Nigeria: Abuja’s Second Runway Gets Additional N5bn, Total Allocation Hits N65bn in 5 Years

The ongoing construction of the second runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, got another N5bn allocation in the 2023 budget.

This is a far cry from the N20bn budgeted for the project in the 2022 budget amidst the slow pace of the project over the years.

The details of the 2023 budget estimate presented last week by President Muhammadu Buhari showed that the project tagged “ongoing” in the budget would gulp an additional N5bn.

Daily Trust reports that the second runway was initially estimated to gulp N67bn. It was recently revised to N92bn.

And from 2017 to date, a total sum of N65bn has been allocated to the project in the annual budget though it was unclear if the releases were made.

Daily Trust reports that in the 2017 budget, N10bn was voted for the project and in 2018, N8bn was proposed while N13bn was voted for the project in 2019; N14bn in 2021.

It would be recalled that the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) recently allocated land for the construction of the second runway.

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, had said the contract, which had been awarded to China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation Nigeria Limited (CCECC), would be delivered in 12 months.

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), also, confirmed the development, adding that 12,000 hectares of land had been made available for the project and others on the Aviation Roadmap.

The proposed second runway for the Abuja airport is expected to come with modern facilities like the category one instrument landing system (ILS) and other modern navigational aids.

Also, it will be more rugged but may still be 3,600 meters (3.6km), according to the design.

But amidst the increasing traffic in Abuja and the frequent VIP movements that usually stall passenger flights, the runway project has been stalled.

Aviation analyst and former Commandant of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Group Capt. John Ojikutu, rtd, said the runway project is not realistic.

He said, “Forget about the second runway for Abuja now. If it is ever started or included in the 2023 budget, it cannot start up with this administration. We’ve had many planned projects in an election year that never took off. The budget for the project in 2014 was N64bn; when the NASS under Hope Uzodinma sought my opinion, I objected to the cost. The new cost today as first presented by the minister was N84bn. If N20bn and N5bn have been voted in 2022 and 2023 and nothing is seen on the ground that should tell any discerning mind that nothing has been planned for much more construction startup in the next one year.”

In another development, the federal government has set aside N10.4bn for the multilateral and bilateral tied loans and another N8bn for four airport terminal expansions and other ancillary projects.

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