The Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has explained that the completion of the new terminal building at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja was being delayed for several reasons.
Sirika offered the explanation while inspecting the project on Tuesday.
He told newsmen that one of the causes of the delay was a foundational issue, which had altered the master plan of the airport.
He explained that the planning of the project did not envisage that the building would lead to additional works, power and water supply.
The minister added that it was also discovered that the building would block both the control and fire towers, which would require relocation.
He said additional work was also required to link it with the existing terminal as well as expanding the apron to accommodate bigger air planes.
Another reason, according to Sirika, is the insufficient capacity of the existing power and water supply in the airport to cater for the new building.
He said all the challenges would result to requiring additional funding.
According to him, the project is being funded through $500 million loan from Chinese EXIM Bank and $100 million counterpart funding from the Nigerian Government.
Sirika said: “The quality of work is acceptable but the pace of work is not acceptable because this project should have been delivered by now.
“The contractor has told us some of the challenges he has been facing regarding some of the components of work and some additional works required for this project to be put into use.
“Unfortunately, some of these components are complex, which would delay this job and some of them are from the foundation like that of the sewer and water.
“There is also the problem of the control tower blocking the access into the terminal apron and also the inadequate nature of the apron itself.
“All of these are not small works to be done, but the intent of the government is to fast track the construction to ensure that it is being utilised soon.
“I am very disappointed that all these problems could not be factored in during the planning stage of the procurement.
“It is a $600 million project based on the initial arrangement, but because we now have additional works to be carried out to be able to complete it, there is need for additional funding.”
Sirika said the Abuja light rail that was almost completed would terminate at the airport, which would not be utilised if the terminal building was not completed.
He said government could not give any specific date for its completion considering the amount of funds required to correct all the anomalies since it was a loan project.
According to him, government is committed to the project to ensure its completion as soon as possible and the contractor has given his word that if the power issue is resolved, part of work would be completed before March.
Jack Li, the Managing Director, Chinese Civil Engineering and Construction Company, said the work was about 88 per cent completed.
Li said the cause of the delay was occasioned by external factors not included in the contract, adding that it was the responsibility of the government to make provision for the power and water supply.
He, however, promised that the project would be delivered within the year if the issues concerning power and water were resolved.