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Senate Committee Warns against Misuse of $500m Chinese Loan

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The Senate Committee on Aviation yesterday warned against attempts to misappropriate the $500 million loan obtained by the federal government for the completion of ongoing projects in the nation’s airports and vowed to resist any corrupt act and activities that could stall the ongoing revolution in the aviation sector.

The warning came as the supervising Minister of Aviation, Mr. Samuel Ortom, pledged the federal government’s commitment to the completion of the Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano international airport terminals that are currently undergoing remodelling and are expected to be completed before the end of 2014.

Issuing the warning yesterday during the committee’s meeting with some officials of the Ministry of Aviation and relevant stakeholders in the sector, its Chairman, Senator Hope Uzodimma, said the loan was obtained for the ministry to enable it execute and complete pending airport terminals.

According to him, a counterpart funding of $100 million had been made available for the ministry by the federal government with a view to ensuring that this $500 million loan is strictly utilised for effective project execution.

Uzodimma also disclosed that the ministry had been given a seven-year pay back plan and was expected to generate the money once the affected airports are functioning, adding that repayment plan begins next month.

Uzodimma, who further noted that the loan would go a long way in addressing ongoing projects in the aviation sector, commended the federal government for executing notable projects in airport terminals in Port Harcourt, Kano, Lagos and Abuja.

He added that the committee would lose sleep in its commitment to ensuring that the ongoing projects in the sector are properly executed.

He said: “The committee will ensure the projects are executed according to plans so that at the end, Nigerians will have value for their money.”

Meanwhile, Ortom while inspecting the ongoing construction work by the China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, said the timely delivery of the four airports by the end of the year would be historic as there are clearly no envisaged financial hindrances or challenges to ongoing works at the various sites.
He stated: “The four terminals being constructed will not suffer any financial setback, because of the arrangement of the $500 million Chinese loan that was properly firmed up by both the Federal Ministries of Finance and Aviation.”

Ortom added: “Well, the time line is 24 months, but from the progress of work that we see here today, they are most likely to deliver before that due date. This work actually started simultaneously across the four airports in March.

“They are working very hard and I’m impressed with the quality of work and the commitments of the contractors handling the projects.

“This has also provided opportunity for Nigerians to work here. As you can see there are over 600 Nigerians working here, same with the other three international terminals in Port Harcourt, Lagos and Kano. This has certainly reduced unemployment. I will be here constantly to monitor the standard of work and ensure quick delivery of project. By the time this project is completed, it would significantly transform the sector and boost revenue generation because of the envisaged high traffic. All things being equal, the project will be completed in recorded time, he said.

The terminal which will be built to world class standard, the minister said, will accommodate eight aircraft at the same time, adding that the remodelling projects were part of the airport transformation of the government’s aviation master plan. There is no going back on these projects, he said.

According to Ortom, all projects initiated in the phases 1, 2 and 3 will be also be completed on schedule.“We are working hard to improve our Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in making sure that we complete all these projects. The coming airport development levy will help government defray the cost of some of these projects.

“We are not distracted at all by the people who are out to blackmail us. We are committed to ensuring that all the projects will be completed and delivered in fulfillment of the transformation programme of President Goodluck Jonathan.” 

Article Credit: Thisdaylive

Updated 4 Years ago

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