Posted on September 27, 2017
The Federal Government could lose a lot of money if the concession of airports across the country is not done properly, experts have said.
The Senior Partner of a firm of chartered surveyors, estate surveyors and valuers, Nelson Thorpe Alonge, Mr. Victor Alonge, told our correspondent that while concession was the right way to go, the government must follow due process, with consultation and inclusion, or it could lose money perpetually should the process go wrong.
According to him, the government should not come with the attitude that they know everything but rather make deliberate effort to engage relevant stakeholders including experts, unions and even passengers.
Alonge said, “We need to have more information, not public hearing but deliberate effort to involve critical stakeholders in the decision. Government has approved the concession of airports; their argument will always be efficiency and how to reduce spending and they will refer to some jurisdiction but they refuse to understand that before such decisions are taken, there is supposed to be serious consultation with interest groups and the economy at large.”
He also said, “When you talk about concession, there must be business plan by prospective concessionaires and their investment, sources of funds, their deployment and management of those funds and as a matter of fact, their assessment of the current status of the airports must be checked. It is in the business plan that you see that a lot of professionals are going to be there. Estate surveyors and valuers are not just going to value but in the maintenance of those facilities, they have to also be part of it, engineers too.”
Alonge said it was necessary for the government to begin to follow due process, saying, “There is nowhere in the world where ideas just originate from government and is just dumped on the people.”
He said the government should provide an enabling environment for creative thinking by the citizenry, which would propel it to gauge and facilitate the progression of certain ideas in the right direction.
“I sincerely hope they will not just call for bids tomorrow because there is a need for proper consultation with all professionals involved in airport project even passenger groups and other investors. The airport is not just for people to travel, there is the commercial component. You don’t allow concessionaires to do whatever they like; it has to be based on certain agreement,” he said.
The Aviation Roundtable said that the recent decision of the Federal for airport concession would raise the level of services at the airports in line with global best practices.
ART in a statement by its Secretary, Olu Ohunayo, however, stated that the government should recognise the team spirit and interdependence of activities prevalent in the industry.
“Consequently, ART enjoins that the government adopts collaborative strategies in its decision making regarding aviation matters. To this end, ART calls for sustained and formidable stakeholders’ engagement,” the group said.