The aviation will soon witness yet another purging in various parastatals as the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, says the exercise is not yet over with the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
Speaking over the weekend in Lagos at the stakeholders meeting at Sheraton Hotels, Sirika declared that the exercise will be carried out in other parastatals soon.
Over 30 workers were affected in the last proper placement exercise carried out in FAAN last month by the federal government leading to sack of directors and demotion of general managers and assistant general managers.
Sirika stated that the issue of proper placement will continue in FAAN, as the process has not been completed, while it will move to the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA and other agencies.
The minister lamented that the agencies have about 88 general managers, which was not sustainable at all.
Already, government has started redeploying, re-assigning, demoting and terminating appointments of staff in what it calls improper placement of staff at these agencies especially in FAAN where the workers have felt the full impact of the restructuring.
“The restructuring became imperative because of the top-heaviness in these agencies with a combined total of 88 general managers on grade level 17 and above on the payroll especially those unqualified”
He said that government was handling the restructuring in phases and this will go around leaving a leaner and more effective agency instead of the over-bloated workforce that has provided little or no impact in the system.
Minister also said plans were underway to transform the Aviation Security (AVSEC) of FAAN into something akin to the United States Transport Security Agency (TSA) as the approval has been given for that.
“Our aviation security is laughable and we now have approval to reposition the AVSEC to take the shape of the TSA of the USA, fully-kitted, well-trained, well-educated with firearms. We have the approval and have gone to the Ministry of Interior to enquire what is needed we are engaging then in an inter-ministerial capacity and when we iron it all out, you will see the changes.”
On the issues of the planned concession and the Chinese funded terminal, he said it had no effect on each other.
He stated that the Chinese funded terminal was not a concession or Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) but a loan, stating that both were not contradicting the same purpose.
“The Chinese terminals are not BOTs. It was a loan of which the Chinese provided $500million and Nigeria provided $100million counterpart funding. Even at that the biggest of those terminals will be doing 1.5million passengers annually but what we are looking at is different and larger.”
“The terminals were done,’ kudos to the originators’ to the best of their thinking as the one in Abuja we will have to move it as it is blocking the control tower and the fire service. But we already are building and we have to put it to use. The same story in Lagos too.”
He said government after this faux pas has been committed would spend nothing less than $30million dollars to move the fire service and another $40million to move the control tower and this is not economical.
He added further that the planned concession if done transparently, real and genuinely with stakeholders’ buy-in will work and that as a minister he has an open-door policy and was willing to trade ideas to improve the plans and make it better.
He further went on to declare that if anyone takes advantage of the concession for personal gain that he should be held responsible as the bulk lies on his table.