2017 aviation budget for ongoing projects -Sirika

About 98 percent of the total sum budgeted for capital projects in the ministry of aviation in 2017 budget will be spend on ongoing projects in the ministry, Hadi Sirika, minister of state for aviation has disclosed.

The total 2017 budget proposal for the aviation sector is N22, 014,184,703.02.

Sirika on assumption of duty as minister of aviation, committed to sustaining the infrastructural renewal at the airports by driving the remodeling projects to a logical conclusion.
Speaking to Coaliation of Civil Society Groups in Abuja on Friday, the minister said, “98 percent of 2017 budget for aviation will be spent on completing ongoing project.

“We will push for the establishment of a very robust private sector led and driven national carrier. We will take advantage of all our air service agreements and will be able to offer service and options for Nigerians to bring down the cost of tickets and improve efficiency in the sector.

“The Bilaterl/Multilateral Airspace Services Agreement would be pursued with greater vigour in 2017 to enhance the internally generated revenue of the sector,” Sirika stated.
The minister also explained that the resolve to concession the airports was in line with the manifesto of the All Progressives Congress to change from privatisation of assets to concessions to reduce the weight on government.

“The weight on government is enormous and in our wisdom we think what we should do is to concession the airports to people who have the know-how, financial muscles, the experience, competence, capacity and the ability to come and takeover these airports and rebuild them to world class standard, draw businesses in there and employ more people”, Sirika noted.

On the planed six weeks closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, he said the views expressed in some quarters that work should be done at night or build another runway before the rehabilitation has been taught through adding that the only viable option is what the government has chosen.

“The runway is completely damaged, the architecture has failed and it is a disaster about to happen. I will not fold my arms and allow it to happen while I superintend. If I don’t do anything about it I will be held responsible when the disaster happens”, the minister stressed.

He stated that apart from the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) that has disagreed with the government’s position to close the runway; all other stakeholders including Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) have given a stamp of authority to go on.

He assured that the six weeks period given will not be extended as work will be done day and night to ensure that the six weeks period is kept sacrosanct.

He however called for understanding from all saying, “difficulties will be experienced during that time but it is a sacrifice we must all make.

“We have done studies that show that during the period of closure, 90% of air travelers using the airport will travel once leaving about one percent that will travel every other day or daily, while others will not even travel at all. I am just been generous to say that 90 percent will travel once in six weeks”.

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