Buhari commissions Port Harcourt International Airport Terminal

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday commissioned the new Terminal at Port  Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, Rivers State.
Commissioning the project President Buhari said  the ceremony represents a significant landmark for International air travellers, particularly from the South South region, and the entire Country.
He said  after opening the major airport terminals in the country in the late 70s and early 80s, not much was added to increase the passenger handling capacity of the facilities by successive administrations.
He said following the large increase in national population with consequent surge in air passenger traffic, the capacity of the airport terminals became woefully inadequate to cater for the increase in passenger traffic.
He pointed out that palliative measures were periodically carried out and added that the facilities were fast giving-in to the effects of wear and tear.
The President noted  the need  to take decisive action to ensure that the terminals meet minimum international standards for the travelling public.
President Buhari said that Federal Government responded to a global trend in  which he said  aviation became a catalyst for economic growth as a result of massive and speedy movement of persons, goods and services in a safe and secure manner.
He said “As part of the infrastructure renewal program, the construction of four new international terminals at Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt and Kano airports was embarked upon by the Federal Government with a view to modernising the aging airport infrastructure to meet global aviation standards and improved service delivery in tandem with best international practices”
“At the presentation of the 2017 Budget to the National Assembly, I promised to upgrade and develop Nigeria’s transport, power and health infrastructure, and complete a number of stalled infrastructure projects”
“These include construction of new terminals at the country’s five major airports; numerous major road projects; key power transmission projects; and the completion of the Kaduna – Abuja as well as Itakpe to Warri Railway lines”
“Nigeria having an advantageous central location within the sub-region and our desire to develop into a regional air transportation hub, must upgrade its facilities to take advantage of its assets. The recent decision by the Federal Government to remove Value Added Tax from domestic air transportation is in line with global best practices”
“This will make air travel more affordable and subsequently lead to the creation of jobs by the air transport service value chain as well as increase revenues for government” foundation’s”
“Today’s commissioning is an example of Government’s deliberate policy to sustain the development of infrastructure for economic growth in all geo-political zones of the country”
“I therefore, wish to commend the people of the South South Region and airport users for their patience during the period of construction.”
He commended  the efforts of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, particularly Aviation, the Chinese government and the China Exim Bank for their financial support and the various roles they played leading to the successful completion of the project.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika said the project along with others in Lagos, Abuja and Kano
which commenced in Federal 2014, is funded through the Export-Import Bank of China loan of $500m and another $100m counterpart fund facility from the government of Nigeria.
He said that the project was expected to be delivered within two year period .
He said  as of the time  the administration came in the level of work was below 30 percent and bedeviled by various technical challenges which  included foundation design change, inaccessibility to the airport, inadequate airport space, master plan distortion as well as litigations.
 He said soon after the challenges were presented to President Buhari, he   graciously approved that the Ministry of Transportation should go ahead and rectify all the discrepancies .
He said Mr President-in – Council graciously approved a total of $461m to be sourced from the same Export-Import Bank of China.
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike in his speech said that the people of South south are happy with the project.
He said that it is in the best interest of the zone for investment to flow and called on prominent  indigenes of the State to stop de-marketing the State.
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