The Minister of Aviation’s declaration at the just concluded stakeholders’ forum to concession the nation’s four highest revenue generating airports in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt has met with criticisms as it has been described not only as ill-timed but economically unwise.
A stakeholder who pleaded anonymity also told Nigerianflightdeck that the move does not make economic sense as it is aimed at giving out the revenue generating airports and leaving the unviable airports for the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to manage.
Also he argued that with all the monies pumped in to improve airport infrastructure, why would government not concession it before it started investing monies to rejuvenate the airports even a little stating that there was a lot more at work and soon the concessionaires would start talking from both sides like what happened in the power sector.
He said,” I call on the minister to look out for opportunistic hawks, those who want to buy up this country at no price and inflict hardship on the people like what is currently happening in the power sector where people are paying for disservice.”
“You do not give up the goose that lays the golden egg. And one thing is for certain, concessions in these neck of the woods have shown how truly selfish some people are as there are no frameworks or guidelines to follow leading to the chaos currently at the Lagos airport where terminal operator is fighting airport operator.”
Another aviation stakeholder and the publisher of Aviation safety and Security magazine Alhaji Abdulyakeem Umar, this concession, if it takes place will lead to serious job losses in an economy where businesses have been cutting their losses.
Umar who reacted to the planned concession of the four viable airports in the country advised the government to drop the idea stating that it will be wrong for government to concession only four viable airports leaving the 17 non-viable ones that depended on the only four viable ones to survive.
Umar declared “it is totally wrong to concession airports because only four viable ones in Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt and Kano have been selected. What happens to the 17 other non-viable ones that depend largely on these four airports? Anybody taking the four airports should go with the liabilities of the 17 non-viable ones”
Umar advised government to improve on Yola, Jos, Akure and Makurdi airports by designating them as agro-airports to boost the evacuation of farm produce.
He said the move was aimed at killing FAAN and sending workers into unemployment market as it was in the case of the liquidated Nigeria airways, adding that the government has been wasting human resources especially manpower.
Umar called on Senator Hadi Sirika as an aviator to stamp his feet on ground and take far reaching decisions aimed at developing the aviation sector in the country.
He urged the minister to consult the Aviation Round Table (ART) team for the way forward in the aviation sector by tapping from their wealth of their experience.
Umar called for the total restructuring of the aviation sector to achieve development adding that some management staff have no business in the sector.