Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah
Top officials of aviation parastatals will soon meet the Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah, to formally express their opposition against further concession of airport facilities.
THISDAY gathered from executive official of the Air Transport Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) that the agencies decided to stop this because the acclaimed private investors that take on the management of some of these facilities rip off the agencies and add no value.
The official said that the agencies have estimated that they lose conservatively N20 billion annually to such concessions.
The official who is a staff of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) said that over the years it has become clear that those that eventually win the concession bids of most of these concessions have been the cronies of former ministers, former managing directors and those who are teleguided by the Presidency.
“So you see that we have been dealing with the cronies of politicians who don’t have any value to add and they come to milk these organisations and that explains why we in FAAN are grappling with dearth of funds to even pay our salaries.”
The source cited example with a concession that was done about three years ago whereby the concessionaire took charge of the car park at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, managed it for over two years, “collected huge amount of money and never remitted any. And when we took him up on it he only lost the management of the car park gate, but he still left with the huge money he collected.”
The source said that the aviation unions and other senior staff in the industry who have offered to fight the exploitation of the sector would want the Minister to thoroughly study the concessions already done in the past to see how they have benefited the sector “either in terms of revenue or in infrastructure development and see whether it is justifiable giving more concessions to the so called private investors.”
The source also argued that it is extremely unwise to concession major airports like the ones in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano, noting that “these are the cash cows of this industry, especially FAAN; now if you concession them and the concessionaire did not keep to the agreement and remit the expected revenue, what will happen to the agencies. And now, you know that for whatever reason they always fail to keep to the terms of agreement, fronting one big man or another.”
The source also said that the new minimum wage which payment will start at the end of this month would stretch the purse of the agencies so they need all the monies available to them to pay the new salary scale.
The official also noted that most of these concessions are imposed on the agencies “by the power that be” so the agencies would not scrutinize the concessionaires agreements. He added, “but if we are to scrutinize them we must sure that the right organization is given the concessions. But you see, the fact is that they default all the time, we should not even concession our major airports, revenue points and facilities.”