by Usman Alabi
The Benue state governor, Samuel Ortom on Wednesday said the N38 billion cargo airport is PPP driven, He said the government would not pay for its construction.
The governor told journalists in Makurdi that the proposed airport would be a Public Private Partnership driven project, aimed at boosting both agricultural and infrastructural development in the state.
The governor stated that apart from providing the enabling environment for the consortium to build the airport, the state has nothing to do with the project. He further stated that the government had agreed with the consortium to build the airport and return 15% equity to the government, which would be paid using the dividends upon completion of the project.
“We are aware of our inability to pay salaries as at when due and as a government, we are not insensitive to the people’s plight. No reasonable government would reject this type of opportunity during this time of recession.
“We had a good deal with the Cargo Polis Development Consortium, Where they are to fund the project 85 percent; N32.3bn through the Chinese Nexim Bank while we had equity of 15 percent; N5.7bn.
“We Informed the consortium of our inability to pay the 15 percent and the company has already sourced for the 15 percent on our behalf, so that it would be deducted during the sharing of dividends on completion.
“We had a concession agreement with the consortium to manage the airport for 25 years”
Ortom disclosed that the MoU signed between the parties made provision for the construction of housing estates, training institutes, dual road and other commercial activities around the airport. He urged critics of the project to take a rethink and ask relevant questions rather than condemning it.
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