Industry operatives and other stakeholders in the aviation industry have endorsed the planned concession of airport facilities even as they warned that government must be carried conducted in a sincere and transparent manner.
Speaking at a one day stakeholders forum held at the Sheraton Hotel and Suites, notable aviation industry players, among them Captain Dele Ore, Managing Director of Medview Airline, Alhaji Muneer Bankole and the Managing Director of IRS Airlines, Alhaji Ishiaku Rabiu Ishiaku gave their support for the concession plan.
According to veteran pilot, Ore, the Minister has started implementing what operatives in the industry have been demanding for year.
“We can see that you (minister) are looking at the recommendations that we have made in the past and are implementing it but it is not being done totally and we urge you to go back and look at our recommendations and totally implement it” he said.
Also, Bankole told the gathering that all the airlines wanted was good service and if it takes concession of facilities to bring that about then so be it.
“On my capacity and on behalf of the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), all we want is service. I speak on behalf of my colleagues. Most of us have travelled out of the country and know what obtains at other airports of the world in terms of service delivery.
We do not get that kind of service here because of the way things are. We need to let you all know that out there, service is provided and if it would take concessioning of airports for us to get the kind of service that would make us at par with others then by all means concession because the status quo is nothing to write home about,” he said.
While advising all stakeholders to back the planned concession, the Managing Director of IRS Airlines, Alhaji Ishiaku Rabiu Ishiaku said that this was an opportunity for Nigeria as a country to get it right finally.
According to him, aviation has advanced beyond the country and concession may be the only way to address the infrastructure deficit so Nigeria should take advantage of it.
A Private, Public Partnership (PPP) expert, Dr. Chukwuma Katchy, however, attributed failure of previous concession projects to lack of proper knowledge on how such agreements work.
In his presentation titled, Public, Private Partnership: Issues and challenges, Katchy said previous concession plans failed because most Nigerians, at that time had no good knowledge of the rudiments of concession arrangements.
Katchy observed that some of the concessionaires who are in the private sector were smart enough to write the terms of agreement, which in most cases favours them in the long run.
“Past concession plans failed because of lack of knowledge. Again, the concessionaires were able to write concession agreements to their own favour,” he said urged government not to be discouraged by the past mistakes.