Sirika seeks Senate approval for new loan for airports

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The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, on Monday, appealed to the Senate for the approval of an additional $461.8 million loan for the completion of new airport terminals under construction in the country.

Sirika made the call during the defence of the ministry’s budget before the Senate standing committee, added that the required amount was in addition to the $500m loan already received from China Exim Bank, which, according to him, was not enough to tackle some challenges encountered in the process of building the terminals.

According to Sirika, the challenges encountered in the process of building the new terminals included change in the structural design of the airports, foundation footing and escalators.

He said: “Other challenges are, provisions for the biggest modern aircraft; change in departure and arrival floors to rhyme with the railway station; provision of adequate power supply to ensure all facilities are put to use and the relocation of the Control Tower and the Fire Service Station.

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“The above has resulted in the need for variation and additional works to the tune of $461,795,551, which has been approved by the Federal Executive Council.

“The China Exim Bank has indicated willingness to consider funding the above additional works and we have written to the Ministry of Budget and National Planning to provide for the sum of $73,887,288.16 (N22,535,622,888.00 at N305/$) as counterpart fund in 2019 outside the ministry’s proposed FGN Budget.”

The minister further informed the committee that the airports being worked upon were already wearing new looks befitting modern airports.