industry. How, do you explain a situation where you wake up suddenly and the price of a day old chick is selling for N600, a bag of feed goes as high as N6,000.
“And, in a state that government claims to be pursuing agriculture as one of his cardinal programmes.
“For instance, in 2016, the state government said it has constructed an hatchery, and the intention according the government was to ensure availability of day old chicks at affordable price to farmers, but, quite, unfortunately, that effort has not yielded any tangible result.
“Farmers are still getting their day old chicks from Ibadan, Kaduna, and Enugu. So, the question now is where is the hatchery?
“One would have expected that farmers would be buying old chicks at humane prices, but, from all indications they acclaimed hatchery is a ruse. So, which one is the Akwa Prime Hatchery producing,” he said.
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