Local December 6, 2023 | 8:15 am

Chamber of Deputies approves renewed airport management contract amid controversy

Santo Domingo.- The Chamber of Deputies has approved, in a single reading, the renewed and reformed concession contract signed by the government with Aeropuertos Dominicanos Siglo XXI (Aerodom) for the extended management of seven airports in the country. This decision came after a rapid 15-day review period, criticized by the opposition for its brevity.

The President of the Chamber of Deputies, Alfredo Pacheco, had initially scheduled a session to discuss the contract in the morning, but due to a lack of quorum, it was rescheduled for the afternoon. The contract, spanning over 700 pages, was extensively debated during the afternoon session.

Critics from the opposition raised concerns about alleged procedural irregularities, the seizure of public assets, discrepancies in the negotiated amount compared to evaluations, and the early renewal of the contract, which they viewed as a maneuver for electoral funds ahead of the 2024 elections.

Opposition members presented a dissenting report, outlining various points against the contract, including the absence of a prior national and international public tender process, disregarded public hearing recommendations, and the perception that the state assumed excessive risks without proportional benefits.

Despite these objections, the contract was ultimately approved, with President Luis Abinader highlighting its potential benefit to the Dominican Republic, ranging from $1,905 to $2,155 million. Abinader emphasized that the contract would ensure greater state participation in airport operation profits, which would be reinvested for the benefit of the Dominican people. The contract includes significant infrastructure projects, such as asphalt paving and expressway construction, with investments totaling hundreds of millions of dollars.

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Paul Tierney
December 6, 2023 9:57 am

This contract has shades of what happened with the Punta Catalina power project. It was rushed through and now the public and treasury is suffering bad consequences due to the lack of fiscal diligence by the government.

Wonder why Vinci Airports (Aerodom) got this concession so easily?