Representatives fault pace of work at MMIA’s new terminal
*Wade into airport concession plan
*FAAN, Caterpillar partner to end power outage at Lagos airport
Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation have expressed concerns on the slow pace of work ongoing at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport new terminal in Lagos.
During the inspection of projects at the airport, the lawmakers were worried that the project would still not be completed by December, for the Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) concession agreement to begin.
In a related development, the committee has pledged to wade into the talks on concession of airports nationwide, to ensure it is in the best interest of all parties.
It would be recalled that the construction work handled by the Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) was initially planned to have been completed in 2015. The delay, as gathered, was due to alleged failure on the part of the Federal Government to pay the counterpart funding of the project.
Leading an 18-man team on oversight function of the facility, Chairman of the committee, Nkiruka Onyejeocha, however, expressed disappointment the work was still far from completion.
Onyejeocha said that with the current pace of work, the project may not be delivered by December as projected.
She said: “They said they won’t be able to deliver by December but I told them to understand that we took loan to build this and the Chinese government is not going to wait for us because agreements have been signed.
“So, the repayment period would start when it would start unless they go back to the drawing board to renegotiate and you know we have three other terminals that we are hopeful would be delivered by December. What it simply means is that Lagos is lagging behind and we would take it seriously.”
On airport concession plan, the chairman said House of Reps will hold a public hearing with stakeholders to discuss the proposed concession of some airport terminals by the Federal Government.
She said the public hearing would give stakeholders the opportunity to make their input.
Onyejeocha said: “I am one person who don’t believe that we should concession the four major airports that we have because I know it is those four airports that are funding the other 18 international airports.
“And of course you have to look at the issue of workers and of course the Nigerian people as a whole. If we concession them and people are going to make money and be okay, why can’t we do it?
“Having said that, I also know that we are going to conduct public hearing where we would take all the issues together, where we would be able to ask Nigerians and of course the key players in aviation industry; the stakeholders including the workers, the press to tell us what you think.
“We would also look at the issues of the concession that has been done in the past. We have to evaluate how has it helped, how did we do it? Did we get any benefit from it? And if we have, then we see where we are going to do the same. If we have not, then why? What are we going to do differently?
“So I believe that very soon, by next week, Nigerian people are going to talk to us on the issue of concession. I don’t want it to be my personal opinion. We are going to listen to Nigerians, we are going to listen to stakeholders, we are going to listen to all aviators and we are going to listen to the Ministry themselves,” Onyejeocha said.
Meanwhile, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and generator manufacturer, Mantrac Caterpillar, have entered into a partnership to end power outage at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos.
The partnership was disclosed when Mantrac Caterpillar’s Vice President for Asia Pacific, Africa and Middle East Distribution Division, Raymond Chan, visited FAAN in Lagos recently.
Managing Director, FAAN, Saleh Dunoma, after joint inspection of FAAN Power House at the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport assured airport users, airlines and stakeholders that the era of power cuts at the airport was over.
Dunoma, who was represented by the Director of Maintenance and Engineering, Femi Ogunode, said that the visit by Caterpillar group, the original manufacturer of the six generators at FAAN Power House, was part of the management’s response to find lasting solution the series of power outages at the airport.
He added that in the event of any power failure, FAAN has these generator backups to power the terminals.
He explained that as part of the long lasting solution to the power outage, the agency had re–routed most of its cable that passed through the construction site adding that FAAN does not expect any power outage to happen again at the terminal.
On what must have been responsible for the frequent power outages at the number one airport terminal in the country, he said: “It could be as a result of system failure on the entire network in the nation and sometimes, we have construction work going on in MMA here, which often lead to our cables being cut and in response to that, we use these generators as backups.”
He added that the visit to FAAN by the manufacturers showed that there is hope for the sector in terms of power improvement. “It goes a long way to say that the relationship between us has been fruitful and the equipment can stand the test of time.