The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has said construction of the second runway for the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport is projected to cost N63b, adding that although N10b was proposed for its construction in the 2017 budget, only a paltry N3b was released.
The minister, who disclosed this during a budget Defence at the House of Representatives Joint Committee on Land and Transport, Maritime Safety and Administration, Aviation, Port Harbors and Waterways, said only N8b was appropriated for the runway in the 2018 budget.
He said if government decides to go with the budget provision, it would take forever for the project to be completed and N30b was proposed as capital budget for the Aviation sector in 2018 budget.
It would be recalled that the government planned to concession the airport, but said it would not go ahead until the completion of the second runway.
But Sirika noted that the second runway became very necessary, following the fact that Abuja Airport was becoming very busy, saying that often time, operators would be on ground 20 to 30minutes waiting to take off or even to land, which is so expensive and makes the airport very inefficient.
He said government has decided to take up the construction of the second runway before handing it over to the concessionaire, following high cost and would not want the current runway to dilapidate to the initial point that necessitated shutting the airport down.
The Chairman, House Committee on Maritime and Safety Administration, Patrick Asadu, however, queried the minister for asking the National Assembly to increase their budget provision, saying, as a former legislator, the minister ought to have the instrument of lobby and relationship with the Committee on Aviation, Guardian reports.