Shortage of Fund Stalls Projects at Ikeja, P’Harcourt Airports, Says Official

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Mrs Binta Bello, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Aviation, said shortage of funds is stalling modernisation projects at Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, and Port-Harcourt International Airport (PHIA) in Rivers.

Bello said this while speaking with newsmen on Sunday in Lagos when she embarked on an inspection tour of some ongoing projects at the Lagos Airport.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Federal Government had in September 2013 begun the construction of the facility at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos.

Also, Abuja, Port-Harcourt, Kano and Enugu were included in the building of five states of the art terminals.
The China’s Exim Bank and Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) funded the projects and handled the construction at the cost of $500 million and the construction completed in 20 months.

Bello, however, assured the contractors and the public that the projects going on at the two airports presently, will be completed upon release of funds by the Federal Ministry of Finance.

She said that with availability of funds the contractors would deliver the projects before the Buhari administration marks its first 100 days in office.

She explained that her visit to the airport was to enable her see the stages of completion in relation to money spent on them, so far.

Bello expressed satisfaction with the progress of work on the new terminals, saying that the ministry is determined to improve the existing infrastructure at the airports.

She noted that work at the power house of the Lagos Airport was suspended owing to lack of funds to pay the contractor handling the project.

“At the power house of the Lagos Airport, issues arising from funding came up and the fact that the contractor, Messrs Mantrac Nigeria Ltd. had suspended work because it was being owed.

“Consequently, some generating plants were not operating as the contractor insisted on reimbursement before he will return to site.”

Bello said that at the new protocol lounge, almost 80 per cent of the work had been done before the contractor suspended work.

“I was informed that the contractor has suspended work until further payment was made even as contract for the landscaping of the surrounding at the airport is yet to be awarded due to lack of funds.

“We will look at it and as soon as money is available, contractors will be mobilised to the site,” the permanent secretary added.

A contractor, Mr Nath Okechukwu, whose firm is handling the construction of the departure and arrival halls of the PHIA confirmed the development.

Okechukwu further said that the second phase of the project was awarded at the cost of N1.7 billion, adding that the last time the firm received payment for the work was in 2013.

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