FG seeks additional $400 million loan for Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport project

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The Federal Government has begun shopping for additional $400 million loan to augment the existing $600 million earmarked for the new terminal building at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja.

The project is currently being financed by a $500 million loan from China Export/Import Bank, while the Federal Government provided a counterpart funding of $100 million.

However, some foundational and infrastructure hiccups were not envisaged and factored into the multi-million dollar project until they were encountered when the project had gone half way.

Speaking after a tour of the facility yesterday, the Minister of State, Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said the government would look for additional funding offshore, stressing that such search was entirely out of his Ministry’s purview.

“I’ve put up a proposal on how best I feel we could source for this additional funds. It cannot be captured in the budget and if government has another way to get around it, fine.”

While frowning at the rather slow pace of work at the facility, Sirika said the government would do all it could to ensure it fulfils its side of the contract.

He said: “We’re eager to get it done so that it’ll be able to serve the people. Earlier on, we thought we’ would be able to deliver the project by December 2017, but unfortunately, we’re in January now and the project hasn’t been delivered. So, we came to find out from the contractors and consultants what could have been the hindrance that made them not to deliver the project as scheduled.

“The quality of work is acceptable but the pace of work is not acceptable. This project ought to have been delivered earlier than now and the contractor is just repeating what he always said on some of the challenges he’s been facing regarding some of the components and some additional works to ensure the terminal can be used as intended.

“Unfortunately, some of them are very complex. Some of them delayed this job and some of them are from foundation. Part of the problem is additional funding, linking the old terminal with this one and this applies to other airports where new terminals are being built. Here in Abuja, we have the problem of blockage by the control tower that you cannot see the other side of the airport, which is a safety issue.

“We have the fire service blocking access to the terminal building, making it very difficult for airplanes to manoeuvre and utilise the apron. There’s also the inadequate nature of the apron itself and the absence of electricity to power the building.