Megawide Construction Corp. said on Wednesday the government had nothing to lose if it just allowed the listed company to rehabilitate the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and handle the project’s expenses.
In a Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) webinar, Megawide Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Edgar Saavedra told attendees his firm would be the one shouldering the costs and the risks for redeveloping the country’s main gateway.
“The private [sector] will be the one that will be spending the capex (capital expenditure), take the risk and have the responsibility to expand the capacity” of the airport, Saavedra said. “It’s the private [sector that is] also willing to take the risk, so there is nothing for the government to lose.”
His remarks came a week after Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd and Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua returned Megawide’s P109-billion proposal to rehabilitate NAIA to the Department of Transportation after they found its P18-billion equity lacking.
The government had required Megawide to show at least an equity of P32.3 billion, but the firm insisted that its Indian partner GMR Infrastructure agreed to add to the equity.
Megawide and GMR secured the original proponent status (OPS) for the project last July after the so-called super group of six conglomerates failed to get government approval for their proposed options aimed at ensuring that the project would be profitable despite the new normal brought about by the pandemic.
The two companies lost the OPS in mid-December after questions were raised about their ability to shoulder the project’s costs.
Saavedra also said the government was yet to formally inform the company about its decision on its proposal, but promised that it would respect that.
“The last official communication we had was there was a revocation and we filed for an MR (motion for reconsideration)…and we haven’t received any [word] from them yet,” he said.
According to him, of the qualified bidders, only Megawide has the track record to rehabilitate NAIA.
“We are the only one [with a] the track record right now,” he said.