The Senate Committee on Privatisation on Monday revealed plans to summon the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, over the concession of the Muritala Muhammed Airport Terminal 2 and other airports across the country.
The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, who led other members on a tour of the MMA2, said the agreement signed between Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria on the Build, Operate and Transfer of the MMA2 must be adhered to before other airports could be given to private operators as concessions.
He said, “We will summon the Minister of Aviation to the National Assembly to present his side of the argument why the agreement signed under the concession is not being followed.
“Why will you concession an airport and still come to the government to ask for money to fund another facility when you have a private sector organisation already funding it? FAAN is a parastatal under the ministry, so we have no business talking with them. Let the minister explain what is happening and correct the problem.”
Murray-Bruce said the sector would get zero allocation from the Federal Government from next year as the private sector had shown the capability to manage the airports.
He added that if the concession agreement was not implemented, all those who participated in the process should be tried.
He said, “Agreement must be honoured or those who participated must be tried for sabotaging the Federal Government. We have raised the issue with the Attorney General of the Federation; the Senate will insist they are tried.
“We want to protect the integrity of the Federal Government; we will not continue to spend taxpayers’ money on businesses that can be run by the private sector, while Nigerians are hungry.”
According to him, the total disregard for the concession agreement is the major problem the sector is having.
“If you sign an agreement and you refuse to honour it, you frighten people who intend to be involved in the concession game or any other negotiation with the government,” Murray-Bruce added.
He said the Senate would stop the planned concession of other airports until the irregularities with the MMA2 were corrected.
The management of Bi-Courtney had asked the Federal Government to prevail on FAAN to comply with the various court rulings, arbitration proceedings and recommendations regarding the concession agreement, such as the commencement of regional flights from the terminal for which approval had been given previously.
The Chief Executive Officer, Bi-Courtney Limited, Capt. Jari Williams, said the company had lost about 50 per cent of its expected revenue from the concession.
Murray-Bruce said that with the underutilised facilities at the terminal, there was no reason why flights to West African countries should not leave or land at the terminal.
…committee seeks to ban used car importation
The Senate Committee on Privatisation has said it will propose a complete ban on the importation of used cars.
It, therefore, charged local automakers to manufacture affordable and energy-efficient cars for Nigerians so that when the ban was in place, the impact would not be felt.
It added that the automakers and marketers should have a flexible payment plan that stretches for about five years to enable low-income earners to buy.
The Chairman of the committee, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, disclosed this while on an oversight visit to the assembly plant of Volkswagen of Nigeria Automobile Limited in Lagos on Monday.
Murray-Bruce, who was accompanied by the Clerk to the committee, Sadiya Abdullahi, and an official of the Bureau of Public Enterprises, Mrs. Rabbi Yahaya, maintained that there should be at least one million made-in-Nigeria cars available on demand annually.
He said, “We want one million cars a year. Everybody who has a job should have a brand-new car. I will propose a ban on the importation of Tokunbo cars; but first, every Nigerian should be able to buy a brand new car in 10 seconds after we put up the ban, not ban and wait for two years.
“The car manufacturers should make provision for down payment of N250,000 and N30,000 monthly instalments. The vehicle should be fully insured for seven years.
“Another important thing is that the cars being sold in Nigeria are not energy efficient. You (VON) are a distributor for Nissan and the firm has the number one electric car in the world. The electric car should be sold here.”
Responding, the Managing Director, Volkswagen of Nigeria, Mr. Tokunbo Aromolaran, recalled that automakers had pledged to supply Nigerians brand-new cars at the prices they currently bought used cars.
He, however, noted that the automakers needed to establish volume, adding, “We were going to do it at such a scale that we will be able to sell the cars, but the issue was that we needed volume; if we don’t have volume, we cannot do it.”
On the flexible payment plan proposed by Murray-Bruce, the VON MD, who is also the Chairman, Nigerian Automobile Manufacturers Association, said it was possible with the commitment and backing of banks and financial institutions.
He added that energy efficient cars were possible if the infrastructure supported it, noting, “There should be electricity charging points where people can recharge their cars when they are on the road.”
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