All airports to be free trade zones, says govt

All airports to be free trade zones, says govt
Hadi Sirika

All airports are to be designated free trade and economic processing zones, the Federal Government has said.

It also announced that the next step for the concession of Nigeria’s four major international airports was the placement of request for qualification in the media.

It disclosed this in a document on the status of the road map/public private partnership projects concession of airports, made available to our correspondent in Abuja on Wednesday by the Federal Ministry of Aviation.

“All airports are to be designated as Free Trade/Economic Processing Zones in order to encourage businesses/investments. Process already ongoing for the four major international airports,” the FMA stated.

It added, “Investors in aviation (are) to have pioneer industry status so as to have tax breaks.”

The ministry further stated that the concession of the four major international airports would help fast-track their upgrade, enhance their operational efficiency, profitability and reposition them to operate competitively.

It said the project was being structured as a terminal concession under a public private partnership arrangement between the government and the private sector.

The FMA explained that the private investor would be required to upgrade, manage and operate the airport terminals over the concession period.

It named the airports up for concession as the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos: international and cargo terminals and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja: international, domestic and cargo terminals.

Others are the Port Harcourt International Airport, Port Harcourt: international, domestic and cargo terminals; and Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano: international, domestic and cargo terminals.

On status of the projects, the government said, “Project development phase completed with the development of the Outline Business Case and subsequent issuance of compliance certificate by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission.

“Next step (is the) placement of Request for Qualification in local and international media.”

The document further stated that the plan to establish an aerospace university was still ongoing, as the National Universities Commission had given the requirements.

It said the ministry would develop a concept note to be forwarded to NUC for consideration.

It added that the development of cargo/agro-allied airport terminals was being done to take advantage of the high value agricultural products potential of Nigeria.

In a related development, the Federal Government has said four River Basin Development Authorities are to be partially commercialized.

Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, said this was part of the reform of the nation’s RBDAs to seek alternative sources of funding to shore up their revenue base and make them self-reliant.

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