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NAIA Abuja

Abuja airport 2nd runway construction runs into murky waters of funding crisis

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Indications emerged Wednesday that pace of work has dropped tremendously at the ongoing construction of the second runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA) due to poor release of funding from the federal government.

Before the beginning of the scheme, government had considered leaving the job for the concessionaire, but later made a U-Turn to construct it ahead of concessioning.

Business Hilights Bureau Chief in Abuja, who spoke with a top official of the handling company under anonymity, said the runway is estimated to cost about N67bn but was economical with words on amount already given to them for works.

Trouble seems to have started for the scheme based on the discovery that the project only had a budgetary allocation of N10bn which is a far cry from the total cost even though the same scheme had N18bn provision in the prevailing 2017 budget.

Both 2017 and 2018 allocations put together cannot deliver the runway project; hence the scheme may be abandoned midway.

It would be recalled that during his ministry’s budget defence at the National Assembly last week, the Minister of State for Transportation, Sen. Sirika decried paucity of fund stemming from low budgetary allocation from the 2017 Appropriation Act.

Though the final architecture of the second runway is being awaited so that the real cost can be ascertained, consultants have been appointed to do the technical and engineering designs of the runway.

Some of the modern facilities coming with the second runway include the category one instrument landing system (ILS) and other modern navigational aids. Also, it will be more rugged but may still be 3,600 meters (3.6km).

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