Nigeria, China to repair faulty new terminals with extra N140.8b
The delay in the completion of Chinese new terminals at Lagos and Kano airports has been blamed on faulty layout that will cost both Nigeria and China an extra N140.8 billion ($461.8 million) to fix.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, made this disclosure during the recent budget defence at the National Assembly, in response to why the terminal projects stalled.
Recall that in 2013, Nigeria and China inked a loan deal of N152.5 billion ($500 million) to build state-of-the-art terminals at Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano airports – the busiest and most viable aerodromes in the country.
China, in the deal, offered a loan of $400 million at 2.5 per cent interest rate, while the Nigerian government would pay a counterpart fee of $100 million for a project scheduled to run between 12 to 18 months.
While those of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja and Port Harcourt International Airport (PHIA), Omagwa, Rivers State had lately been completed and operating, the Lagos and Kano projects are still being awaited.
The new terminal at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos, has been built. The all glass edifice, on the right-side inwards the old terminal, has in the last two years remained empty – without the fittings. At least three subsequent attempts to have it completed and inaugurated in the three two years have failed.
Sirika, however, told the lawmakers that the delay was being addressed with the approval of funds by the president.
He disclosed that there were serious challenges in building the new terminals. These include changes in structural design of the airports, foundation footing and escalators; provisions for the biggest modern aircraft; change in departure and arrival floors to rhyme with the railway station; provision of adequate power supply to ensure all facilities are put to use, and relocation of the Control Tower and the Fire Service Station.
“The above have resulted in the need for variation and additional works to the tune of $461.8 million, which has been approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC),” Sirika said.
Similar complaints had trailed the terminal at the Abuja airport. Sirika had in 2018 publicly faulted the location of the new terminals, describing them as wrongly placed. The project in Abuja had cost an extra N5 billion to sort out the mess created by the wrong citing.
While the terminal had blocked the control tower and fire service station, the one in Lagos obstructed power cables that supply electricity to the existing international terminal.
Sirika said the China Exim Bank has indicated willingness to consider funding the additional works, and “we have written to the Ministry of Budget and National Planning to provide for the sum of N22.5 billion ($73.9 million) as counterpart fund in 2019, outside the ministry’s proposed budget.”
The president had also approved 50 per cent of the sum, and “in three months, we are expecting the balance of the remaining 50 per cent of the money.”
“For the 2020 budget proposal, we have also approached the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to provide the counterpart funding for remedial or additional works and completion of four Chinese terminals at Kano, Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt. N15.9 billion ($51.8 million) has been approved by Mr. President.”
He added that once the Lagos new terminal building begins operation before the end of the year, the old one would be brought down to pave way for a new structure.
Similarly, he disclosed that the completion date of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu, had been extended, and the airport would be ready for use by April 2020.
He said the contractors were expected to mobilise to site as soon as possible, adding that the president had directed all agencies associated with the smooth work on the airport to work together to ensure it was delivered on time.