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Stakeholders blame industry’s woes on policy summersaults


The Chairman of Bi-Courtney Nigeria Limited, Wale Babalakin

The Chairman of Bi-Courtney Nigeria Limited, Wale Babalakin

THE Chairman of Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited, Dr. Wale Babalakin has attributed the problems of the aviation industry to consistent policy summersaults by successive administrations at the centre.

Babalakin made the disclosure yesterday in Lagos at a seminar organised by the Aviation Round Table, ART, with the team ‘Airport Ownership, Viability, Safety and Security of Nigerian Airports.

He specifically pointed out that in the past 10 years, the industry has had 10 ministers who came with different ideas and policies, wondering how government’s policy could be consistently followed and attained by this continued of ministers.

He recalled that several privatisation exercises had either been truncated or enmeshed in controversies due to inconsistence in government’s policies, stressing that this had made Public Private Participation, (PPP), unattractive to prospective investors while others were forced out halfway in their agreement.

Babalakin insisted that airport development could only take place under a well-articulated system, noting that players in the sector must develop the rule of law to improve resolution process.
Babalakin called for the classification of the country’s 22 airports into four zones namely; Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano for more productivity.

He noted that, “The present structures we have on ground cannot deliver on airport development. For us to develop our airports, they should be divided into zones, which would make them viable and effective. If you have a well-negotiated agreement, you may begin to give hope to airport development in Nigeria.
“The government should know that agreements with private organisations is a long term contract every contrary statement is a summersault to investors that will scare them away. Nigeria is a potentially wealthy country, but the airport development can only take place under a well-articulated system. We need to stop bickering, rumour mongering if we want to improve our aviation industry.”

The Chairman of the occasion, Mr. Tunde Fagbemi challenged the government and industry players to leapfrog the nation’s aviation industry to the world stage.

He lamented that over the years, successive administrations had reneged on their policies with investors in the sector, which had led to decay in the airports infrastructure and equipment.
He alleged that industry regulators were regulating the industry players to extinction, warning that if this continued, the entire industry would be in comatose.

He noted that his company, Maevis Nigeria Limited turned around passengers’ facilitation processes at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Lagos airport even when most thought it could not been done, stressing that with private participation, the arrival hall of MMIA, would take over 10 million passengers annually, rather than the present 1.8 million per annum.

Earlier, the Chairman, ART, Mr. Gbenga Olowo in his presentation posited that redemption of the sector remained a mirage, stressing that the government should develop airports either by private or public sector.
“When infrastructure rises, we see it. We are in a country where privatization will work. It needs to be well-packaged,” he said.

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