Unions in the aviation industry have threatened to shut down the nations airspace if government fails to carry them along in the concession process of the 5 major airports in the country.
The unions who are affiliate unions of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, are the National Union of Air Transport Employees, NUATE, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association, ATSSSAN and the National Union of Pensioners, NUP.
To this end, the unions have issued a 15 day ultimatum to disband its discredited Transaction advisors employed by the minister of state, aviation to facilitate the process.
At a news conference in Lagos, Secretary General, National Union of Air Transport Employees, NUATE, Comrade Olayinka Abioye said the government was yet to tell Nigerians what it intended to concession, adding that the process had been flawed with deceit, lack of transparency and due process.
“Unfortunately for us and given the penchant with which our political class makes pronouncements without deep thoughts, we became deeply worried and hugely concerned about the haste, hush-hush and secret disposition of the Minister in actualizing this contraption without following due diligence as practiced worldwide while we have also observed with grave concern, the deceit and coercion that goes with the current process of concessions, that is lacking in transparency which is hugely required at this moment. What facts were presented to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for the approval to concession, as due diligence was never followed up to the time the said FEC approval was granted?”.
He emphasized that, they were worried over how the Federal Government intends to settle the entitlements of the staff and pensioners of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN in its bid to concession four major airports.
Comrade Abioye said currently, the actuarial valuation of the entire staff of FAAN stood at N120 billion while monthly pension salaries and pensions stood at N2 billion.
“How do we manage and clear all these cases, while the Minister is busy planning the concessions of our airports, albeit without regard to these existing legal issues?
2. Actuarial valuation of the entire staff of FAAN stood at One hundred and twenty billion naira (N120billion);
3. Monthly salaries and pensions stand at almost Two billion naira monthly;
4. It may interest you all to note that the two committees put in place (Project Steering Committee (PSC), chaired by the Minister and Project Delivery Team (PDT), chaired by a Director from the Ministry) were required by regulations to work for 520 days but the Minister persuaded and rather coerced them to limit their working days to 326. Why the haste?”.
He also noted that there were pending 64 concession litigations against FAAN in various courts, which he alleged arising from fraudulent operations, faulty and irregular agreements and failure to perform according to agreements.
The unions called for the Commercialization of FAAN to avoid unnecessary problems.
“Concession litigations against FAAN is about Sixty Four (64), all pending in various courts, arising from fraudulent operations, faulty and irregular agreements, negation/vitiation of agreements, failure to perform according to agreements and so forth”
“Why not allow the airports run as commercially oriented profitable concerns with accountability to shareholders, who may be government agencies or private investors, as we had canvassed for the full commercialization of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria long ago albeit without the usual political, ministerial, presidential official meddlesomeness and interference, which has been the bane of lack luster performance and failure of the aviation system in Nigeria? He added.
Questions he said begging for answers include the following:
5. How were the Transaction Advisors (TA) engaged? Where did the bidding for such sensitive matter come up and when? The fact and truth of the matter is that without the necessary input from the Committees, the Minister unilaterally appointed the Transaction Advisors. Further to this fact, let it be known that some of the said Transaction Advisors have no understanding or knowledge of aviation, so how could such persons be a part of the scheme if not for pecuniary reasons and nepotism? Otherwise, how could a company named Proserve Energy Service Limited, an Oil and Gas consultant spearhead concessions in the Aviation Industry?
1. It must be noted that the Transaction Advisors shall play around with a whooping N1.5billion, without budgetary provision. So, who will fund this scheme? Of course, your guess is as good as ours; the same FAAN that is to be sold out!
2. Another worrisome angle to the entire process was that the Contract Agreement and the Terms of Reference were generated without any input from the Committee (PDT), even while the copy of the Terms of Reference was not availed members until they demanded for it, only to discover that it was not comprehensive enough to provide full details of the Scope of Work upon which the Transaction Advisors were to act upon, to the extent that the area(s) of the airports meant for concession were not listed out.
3. Bearing in mind, the concerns being raised across the length and breadth of our great country over the safety and security of the airports, travelers, meeters and greeters and the Nigerian airspace etc, we therefore ask again, WHICH PART OF THE AIRPORT DOES THE MINISTER WANT TO CONCESSION?
IS IT THE RUNWAYS, LANDSIDE, AIRSIDE, TERMINALS, TERMINAL FACILITIES, COMMERCIAL OR ALLOCATION OF ACCESS GATES AND RUNWAYS?
In the meantime, we hereby inform you all that virtually all revenue generation catchment points have been given out to several individuals on concession, such as car parks, (example is the newly commissioned multi storey car park), fuel dumps, shops, VIP lounges, advertisements etc. What then is remaining for concession?
4. Where is the blueprint of the Ministers Concession project, vis a vis the feasibility study conducted on the projects?
5. What will be the fate of eighteen (18) other airports that depend largely on financial survival/support on the Four Airports listed for concessions? Will these other airports not die a natural death, in the hands of a “progressive” government, with heavy job losses?
6. We also wish to know who will serve as grantor to this concession, as Nigerians would also wish to know if the Concession shall be a Contract or a Lease?
7. What will happen to existing liabilities? Will they be attached to the Concession?
8. Are current employees to be transferred and or redeployed from the sector? If so, are there limits to be included in the agreement on the numbers that may be laid off or declared redundant? At what point will these matters be discussed and resolved by parties?
9. Will some personnel be supplied by the concessionaire or private sector; and what will happen to the personnel on hand back of concession?
10. How will other and or current concessionaires fare under the proposed agenda of the Minister?
11. What will happen to the $500Million owed Nexim bank of China and the Terminals built with part of the loan, bearing in mind that FAAN is expected to defray the loan over some years?