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President Buhari wants airport concession programme fast track

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President Mohammadu Buhari has tasked the Minister of Aviation to fast-track the airport concession programme, to boost aviation practice in the country and make the aviation industry reflect global standards.

President Buhari who spoke at the inauguration of the new Terminal Building, Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, also asked the minister of finance and budget to tap special funding for the construction of the second runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

He said that the completion and delivery of five brand new international airport terminals since 2015, which were at 11 percent completion level then, aligns perfectly with the Aviation Roadmap, developed in 2016, for the purposes of establishing critical infrastructure, including a National Carrier as well as maintenance, repairs and overhaul centre, and improved Airports Terminals through concession.

The President, who described the administration’s investments in inter-state rail connectivity, road networks, agriculture, power and telecommunications, despite limitations in resources, as unprecedented noted that robust initiatives have been complemented with specific fiscal policies to drive aviation infrastructure renaissance.

‘‘These include the designation of 4 airports, namely Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt as Free Trade Zones, in which customs duty is not applicable; removal of VAT on all forms of shared transportation, including air transportation; and exemption of commercial aircraft and spare parts from VAT payment.

‘‘Similar projects at both the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport and Port Harcourt International Airport were completed and commissioned by this administration and our people have since been benefiting from the positive economic impacts of those magnificent terminals.

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‘‘The one in Kano has also been completed, and will be commissioned soon, while work continues apace to complete that of Enugu shortly,’’ he said.

The President expressed confidence that the new terminal in Lagos with sixty-six check-in-counters, sixteen Immigration desks at arrival, twenty-eight Immigration desks at departure, and eight security screening points, among others, would go a long way in contributing to the socio-political and economic prosperity of the country,

He added that the improvement would increase airport operations and management services to about 14 million passengers per annum, create 3,000 direct and indirect jobs, increase inflow of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) and exponential growth in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

He thanked the Government and People of the Republic of China, through the China Export-Import Bank and CCECC Nigeria Limited, (FAAN), for their commitment and support towards the completion of the project.

The President also commended the Federal Ministry of Aviation and its agencies, particularly, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, for working assiduously towards the realization of the project.

‘‘With the delivery of this project, a new era of safety, security, and comfort has been ushered into the Nigerian aviation industry, and I am persuaded that it will get better with the passage of time,’’ he said.

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