By Jonathan Nda- Isaiah, Abuja –
The federal government has approved the concession of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo disclosed this, yesterday at the quarterly presidential forum of the government and private sector stakeholders organised by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Committee (PEBEC) at the presidential villa.
Osinbajo who said the approval was granted by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) noted that the federal government’s main commitment on ease of doing business in Nigeria was to ensure a general overhaul of the business environment, adding that it would involve the concession of all airports in the country.
“First, we want to do a general overhaul. Second, we want to concession all the airports. I am pleased to say that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the concessioning of the Lagos and Abuja airports”, he said.
LEADERSHIP recalls that in October last year, members of the National Union of Air Transport Association Employees (NUATE) and Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) had staged a protest at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, to register their disapproval of the planned concession of major airports across the country.
But the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, assured unions in the aviation industry that the proposed concession of four airports in the country would not lead to job losses.
The vice president stated that partnering with private sector operators was a sensible decision to take at the moment, adding that the move was important because it serves as the forum for the government to receive both criticisms and suggestions from the private sector.
Osinbajo said that government’s commitment on ease of doing businesses in Nigeria was predicated on both evolution plans and capacity building.
He, however, said although the pursuit of enabling business environment might be slow, government will remain focused, a situation he said was responsible for the signing of executive orders with a view to ensuring that things are properly done.
He added that government’s approach to ease of doing business in Nigeria was dynamic.
Delving into the current challenges confronting the power sector, he said, while the country currently generates 6,700 megawatts of electricity, 2000 of it get wasted daily because of problems associated with connection difficulties as well as problems between the transmission and distribution companies.
According to him, distribution companies also expressed their unwillingness to take the 2,000 megawatts because of the unwillingness of some consumers to pay, even as he pledged government commitment to improve infrastructure related to power distribution.
He also said part of the business overhaul initiatives of the government is to ensure the provision of power in some notable business environments such as the Ariaria Market in Aba, Abia State, the printing industry in Somolu, Lagos and Kano market without the necessary connection to the national grid.
He described it as “all sorts of off-grid initiatives to get power”.
Osinbajo also said government was promoting solar power initiative as well as the construction of integrated power plants in nine Nigerian universities to boost power supply.