The Ministry of Aviation on Monday appealed to the Senate to approve additional $461.8m loan for it to hasten the completion of the new terminals under construction across the country.
The minister in charge of the ministry, Mr Hadi Sirika, stated this when he appeared before the Senate standing panel to defend his ministry’s budget.
He explained that the required amount was in addition to the $500m loan already received from China Exim Bank, which, according to him, was not enough to tackle some challenges encountered in the process of building the terminals.
Sirika said the challenges encountered in the process of building the new terminals included change in the structural design of the airports, foundation footing and escalators.
He said, “Other challenges are, provisions for the biggest modern aircraft; change in departure and arrival floors to rhyme with the railway station; provision of adequate power supply to ensure all facilities are put to use and the relocation of the Control Tower and the Fire Service Station.
“The above has resulted in the need for variation and additional works to the tune of $461,795,551, which has been approved by the Federal Executive Council.
“The China Exim Bank has indicated willingness to consider funding the above additional works and we have written to the Ministry of Budget and National Planning to provide for the sum of $73,887,288.16 (N22,535,622,888.00 at N305/$) as counterpart fund in 2019 outside the ministry’s proposed FGN Budget.”
He said the airports being worked upon were already wearing new looks befitting modern airports.
According to him, two of the new terminals, in Port Harcourt and Abuja, have been inaugurated, while Lagos and Kano will be completed shortly.
He added that adequate provision had been made to complete the new terminal buildings at Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.
He solicited the support of the National Assembly and other stakeholders to ensure all needed equipment necessary for safety and security were provided to meet the standard and recommended practices as outlined by regulatory aviation bodies.
The minister said N47.5bn was being proposed for capital expenditure at the ministry’s headquarters.
He said the amount would be used in sustaining infrastructural renewal at the airports by driving the remodelling projects to upgrade air navigational equipment, safety and security infrastructure.