Financing Aviation Infrastructure Deficit in Nigeria Using Private Capital: Challenges & Prospects
A COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF AVIATION SAFETY ROUND TABLE INITIATIVE (ASRTI) WEBINAR HELD ON THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2021
Speakers included Dr. Olumuyiwa B. Aliu, Founder, International Partners For Aviation Development (IPADS); Prof. Bamidele Badejo, Dept of Geography, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye; Engr. Femi Adeniji, COO, Tropical/Arctic Logistics; Mrs. Adebimpe Ajimotokan, Head, Corporate Banking, Training/Comm, GTB; Mr. Raphael Kuuchi, Director, Communication, Industry/Legal Affairs, AFRAA; Mr. Abiola Lawal, CEO, Quorum Aviation and Dr. Gbenga Olowo, President, ASRTI.
At the end of the discussion, the following resolutions were reached:
- With four airports generating 87% of total revenue from 22 airports in Nigeria and a record of about eight million air travellers from over 200 million population, Nigeria remains a good infrastructure investment destination if existing opportunities are properly harnessed.
- There is need to develop, maintain and modernize aviation infrastructure to attract air traffic growth and more patronage of air transportation.
- Apart from innovations in technology particularly Air Traffic Management , there is need for innovations in processes and applications to achieve success in aviation infrastructure development, maintenance, and service delivery.
- Government should provide enabling environment, reflected in enabling institutional, legal, regulatory, monitoring and evaluation framework for Nigeria’s aviation infrastructure to be developed.
- The culture of good corporate governance by all stakeholders is needed to tackle the deficit in Nigeria’s aviation infrastructure development.
- The interest of aviation infrastructure users and service consumers must be in the front burner during decision making while they should be consulted by private capital providers and government policy decision makers on aviation infrastructure development to avoid retrogressive conflicts both in the process and at completion of such projects.
- Performance reward system for manpower must be in place while training and competence of personnel in aviation infrastructure operations and management should be given priority of place in decision making.
- There is need to improve access to private capital for financing aviation infrastructure by ensuring ease of doing business, access to low interest rate loans, reduction of business risk for investors, access to multilateral financing and long term tenure for debts (10 to 20 years).
- Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangements on aviation infrastructure must come with investment protective laws and enforceable provisions as well as full disclosure by private capital entrepreneurs to ensure accountability, transparency and confidence in such partnership arrangements.
- There is need for consistency in government policies to protect investment in aviation infrastructure.
- Access to private capital investment in aviation infrastructure should be encouraged because of its numerous benefits including increased efficiency and quality service delivery in terms of Return On Investment (ROI) and service consumer interest.
- For any infrastructure PPP arrangement to generate the desired benefits, infrastructure investment needs must first, be identified, after which a master plan should be developed with features of a robust cost-benefit analysis, a transparent process, strong oversight, realistic target expectations and infrastructure users’ consultation.
- All aviation infrastructure related partnership contracts, and concession agreements should be reviewed regularly (every five years).
- There is need for prompt response to new developments in infrastructure growth without bureaucracies but in compliance with laid down agreements, policies, laws and regulations.
- There is need to identify key aviation infrastructure needs that require urgent intervention and prioritize them, appropriately, take inventory of areas of aviation infrastructure deficit and respond, using SWOT Analysis.
- Periodic institutional, legal and regulatory reforms should accommodate private capital injection in infrastructure.
- Nigerian government should salvage its image regarding perception that it hardly honours contractual agreements on infrastructure, as this can help to re-energize interest in aviation infrastructure investment in the country.
- On aviation infrastructure financing, it is important to invest only in a suitable financing model, rather than copy just any model without considering suitability for the country’s make-up.
- Before embarking on any aviation infrastructure partnership arrangement, it is necessary to involve non-government stakeholders in affirming the profile of private capital investment promoters to ensure their competence for execution and genuineness.
- Human capital has to be deliberately developed for private capital financing of aviation infrastructure to yield the desired results, while localization of training, needs to be considered by stakeholders.
- There is need to consider adapting the National Transportation Policy recommended by the 2014 National Conference, which provided for integration of road, rail, air and water transportation in aviation infrastructure development planning.
- ASRTI should set up an advocacy group to encourage commercial banks to develop the willingness to invest in aviation infrastructure.
- There should be synergy between ASRTI and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to address issues of interest rate and long-term investment banking in the aviation industry.
- Government should minimize political considerations in taking decisions regarding aviation infrastructure investments proposed by aviation economists and stakeholders.