Nigeria needs $5B for futuristic airport-AfDB

Why we may not invest in Nigeria’s aviation-Musa

Unless Nigeria addresses the massive gridlock on the Murtala Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos and the inability to connect the domestic terminal by rail, African Development Bank (AfDB) said it may not invest in the aviation sector at least for now.

The Bank stated that with Nigeria’s God given natural and human resources, and a solid leapfrogging plan and strategy, the country should be aiming for a futuristic airport of $2 to $5bn.

It also stated that with huge population of the country, the nation has the market and geographic position to make and realize such aspirations.

This is coming as the Federal Government is shopping for investors four of the nation’s airports in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port-Harcourt.

The bank said that the Federal Government needed to address this challenge and also wanted the government to ensure connectivity between the local and the international terminals.

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A representative of AfDB.  Mr. Patrick Musa made the statement on Thursday in Lagos at the Colloquium 2019 with the theme: ‘Airport Concession and Options for Airport Development in Nigeria.’

Musa explained that in the latter part of 2017, the Federal Government had approached the AfDB to invest in the country’s aviation industry and tabled before it the government’s roadmap for the sector.

Musa explained that while the bank found the Lagos airport viable to invest in, it however identified two challenges; metro and lack of connectivity, which may dissuade investors from investing in the project.

Apart from Lagos, Musa also said that Abuja and Port Harcourt airports are viable enough to sustain themselves, but expressed fear that the aeronautical revenues of Kano airport may not sustain it unless the non-aeronautical revenues were developed.

He said: “We found Lagos airport very viable, but we have two issues of metro to the airport and the fact that the international and local terminals have no link.

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“Abuja airport has lots of lands and Port Harcourt airport is viable too, but, the only issue we had was with Kano airport, which we think is not viable enough. However, the non-aeronautic revenues can be deployed to boost the airport.”

Earlier, in his welcome address, Mr. Simon Tumba, the organiser of the event, lamented that the states of major airports in Nigeria had been in deplorable conditions for over a decade despite the efforts of the government to revamp them.

He noted that the Federal Government had made investments to enhance the customer experience in these airports, stressing that Nigeria was still lagging behind.

 

Caption: From left to right: Tamba Musa(Transport Desk AfDB); Nnolim Nnaji (Chairman, House of Representative Committee on Aviation); Simon Tumba (CEO/Publisher Nigeria Travels Smart); Captain Dapo Olumide (CEO Ropeways Transport Limited) and Ali Magashi (CEO Kitari Consult Limited) at the NTM Colloquium with theme, “Airport Concession and Options for Airports Development in Nigeria” held in Lagos today.

 

For instance, he said that the Federal Government had approved the sum of N14bn ($40m) to renovate the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, alone but noted that the sum was too little to for an emerging market like Nigeria.

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To be able to meet up to global standards, Tumba charged the government to explore a Public Private Partnership (PPP) and concession the nation’s airports carrying along the workforce of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).

He added: “With Nigeria’s God given natural and human resources, and a solid leapfrogging plan and strategy, we should be aiming for a futuristic airport of $2 to $5bn. We have the population, the market and geographic position to make and realize such aspirations.

“The aviation unions who are averse to concession of our airports are merely shooting themselves in the foot, and in the long run, may end in regret and bitter cries.”

 

Wole Shadare