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Monday, August 5, 2013

Another jurisdiction up in the procurement air over airport administration and blames prior government

Aviation Stakeholders Berate House over Airport Contracts
Stakeholders in Nigeria’s aviation industry have frowned on the position of the House of Representatives on the ongoing airport remodelling contracts being undertaken by the Ministry of Aviation. The legislators alleged that the contracts did not pass due process.

According to the stakeholders, the committee should have intervened at the beginning when the programme was started, instead of attempting to terminate the projects that were already at advanced stage. Captain Usman Balarabe said it was quite shocking for any person from Nigeria who has utilised the airports for the past 30 years and had noticed the rot in infrastructure to voice any protest given the magnitude of the rehabilitation that has so far been undertaken in just over two years.

President of Centre for Aviation Safety and Research (CASR), Sheri Kyari, told THISDAY that when the minister started the airports remodelling programme, the House did not raise issues with due process until now the ministry had reached advanced stage with the projects, stressing that the programme should not be aborted.

“As far as I am concerned, let them not do anything that will stop the on-going development in the aviation industry. They are talking about due process now, and we know that to them due process is what will enter their pockets. They were all there when the woman started the development programme and they want to stop it now that it has reached advanced stage. I don’t agree with them,” Kyari, an aircraft engineer said.

A senior official of the ministry explained that all contracts for the remodelling of the airports and other critical infrastructure/equipment followed all due processes prescribed by the relevant law of the Public Procurement Act 2007. “It has to be noted that Selective Tendering is a lawful procurement procedure as enunciated in the Act,” the official said.

He explained the ministry opted for the selective tendering option because, “The present administration met aviation infrastructure, especially the terminals in a terrible state of dilapidation. Understandably, a state of emergency of sorts with regard to rehabilitating the derelict and decrepit infrastructure required a lot of urgency which the selective tendering provision in the Act suited quite aptly.”

The official explained that security related contracts are not subject to open competitive bidding in order not to compromise the process. “Secondly, the security equipment required and ordered by the
ministry is not an off-the shelf item. The equipment is to be custom-made and manufactured specifically to suit our purposes."

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