The Federal Government has extended the date for the completion of the repair work on the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu State, from December 2019 to April 2020. The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, made this known in Abuja on Tuesday when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation to defend the 2020 budget proposed by the ministry.
When he appeared before the committee on October 10, the minister had said the repairs would have been completed by Christmas (2019), since many people would be travelling home then.
Sirika, however, on Tuesday said the work would be completed by Easter 2020, which is usually celebrated in April. Though he said President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the N10bn needed for the rehabilitation of the airport, the ministry was still awaiting the release of the money.
The minister said the work would not “last beyond Easter and it would be so delivered in such a way that we will treat the Enugu problem once and for all.”
Given the breakdown of the budget of the ministry, the minister said, “In the year 2020, the sum of N41, 878,371,737 is being proposed for capital expenditure.
“The budget will focus on sustaining the infrastructural renewal at the airports as well as upgrade and provision of necessary air navigation equipment as well as weather forecast. Special attention would be given to safety and security infrastructure.
“There are challenges with the new terminal buildings being built with the N500m loan from Exim Bank of China. These challenges include but are not limited to changes in the structural designs of the airports, foundation footing and escalators, provision for modern aircraft such as A380.”
He listed other issues as change in departure and arrival flow to rhyme with the railway station in Abuja; provision of adequate power supply to ensure all facilities were put to maximum use; relocation of the control tower and the fire station; and issues relating to sewer and water supply for the airports.
“The above has resulted in the need for variation and additional work to the tune of $461,795,551, which has been approved by the Federal Executive Council,” the minister said. Punch
Pix: The dilapidated Enugu airport runway