Moved by the state of infrastructure at airports and the urgent need for improvement, the House of Representatives has said called on the Federal government to create a Consolidated account where the 25 percent remittance by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) would be pooled, in a bid to have long term plan for the development of airports’ infrastructure.
Mr. Nnolim Nnaji, chairman of the Representatives committee on aviation, who led others on oversight visit on tour of Lagos airport, said long term plan was what is needed to save the facilities, adding that one of the reasons for infrastructure decay in that many projects are abandoned one new hands take over the helms of affairs.
He added that in order not continue to beat about the bush, he suggested that FAAN should now have a 10-year developmental plan based on the creation of the consolidated account, to avoid projects being stopped halfway when the Authority has new management.
According to him, there is a need to look at the projects first, belonging to Nigeria and not just FAAN.
“Secondly, we believe FAAN needs funding like every other agencies, part of our plea to Federal government as a way of helping FAAN in the area of infrastructure is that the 25 percent of remittance of FAAN to Federal government is if the government can find a way of creating a consolidated account where the money will be remitted to and create a 10 year developmental plan to enable FAAN come out with a plan on ten years on how to have their infrastructure because it is not about yearly budget, it is also about creating a ten year plan that can help them carry out their projects, projects that will live beyond Managing directors and Directors, because the problems we are having is that MDs will come in and they want to create their projects but If we have a 10 year plan where the Federal government will be involved through the Ministries of Finance and Budgets, we have a consolidated account so that whatever project that is coming will live beyond the management of FAAN, so you look at ten years.
“If you look at what is happening in the country today, the security system is bad on the roads and that is an opportunity to improve on the aviation industry because a lot of people are now looking at the airports. And you cannot talk of investments and businesses without good airports. The very first point of call is the airport for an investor, if we have a good airport, an investor would want to double his investment but if we have bad airports, they will look down on the country and go back with their money. I think the aspect of aviation infrastructure should be very critical, not just to the aviation Ministry or FAAN but to Nigeria. So, we as a committee, we would support FAAN in the area of infrastructure
“It needs funding, improvement of infrastructure is funding, if you see all the projects FAAN mentioned, their budgetary allocation cannot carry it, the IGR cannot carry it, they have a lot of huge burden, we have seen the channelization they are doing, it is funding, the MD said over 50 years ago, nobody has touched that area and they need funding, it is huge burden, We have to look at it beyond Aviation ministry, it is a Nigerian project, we must put our name on the sky”, he said.
Speaking on the debt owed by Arik Air and Aero, Nnaji noted that though, not under the committee’s responsibilities but as stakeholders, the lawmakers will not allow FAAN to carry the burden alone, adding, ‘we are definitely going to pursue it, we also have people in the finance committee and in aviation, they will come together and see it as a huge burden on us and see how we can support FAAN’.
Meanwhile, managing director of FAAN, Capt. Hamisu Yadudu, who reeled out some of the achievements to include but not limited to the certification of Lagos and Abuja airports, construction of series of brand new terminals with ultra-modern facilities at five International airports of MMIA, Lagos; NAIA, Abuja; MAKIA, Kano; Port-Harcourt International Airport and AIIA, Enugu., Remodelling of FAAN training school and subsequent Certification as a training Institute, improvement of Runway End Safety Area at MMIA, Lagos, Repair of Runway and Apron at MMIA and provision of Transit Lounge and hotel at MMIA, noted that despite these modest achievements, FAAN is constrained by capacity and contribution of Airports to revenue generation; bureaucracies, bottlenecks and delays in review of rates/tariff on services; government policy of waiving 65% of gross revenue accruing from annual pilgrimage operations, adding that on an annual basis, between $3Million – $4Million is being waived.
Other constraints, Yadudu noted are Court cases and Litigation instituted against the Authority, adding that some of the litigation resulted in judgment debts which the Authority had to defray, economic challenges, both national and international economic challenges affected airline operators which made them to reduce fleets, frequencies or totally withdrew operations; debts arising from revenue generation e.g Arik and Aero debts, among others.