* Things To Know About The Airport
By Terver Akase
The much awaited groundbreaking ceremony for the Cargopolis Makurdi Airport, eventually came to pass. It was the first time in Nigeria and the entire West African sub-region that an event for the construction of an airport of this nature and magnitude was held. In otherwords, when completed, the Makurdi Cargo Airport will be the first of its kind in the sub-region.
Beyond the possibity of holding such an enviable record, here are some of the other significant things to note about the Makurdi Cargo Airport:
- The airport project is a partnership between the Benue State Government and CDC Consortium, a Chinese and West African Partnership.
- The Cargopolis Makurdi Airport is sited 28 kilometers north of the state capital, Makurdi.
- It is estimated to cost N38 billion and the State Government will later pay 15% of the cost as equity in addition to the land it has provided for the location of the airport.
- The airport is projected to be completed in 2019/2020.
- The Samuel Ortom administration has granted a 25-year concession agreement for management of the airport to CDC Consortium.
- The airport offers a shift from other airports in the country as its planning and designers took into consideration, the export market potentials of Benue, the neighbouring states and passenger volumes projected to grow within the next three years.
- The long and short term benefits of the cargo airport to North Central Nigeria and the West African sub-region include:
– enhanced exportation of farm produce
– improved transportation
– airport for both cargo and passenger traffic
– employment/capacity building
– poverty alleviation
– lowering transport costs
– wealth creation
– trade hub for West Africa
– spring up of industries
– training of pilots
– training of aircraft engineers
– rural transformation
Statistics show that trade in goods represented 96% of Gross Domestic Product, GDP, in sub-Saharan Africa in 2010, higher than the 76% recorded a decade earlier. This pleasant reality presents states like Benue with the opportunity to use their comparative advantage in agriculture to drive the economy. This is the direction Governor Samuel Ortom is moving.
As the Governor said during the groundbreaking ceremony, the Benue State Government is giving maximum support for the successful completion of the cargo airport believing that when it begins operation, the benefits will be unquantifiable.
Imagine that with the coming of the cargo airport, the post harvest losses our farmers face yearly are reduced. Imagine that people begin to export their farm produce to Europe, Asia and the Americas. Imagine the value addition this development will have on the people of the state.
I see better days coming!