Int’l airport operators jostle for Nigeria’s airports’ concession- Minister

  • Process reaches next stage as qualification phase closes

 

The concession of four major airports in Nigeria is moving rapidly as the Ministry of Aviation, in line with the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (establishment, etc.) Act, 2005, and global best practice have concluded the Request For Qualification (RFQ) which came to a close today.

The four major airports slated for concession are the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA), Kano and the Port-Harcourt International Airport, Port-Harcourt.

 

Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos

This is coming as Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika disclosed that the amount of response to the request for pre-qualification by highly reputable international airport operators across the globe is indicative of the level of confidence that people have in the country’s concession programme, and,  by extension, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

He hinted that the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) phase of the Nigeria Airport Concessions programme (NACP) came to a close at 15:00HRS Local Time (Nigeria), October 25th, 2021, stressing that the deadline, announced on September 13, 2021, after close deliberations with ICRC and the transaction advisers, allowed for a four-week extension in response to numerous requests from would-be bidders.

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Consequently, the Ministry of Aviation, the Transaction Advisers, and the Project Steering Committee have duly notified the ICRC of the milestone, and have now stopped receiving submissions in response to the published RFQ according to the Minister.

 

Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja

His words, “Like we promised from the onset, we remain committed to ensuring the highest level of transparency and accountability till the end of the process. This is because we believe that the programme is in the best interest of Nigerians as a people, and Nigeria as a nation”.

On the next step of the programme, the Minister who described the process as a ‘multistage programme’ stated that the RFQ stage would be followed with a Request For Proposal (RFP) which shall be published and sent directly to qualified bidders for their response.

Qualified bidders, he noted shall be announced once the bid opening committee has received, opened and reviewed each submission based on the detailed Terms of reference (TOR) and RFQ guidelines contained in the RFQ bidders package (available on www.nacp.aviation.gov.ng).

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Kano Airport terminal

The Minister encourages all participants who have responded to the RFQ to ensure that they continue to refer to the NACP website – www.nacp.aviation.gov.ng, where all updates and relevant documentation, including updated FAQ can be found.

The Federal Government had made the concession of four of the big airports one of its cardinal projects as the government felt the best way to cease funding of airport projects was to hand it to the private sector while it concentrates its efforts on more critical infrastructure and other needs.

Sirika had early this year explained that the decision to concession the airports was to ensure that the government was relieved of control of the aviation facilities.

He also assured industry workers, especially those of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) that no worker would lose his or her job on account of the exercise.

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According to the minister, the concession is a step in the right decision as it will boost the nation’s earnings.

He disclosed that the Murtala Muhammed Airport terminals would bring investment worth over N30 billion annually, which would be aided by the construction of a rail line to link both the domestic and international terminals.

The minister, however, informed the meeting that there was an urgent need for infrastructure investments and modernisation, saying the facilities required investments in runway maintenance, among others.

 

Port-Harcourt airport terminal

“There is relatively low asset utilisation due to the limited opening hours of other smaller Nigerian airports; lack of terminal capacity as the airports fall short of gates, stands, and check-in desks.

“The airports have not been designed as international hubs but operate separate international and domestic terminals,” he said.

Wole Shadare