Nigerian airport union leaders, management staff of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), and leaders of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) met in Lagos on Monday to discuss the federal government’s planned concession of four airports.
A source close to the meeting told SaharaReporters that ICRC officials questioned the planned 36-year concession agreement between the FAAN and Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), the operators of Murtala Muhammed Airport Two (MMA2) in Lagos, arguing that the agreement did not follow due process.
Representing the FAAN at the meeting were the Director of Commercial and Business Development, Sadiku Rafiundadi, and the Director of Finance and Accounts, Nike Aboderin, along with management staff from the Human Resources and Welfare department at FAAN.
Also at the meeting were the leadership of the Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), the Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP), the National Union of Pensioners (NUP) and some staff of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE).
Our correspondent gathered that the meeting, which was held at the Conference Room of Murtala Muhammed International Airport, commenced at 10 a.m. on Monday, November 13, and ended in the evening. The meeting continued on Tuesday and is expected to end on Wednesday.
At the meeting, it was gathered that the FAAN management presented its agreement with BASL to the ICRC representatives, who declared that the agreement did not follow the due process and queried the criteria adopted for arriving at the 36-year concession agreement.
It was learnt that participants at the meeting cautioned the federal government against the planned concession of the Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano airports, warning against a repeat of the pitfalls of MMA2.
“It was a very tough meeting between us and the officials of ICRC. The ICRC officials came with a mindset of forcing the concession down our throats, but when the union leaders and other representatives of workers confronted them with some facts on concession and the problems with MMA2, they had a change of mind,” a source told our correspondent.
“In fact, after going through the documents on the concession agreement between FAAN and Bi-Courtney, they concluded that the whole exercise did not follow the due process. They also said that if the agreement went through the due process, the government would not have given them the 36-year concession agreement.”
It was also gathered that the unions queried the exclusion of unions’ input in the hiring of transaction advisers and the exact areas to be concessioned by the government in the exercise.
The unions also asked questions on the blueprint of the proposed concession and wanted to know why the government did not exploit other favorable types of concessioning that would create more jobs and boost internally generated revenue for the FAAN.
According to a document made available to SaharaReporters, dated November 8, 2017, and signed by the Managing Director of the FAAN, Saleh Dunoma, the FAAN had informed the unions and workers about the meeting with ICRC.
The letter with the subject “Sensitisation on Public Private Partnership and on the Appointed of Transaction Advisers (Consultants) for four International Airports,” requested for five representatives from each union, Deputy General Managers, Assistant General Managers and two delegates and staff from each department.
The letter read in part: “The Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), the agency saddled with the responsibility to regulate the concession of government infrastructure has indicated its interest to carry a three-day’s sensitisation exercise (from 13th to 15th November 2017) for union leaders, top management staff and staff generally.”