Nigeria’s Aviation Ministry has said plans are in place to concession four of the country’s airports which will enable private investors to own, operate and recoup investments in the Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano airports.
The private operators are expected to run the airports for 20 to 30 years which could be extended depending on performance and “Nigeria’s best interest” subject to negotiation and approval by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
In 2016, the FEC approved concession of the four major airports to have them run efficiently and profitably.
In response to questions on the project, released by Director of Media, Ministry of Aviation, James Odaudu said the Federal Government was starting with the most strategic asset because successful delivery of the programme would give stakeholders the confidence to consider other possibilities in the sector.
He said the concession applied to the non-aeronautic assets of the airports located in the passenger and cargo terminals.
“There shall be no change in the ownership structure of the airports involved in this programme. What has been mandated by FEC is a concession programme.
“The decision of the government to settle for concession, rather than outright selling of the assets, is because of tremendous national importance from economic and security perspectives. We believe it remains in Nigeria’s best interest to maintain ownership for this reason.
“Infrastructure concessions of this nature come with a significant financial obligation which any responsible concessionaire will no doubt be keen to recoup.
“To this end, we envisage a minimum of 20) to 30 years for the programme, which may be extended depending on performance and Nigeria’s best interests. That said, the duration is not set in stone and will be subject to negotiation and then final approval by the Federal Executive Council.”
By Abel Ejikeme