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Additional $400m needed to complete new Abuja airport terminal—Minister

After expressing disappointment over the inability of the contractor handling the new Abuja Airport terminal, the Minister of State for Transportation, Capt. Hadi Serika revealed that even though power shortage had a hand in the delays, the job is still in need of additional $400m to be delivered before the end of second quarter.

Business Hilights gathered during the takeoff of the scheme that the project is being funded through 500 million dollars loan from Chinese EXIM bank and 100 million dollars counterpart funding from Nigerian government.

Giving some insights after an inspection tour of the facility, he said “We had earlier said that we will be able to deliver this project by December 2017 and unfortunately, we are now in January and the project has not been delivered. So, we’ve come here to find out from the contractors and consultants what could be the hindrance.

“The quality of work is acceptable, the pace of work is not acceptable. This project should have been delivered earlier than now and the contractor has just been repeating what he said earlier about some of the challenges he’s been facing.”

Sirika listed other challenges of the contractor, saying “You have the problem of linking the new terminal and the old terminal; the problem here in Abuja of blocking the control tower, in which those in the control tower cannot see the other side of the airport and this is a safety issue.

“Also, you have the fire service blocking access to the terminal building, making it very difficult for aircraft to manoeuvre and to utilise the apron. And also, there is the inadequate nature of the apron itself and the absence of electricity to power the building. There is the issue of sewer and water, which are all part of the challenges.”

However, he decried the preliminary procurement process for the airport, noting that the already built facility had distorted the master plan of the airport.

According to him, “I am very disappointed that all of these problems were not factored in during the planning stage of this procurement. However, it is something that we are going to think of how to utilise it with all these shortcomings. For sure, a huge amount of procurement is needed to right the wrongs.

“To provide power, sewer, water, extra apron and move the control tower, fire service, as well as link the old and new terminals, etc., is a huge work. I’m not going to say we will deliver on a particular date, because the problem is huge and needs funding. You are aware that this procurement is a loan of about $500m from China and Nigeria’s counterpart funding was $100m.

“So, it’s a $600m procurement and from the initial numbers I’m getting on how to get to the end of this procurement, the numbers are in excess of $400m, which is additional. However, they (contractors) just told me that between now and March, they should be able to get some parts of the airport functional, but with a caveat that we should be able to deliver power, water, etc,” the Minister averred.

However, Jack Li, Managing Director, Chinese Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC), said the work was about 88 per cent completed, decrying that the cause of the delay was occasioned by external factors not included in the contract, adding that it was the responsibility of the government to make provision for the power and water supply.