Nigerian airports operating at suboptimal level-FG


  • Proposes, 30 years concession for Lagos, Abuja airports, others
  • Denies selling aerodromes



The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika has again explained reasons the Federal Government took the decision to concession some of the country’s airports, saying that although the airports have huge potential, they are currently operating at a sub-optimal level.

Some of the airports considered for concession are Lagos, Abuja, Port-Harcourt, Kano and Enugu which sources said have reached advanced stages of concession.

To this end, the Federal Government is proposing between 20 and 30 years programme for the would-be concessionaire, stating that infrastructure concessions of this nature come with a significant financial obligation which any responsible concessionaire will no doubt be keen to recoup.


Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos

The Federal Government however gave a condition that the duration may be extended depending on performance and Nigeria’s best interest but equally noted that the duration is not set in stone and will be subject to negotiation and then final approval by the Federal Executive Council.

 The minister who spoke through the Director of Media, Ministry of Aviation, Dr. James Odaudu stated that the Federal Government was starting with the most strategic assets because successful delivery of this concession programme would give all stakeholders the confidence required to consider other possibilities in the sector.

The concession he said applies to the non-aeronautic assets of the airports located in the Passenger and Cargo terminals, stressing that they are thus comprised of the assets from the entry door of the airport to the point of embarking aplane, and from deplaning to the exit doors.

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This space commonly referred to as the Passenger terminal is comprised of retail spaces, waiting and seating areas, airport and airline lounges, baggage collection, check-in counters as well as administrative offices, while the Cargo terminals are comprised of the facilities between the point of entry and up to loading and off-loading points, including administrative offices within said facilities.

The Minister put to rest the argument that the airports are planned to be sold, explaining, “There shall be no change in the ownership structure of the airports involved in this programme. What has been mandated by the Federal Executive Council is a concession programme.


Port-Harcourt International Airport, Amagwa

The decision of the government to settle for concession rather than outright selling of the assets is because of tremendous national importance from an economic and security perspective; adding, “We believe it remains in Nigeria’s best interest to maintain ownership for this reason”.

“A concession is governed by a concession agreement whereby two parties – a private sector investor and a Public sector owner of an asset enter into an agreement that gives the Private sector investor the right to operate said asset for a specific business and within the Government’s jurisdiction, subject to certain terms that are agreed upon by both parties during the negotiation and contracting phase.  “It is thus a form of Public-Private Partnership whereby there is no transfer of equity between the contracting parties”.

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He however denied conflict of interest between the planned concession and China construction giant, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC).


Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja

“There is no conflict. China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) was contracted to deliver a number of infrastructure projects throughout Nigeria in 2013. The Passenger Terminal development works are a small part of this, and the Federal Government has every intention to service its obligation”.

On how to select preferred bidders for the airports to be concessioned, the Minister disclosed that the infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC)– the institution that oversees all concession and Public-Private-Partnerships in Nigeria had clearly laid out processes governing a transaction like this.

The Transaction Advisors – a coalition of independent and reputable organisation, he said have been mandated by the Ministry of Aviation (having received approval from the Bureau of Public Procurement for their appointment) to drive this process transparently, ensuring that regulations laid out by the ICRC are followed whilst also ensuring that Nigeria gets the best partner(s) and deal possible given the unique attributes of the assets to be concessioned.

“We now have OBC Certificates of Compliance from the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission. We are currently finalizing the documents required for the procurement phase, after which we will commence the next stage of the process, i.e. publishing a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) – a critical phase of the public procurement process. The RFQ will give interested parties, local and international, ample time to prepare their submissions. Once the deadline for submission has been crossed, we will then begin the pre-qualification process. Only Pre-qualified parties will be invited to respond to a Request for Proposal (RFP), which will also be published as per ICRC guidelines and general best practice in Public Procurement”, he said.

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Sirika further stated that the Ministry of Aviation was focused on driving a transparent and competitive process that will deliver the very best long-term partner(s) and outcomes for Nigeria.

“There are not many companies with the qualifications, experience and financial resources required to run assets like the ones up for concession so whilst we do expect Nigerian companies, or consortium comprised of groups of Nigerian investors, we expect the process to receive significant attention from the international community, perhaps in partnership with qualified and capable local companies and investors”, he noted.

Wole Shadare