Megawide proves financial muscle to put NAIA rehab back on track
Last July, Megawide and its Indian partner, GMR Infrastructure Ltd., received the original proponent status (OPS) previously given to a six-member consortium. Bolando, file

Megawide proves financial muscle to put NAIA rehab back on track

Ian Nicolas Cigaral ( - November 23, 2020 - 6:26pm

MANILA, Philippines — Plans to upgrade the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is back on track after requirements to show the project proponent’s financial muscle to undertake the massive project had been submitted.

Currently, application by Megawide Construction Corp. to rehabilitate the ageing NAIA for P109 billion is back with the transport department after initially getting turned down by the finance department and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). Megawide said there should be no problem this time around.

“The financial documents we submitted are sufficient to exclusively support the requirements of the NAIA project,” Louie Ferrer, managing director, said in a disclosure to the stock exchange.

“With this, we are hopeful our proposal to rehabilitate and transform NAIA into a first-world airport complex can now be elevated to the Cabinet committee for approval and proceed to Swiss challenge,” Ferrer added.

Transport Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope Libiran said the agency would “endorse” the project back to the Manila International Airport Authority, which handles the NAIA Project, for assessment. Afterwards, MIAA should submit the proposal again to the NEDA Investment Coordination Committee chaired by NEDA and DOF.

News of Megawide’s rejection for NAIA rehab was reported first by Bilyonaryo news website early in the day, before copy of a letter by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and acting NEDA chief Karl Kendrick Chua to Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade was released by Bayaning Atleta party-list Jericho Nograles to reporters. 

Chua and Dominguez co-chairs the NEDA-ICC, which evaluates big-ticket infrastructure projects before getting approved by a bigger interagency body, the NEDA Board, chaired by President Rodrigo Duterte. 

In their letter dated November 19, Dominguez and Chua expressed concerns that Megawide’s fundraising activities for the ambitious project “are speculative and not guaranteed to materialize.”

Both economic officials likewise flagged the naming of Megawide as original proponent of the NAIA Project despite failure to meet the pre-qualification requirements set by law. With that title, Megawide can match offers given by other groups once a Swiss challenge is opened.

“Hence, the financial capacity of (Megawide) is mostly hinged on uncertain sources,” they said. 

Delays in the NAIA Project are nothing new. Before Megawide was considered, a consortium of six conglomerates haggled with government from the design to costs involve in turning NAIA into a regional aviation hub. The last one was a financial overhaul to make the massive undertaking viable for companies refurbishing the airport while the pandemic is deterring travel.

The government did not accept the changes, prompting Megawide to step in. 

Under Megawide’s plan, NAIA’s current passenger capacity would increase in phases to 65 million per year from the current 30 million. An additional taxiway would also be constructed to accommodate more flights.

On Monday, shares in Megawide fell 2.45% to close at P10.34 each. 

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