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Aviation : Nigeria will lease four airports for a decade.

The Nigerian Aviation Ministry has announced plans to concession four of the country’s airports, allowing private investors to own, operate, and recoup investments in the airports of Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, and Kano.

The airports are expected to be run by private operators for 20 to 30 years, with the possibility of an extension based on performance and “Nigeria’s best interests,” subject to negotiation and approval by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

The FEC approved the concession of the four major airports in 2016 in order to make them more efficient and profitable.

In response to questions about the project, James Odaudu, Director of Media for the Ministry of Aviation, said the Federal Government was starting with the most strategic asset because successful delivery of the program would give stakeholders the confidence to consider other options in the sector.

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The concession, he claimed, pertained to the airports’ non-aeronautical assets in the passenger and freight terminals.

“There shall be no change in the ownership structure of the airports involved in this programme. What has been mandated by FEC is a concession programme.”

“The decision of the government to settle for concession, rather than outright selling of the assets, is because of tremendous national importance from economic and security perspectives. We believe it remains in Nigeria’s best interest to maintain ownership for this reason.”

“Infrastructure concessions of this nature come with a significant financial obligation which any responsible concessionaire will no doubt be keen to recoup.”

“To this end, we envisage a minimum of 20) to 30 years for the programme, which may be extended depending on performance and Nigeria’s best interests. That said, the duration is not set in stone and will be subject to negotiation and then final approval by the Federal Executive Council.”

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