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Wrong investors, terms may mar planned airport concessions, IATA warns FG

Considering what analysts have seen as previous errors in past infrastructure concession deals of the Federal Government especially in the power sector, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), cautioned the government in rushing the planned concession of four leading international airports in Nigeria.
Recall that before the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s first term of office, the former Minister of State for Aviation, Capt. Hadi Sirika had given clear indication of the government in concessioning four international airports for better management and generation of more income to the government.
The targeted airports include Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt.
Though there had been massive outcry against the move by stakeholders who fingered security implications and wrong terms and conditions that may turn airports to current horrible experiences of Nigerians on the power concessions in the last couple of years.
IATA in its latest caution warned that the key objective of having modern infrastructure at the airports may not be realised if the facilities are given out to wrong investors and on wrong terms. Speaking on the matter at the recent 75th Annual General Meeting of IATA in Seoul, South Korea, the Director General and CEO of IATA, Alexandra de Juniac, recalled that many states in Africa and other parts of the world see privatisation or concession of airport infrastructure as solution to airport modernisation and management.
While noting that ceding the airports to the private sector through concession would enable the investors to expand and modernise the facilities in agreement with the concession terms, he warned government to take time in drafting the terms and conditions for airport concessioning to avoid the back and forth argument in the prevailing concession of some part of Mohammed Murtala International Airport which Bi-Courtney is handing.
Among the major areas of IATA concerns in the planned concession include including terms and conditions that will not create room for obnoxious charge regimes on airlines doing business within them or conditions that will encourage the would be investors not raising the quality of infrastructure but just to be making money.