The Aviation Minister, Princess Stella Oduah has said her ministry accessed $60 million from the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) Fund to form part of the fund utilised in refurbishing the 11 airports in the country, which she said is over 90 per cent completed and would be due for commissioning soon.
She said contrary to speculations, the entire sum in the BASA fund was $74 million, adding that stashing BASA fund in the banks when critical infrastructure challenges required immediate and urgent redress served no one any useful purpose.
According to Joe Obi, the Minister’s spokesman, out of $74 million, former Aviation Minister, Mrs. Fedelia Njeze sought and obtained approval from the Presidency and the National Assembly for the utilisation of $60 million (about N7.5 billion) from the fund for the rehabilitation of infrastructure at the nation’s airports in line with the Civil Aviation Act 2006, but could not access the fund before the end of her stewardship.
He said Oduah initiated fresh processes to access the already approved $60 miilion from the BASA fund to form part of the resources required to execute the remodeling of 11 airports across the country in the first phase, adding that relevant approval from the Presidency and the National Assembly were obtained to access and utilise the fund to address the huge infrastructure challenge in the sector.
Meanwhile, the Oduah has said the restoration of the airfield lighting at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja after the completion of its rehabilitation will boost the confidence of the flying public as well as airline operators.
The Minister, who made the declaration in Abuja yesterday after the inspection and commissioning of the newly rehabilitated airfield lighting project, said Abuja airport has moved one step closer to its certification objectives.
The minister stated that the rehabilitation of the airfield lighting in Abuja is part of the overall effort by the ministry to refurbish and renew the facilities at the airside and terminal buildings across various airports in the country, describing it as “one of the critical safety” initiatives by the ministry.