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End to FAAN, Bi-Courtney airport concession crisis underway as ICRC wades in

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After years of disagreements, the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) has begun a peace process that will end the dispute rocking the concession of Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two, Lagos by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited.

Acting Director-General of the ICRC, Chidi Izuwah, during a monitoring visit to the MMA2 and the hotel and conference centre, said the commission was engaging the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, on the challenges and believed that they would be resolved soon.

Business Hilights recalls that the MMA2 was awarded to BASL in 2003 as a public-private partnership project on Build, Operate and Transfer basis, but has since been enmeshed in a legal battle following disagreements between both parties on aspects of the agreement, including the tenure.

While stressing that his commission saddled with the responsibility of monitoring and ensuring the efficient execution of all PPP projects entered into by the Ministries, Departments and Agencies on behalf of the Federal Government, Izuwah noted that ICRC will continue to have updates from the parties on the performance of every concession.

ICRC boss noted further that “We want to listen to both parties as an independent regulator; we want to physically assess the situation and challenges on ground in order to better appreciate the positions by FAAN and Bi-Courtney, and thereafter suggest possible line of action in resolving these issues”.

“We are interested in having an update from the parties on the performance of the related projects; we want to understand the challenges facing the operators as well as the grantor of the contracts and the various steps taken towards resolving these challenges; we want to hear from the parties their requests to the government in ensuring the projects are efficiently implemented for the overall benefits to the government.”

In his response, the Chairman of Resort Group, parent company of BASL, Dr. Wale Babalakin, said it was an erroneous to conceive that Bi-Courtney drafted the agreement of MMA2 and was given the concession without due process.

He therefore advised ICRC to study all documents on the issue and effect a handover of the General Aviation Terminal to his firm, which is under dispute between FAAN and BASL, and effect the payment of all arrears accrued since the legal operation of the facility began.

Babalakin argued further that “If Nigeria wants to encourage private sector participation in the infrastructural development of the country, it must abide by international regulations; government and its agencies must respect and abide by concession agreements”.

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