EXPERT URGES FG TO CONCESSION NIGERIA'S AIRPORTS
By Daniel Eteghe & Okebugwu Chinomnso
Federal Government has been urged to concession all the domestic and international airports in the country on grounds that it will be the only way through which more revenue can be generated to the coffers of the government.
Managing Director, Belujane Konzult, Mr. Chris Aligbe made the call yesterday during a chat with newsmen at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Lagos advising the government to invite private investors to invest in the sector.
Aligbe noted that the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) lacks the capacity to manage all the twenty two airports across the country stressing that FAAN as an organization was not financially stable to manage the airports.
According to him, 'All Nigerian airport starting with the seemingly most profitable of them, Murtala Muhammed Airport Lagos should be concession, all of them should be concession, all Nigerian airports'
'I say this because that is the way the mammoth fund required to bring our airports to what they should be because that funds cannot come from the government and therefore, we need to get this money from where it is, luckily the minister is a business woman so she understands what we are talking about in this business' he affirmed.
'You cannot do a central management of 22 airports from one point. It will never work, even if you fly an angle into that place to manage it, there is no way it will work'
The Former General Manager, Public Affairs unit of the defunct Nigerian Airways further noted that the government could grow the aviation industry by simply using the money from the private investors adding that most airports across the world were owned by private investors.
'Government should call in the private sector, the question of national asset, who owns Gatwick airport; you are aware that a Nigerian is involved in those who bought up Gatwick airport in the UK, who owns Heathrow airport?
It is a Spanish company that owes British Airports Authority, check worldwide airports are not really owed by the government but what the government does is efficient operation and the money that comes from the airports some of them will go back to the government because government will make real money if the airports are functioning well in private hands' he stressed.
On the issue of policy formation in the sector, Mr. Aligbe noted that the aviation industry lacks a policy frame work to enable it function as it ought to stating that it is one of the bane of the industry.
'The time has come for us to put in place a sector specific policy for the aviation industry and it is not just the ministry alone because when we say this, we think it is only the ministry, nowhere is the legislature, the major problem that we have today is that there is no document, there is no document on which all actions, all policies in the aviation industry will be based on'
'Up till today, there is no sector specific reform for the aviation industry, there is none, while the reforms were going on, there is no sector specific reform and because there is no sector specific reform anybody whether he is appointed will try to do his or her best, try to put one thing or the other in place and that is why we don't have a cohesive aviation industry, where every place is properly linked, the airline, the airports, they are not properly linked in terms of the policy perspective' he affirmed.