IF the words of Minister of State(Aviation), Senator Hadi Sirika is anything to go by, then the end is nowhere in sight for the ongoing tsunami at the parastatals under the Ministry of Aviation.This is just as the aviation ministry is set to reposition the Aviation Security (AVSEC) apparatus of FAAN into something akin to the United States Transport Security Agency (TSA) as the approval has been given for that.
The minister who spoke at the weekend during a stakeholders’ forum organized at the Sheraton Hotels and Suites affirmed that the ongoing restructuring at the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) is far from over and that the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) are next.
Already, government has started redeploying, re-assigning, demoting and even terminating appointments of staff in what it calls improper placement of staff at these agencies especially in FAAN where the workers have felt the full impact of the restructuring.
According to Sirika, the restructuring became imperative because of the top-heaviness in these agencies with a combined total of 88 general managers on grade level 17 and above on the payroll especially those unqualified as.
He said that government was handling the restructuring in phases and this will go around leaving a leaner and more effective agency instead of the over-bloated workforce that has provided little or no impact in the system.
Sirika also while fielding questions at the forum clarified issues on the planned concession and the Chinese funded terminal which he said had no effect on each other.
He stated that the Chinese funded terminal was not a concession or Build Operate and Transfer(BOT) but a loan, stating that both were not contradicting the same purpose.
“The Chinese terminals are not BOTs. It was a loan of which the Chinese provided $500million and Nigeria provided $100million counterpart funding. Even at that the biggest of those terminals will be doing 1.5million passengers annually but what we are looking at is different and larger.”
“The terminals were done,’kudos to the originators’ to the best of their thinking as the one in Abuja we will have to move it as it is blocking the control tower and the fire service. But we already are building and we have to put it to use. The same story in Lagos too.”
He said government after this faux pas has been committed would spend nothing less than $30million dollars to move the fire service and another $40million to move the control tower and this is not economical.
He added further that the planned concession if done transparently, real and genuinely with stakeholders’ buy-in will work and that as a minister he has an open door policy and was willing to trade ideas to improve the plans and make it better.
He further went on to declare that if anyone takes advantage of the concession for personal gain that he should be held responsible as the bulk lies on his table.
Minister also said plans are underway to transform the Aviation Security (AVSEC) of FAAN into something akin to the United States Transport Security Agency (TSA) as the approval has been given for that.
“Our aviation security is laughable and we now have approval to reposition the AVSEC to take the shape of the TSA of the USA, fully-kitted, well-trained, well-educated with firearms. We have the approval and have gone to the Ministry of Interior to enquire what is needed we are engaging then in an inter-ministerial capacity and when we iron it all out, you will see the changes.”