The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has written to Nigerian President, Muhammad Buhari, tendering a professional alternatives to the planned concession of four of the nation’s most viable airport. Stating that the current handling of the process and drive is not professional and would only end up enriching a few to the detriment of the country’s progress.
Explaining the alleged motive behind the concession, NLC has also warned the Federal Government that it will resist vehemently if the latter goes ahead with its December 2020 deadline to consummate the process without reconsidering the facts.
In the letter dated October 8, 2020 and signed by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, the union appealed that government considers other viable and sustainable ways of managing airports and attracting new capital for expansion and development.
It highlighted ideas like Green Field Concession and Corporatization or full autonomy of FAAN instead of the planned concession which would end up adding no value at all to the airports being concessioned for 20 years while some private pockets are filled.
Wabba’s letter read in part, “First, is the Green Field Concession where investors are invited to make fresh investments in a clearly delineated areas of deficit in our airports infrastructure including terminal expansion, runway expansion and upgrading of critical aviation equipment and facilities. Such investments should be recouped from the additional revenue from the patronage and services accruing from the use of the upgraded facilities.”
“Another alternative is to corporatize FAAN. Here government should retain 45% equity share while the remaining 55% is broken down for public acquisition. This is the model adopted in such climes as South Africa in a similar situation as we. This would help build investor confidence while assuaging the concerns of labour.
“Another way to optimize infrastructure layout, service delivery, revenue generation and served markets is to ensure the complete autonomy of FAAN as is the case in Ethiopia. This should be void of political meddlesomeness which has been the bane of the efficient performance of Nigeria’s aviation sector,” the NLC wrote.
The NLC also said the planned concession was to maximize profit for a few individuals at the expense of tax payers and that the fine lines in the tender documents exempts the would-be concessionaire(s) from improving any facility at the airports in the next 25 years.
It alluded to a potential hemorrhage of government revenue, industrial crisis which will follow the massive layoff of workers stating that there is no compelling reason to gift away national assets to private hand who would not improve on what is all through their stay as concessionaires.
Wabba statement in part read, ”It is important to note that when our airports especially the ones earmarked for concession were in states of eyesore and dilapidation, private capital did not invest towards their rehabilitation.
“It would be a grand insult to the collective sensibilities of the Nigerian public for government to invest huge public funds into the reconstruction and rehabilitation of our airports and hand them over to private sector players for profit maximization at the expense of the tax- paying public.”
The NLC also puts FAAN’s current revenue generation into account stating that the airport manager currently generates enough to pay N70 billion into the coffers of government annually.
“ As it is, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) currently generates about N100 billion into the coffers of the government yearly. When FAAN expenditure of about N30billio is removed from the net income of N100billion generated by it, there is a handsome N70billion left to government to re-invest in the maintenance and upgrade of our airports.”
The Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA) Kano and the Port Harcourt International Airport (PHIA) Omagwa have been scheduled for concession by government as announced by the Minister, Senator Hadi Sirika.