By Harry Awurumibe, Editor Abuja Bureau
Determined to improve the status of Nigeria airports for safety and efficiency, the Federal Government has approved a total sum of N13.122, 230, 999.17 for the upgrade and refurbishment of the Safe Tower Equipment in four international airports in Nigeria namely Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt.
This cheering news was dropped Wednesday in Abuja by Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika while briefing State House Correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over virtually by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.
Sirika also revealed that before the end of the year, a new Civil Aviation Act will be in place, pointing out that it is at Third Reading now in the National Assembly.
Accordingto him, “Civil Aviation submitted a memorandum to Council which was consequently approved. The memo is to upgrade and refurbish the Safe Tower Equipment in four airports, Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt.
“This is just to increase the efficiency of the airports and reduce the workload in the control tower and to automate what was hitherto analogue systems to digital. Quick example is all of the data we collect at the end of the runways within the airports will now be displayed instantly on our platform in the control tower. Information regarding weather, regarding all of the components of weather, winds, rain, macro burst etc will be displayed automatically.
“So the issue of giving out weather reports every hourly will change to give you an instant weather which will improve the pilot efficiency and the workload on controller is reduced and it can handle more flights into the airport. The total contract sum is N13.122, 230, 999.17.
“This is in two parts. First component which is a foreign component is twenty eight million, four hundred and eighty nine thousand, five hundred and sixty five (€28,489,565m). The naira component is N3.491,504,488.31. Of course, there will be 7.5% added VAT. It will be for completion period of 12 months.
“This has been approved as part of things that we do in Civil Aviation that passengers don’t see, that is our major work that we do, it is a terminal building or runway which you can see, these are the things that are out there in the bushes which contribute safety and security of our space”, Sirika stated.
On the merging of some Directorates and Agencies in the Aviation industry, the Minister said: “This is a matter of policy, we are driving a road map which was approved by Mr. President long time ago that will make all of our agencies very efficient, reduce bureaucracy, streamline and narrow them in accordance with international best practice.
“Some of the Directors that don’t fall in the approved road map will certainly have to go, it’s just a matter of policy and it is going to cut across almost every single agency there.
“I had explained how we are not able to take in one agency 45 General Managers, each one of them will be 17, but we are not bound by any law, it’s just matters of policy, this government in place is looking at all areas where we can make more efficient the act of governance.
“So in the discharge of that duty, we have carried out those changes, they will continue across board and they are in the interest of the industry, aviation, and the country Nigeria. Very soon before the end of the year, a new Civil Aviation Act will be in place, it is at third reading now in the National Assembly after they must have conducted public hearing. That will bring further changes in Civil Aviation to make them very efficient and cost effective in driving the policy of government”, he concluded.