By Confidente Reporter
THE old Namibia Airports Company (NAC) board dismissed a bid by a Turkish company to refurbish and upgrade Hosea Kutako International Airport for N$3 billion – less than double the N$7 billion that Chinese company, Anhui Foreign Economic Construc¬tion (AFECC), would have charged for the same work, it has emerged.
Latest revelations indicate that the previous NAC board turned down a N$3 billion bid to refurbish and expand the Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA) at what aviation experts refer to as ‘zero cost to the Namibian government under a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) model’, which would not cost the Government a cent, in favour of a Chinese bid that is set to cost Namibian taxpayers at least N$7 billion.
Confidente is informed that a couple of years ago a Turkish firm, Tasyapi had expressed interest to expand and refurbish the airport and operate it for 30 years and thereafter give it to the Namibian Government under the BOT model. Tasyapi during those 30 years would operate and maintain the airport while it recoups the money it invested in the project. During this period the NAC and Treasury will not have to spend a cent on the airport. However this also means no revenue will be coming to NAC’s coffers from the airport.
All this has emerged, following a Confidente expose last week that Government was weighing for an option of an out of court settlement with AFECC in the N$7 billion HKIA refurbishment and expansion tender Supreme Court challenge .
Frieda Aluteni, a former NAC board member and chairperson of the remuneration committee and member of the tender/investment committee at the time in question; when asked Wednesday whether she has been trying to convince the Ministry of Works to settle the matter out of court would not answer the question but instead angrily said: “Why the hell are you calling me? Nonsense!” before she hung up.
According to Investopedia, a BOT is a type of arrangement in which the private sector builds an infrastructure project, operates it and eventually transfers ownership of the project to the Government over a certain number of years.
Attorney General Sackeus Shanghala and Minister of Works and Transport Alpheus !Naruseb backtracked this week after President Geingob intervened and maintained that Government proceed with its appeal at the Supreme Court.
High Court judge Shafimana Ueitele ruled that the Ministry of Works and Transport’s instructions given under section 9 (1) (b) of the Airports Company Act of 1998 to NAC to discontinue all activities relating to the upgrade and expansion of the Hosea Kutako International Airport during December 2015 and communicated to AFECC on January 5 2016, were unlawful and therefore invalid and set aside.
Namibia’s Head of Mission in Turkey, Hatem Yavuz, this week questioned the rationale why the NAC board had decided to award the HKIA contract to a Chinese firm which would cost Namibian taxpayers N$7 billion when the country had an option to get what it wants at no cost.
“There was a tender for N$7 billion from the Chinese and there was also an offer of N$3 billion from a Turkish company. Why was there such a big difference one from Turkey and one from the Chinese for the same tender? This Turkish company has one of the largest airport contracts in the world. “Why would Namibia want to spend money when it can have the airport expanded and refurbished at no cost to Treasury? Does Namibia want to be universal or just pro-Chinese so that the other countries back off? Why would a Chinese company offer a N$7 billion airport other than corruption and bribes for an airport that can’t pay itself in 45 years?” he queried.
Yavuz also added that under the agreement Tasyapi would have to operate the airport using materials of high quality in the construction and refurbishing of HKIA.
“If I own the airport for 30 years it means I have to use high quality materials that are durable. BOT is the way to go if Government doesn’t want to spend money. The Chinese inflate prices but the Turkish company was going to construct at zero cost to Government. The Turkish company during the time it would be operating the airport they will be teaching locals how to maintain and run the airport. The Chinese in my opinion have overpriced this airport and in the long run, the Government of Namibia and its people won’t be able to repay this money.
“I have nothing against Chinese companies but in this case the Turkish company is a private company which means it will invest more and offer a quality product because it has an investment at risk,” he said.
Tasyapi in its presentation to the former NAC board had committed to expand and refurbish HKIA to offer systems that include but are not limited to a waste water treatment system, cold room and cold storage, redundant power supply (generators), apron lighting system, gate allocation system, fuel hydrant systems, fire-fighting systems with gas, handling agent system, passport control system, over flight billing system and so on.
The airport would also come with additional benefits like an underground parking, a sustainable design that has a rain water collection system, waste water treatment system, pre-technical service, maintenance hangar for aircraft and a logistics hub.
The airport would also have capacity to handle three million passengers annually with the ability to cater for five million passengers after 2025, storage and distribution facilities for cargo flights, and a 150-bed airport hotel for transit and travelling passengers.
Some countries that have embraced the BOT model are Saudi Arabia, Israel, India, China, Nepal, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Turkey, Japan, the Philippines and the United States of America. Some airports constructed and operated under the BOT model include Perth International Airport, New Doha International Airport, Cairo International Airport, and Stockholm-Skavsta among others.
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