Controversy surrounds Chamber of Deputies’ approval of airport management contract renewal

Santo Domingo.- The Chamber of Deputies approved, in a single reading, the renewed and reformed concession contract signed by the government with Aeropuertos Dominicanos Siglo XXI (Aerodom) for the expanded management of seven airports in the country. This decision came after a quick 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 lack of quorum it was rescheduled for the afternoon. The contract, which spans more than 700 pages, was widely discussed during the afternoon session.

Opposition critics expressed concern about alleged procedural irregularities, the seizure of public assets, discrepancies in the amount negotiated with respect to evaluations and the early renewal of the contract, which they saw as a maneuver to obtain electoral funds ahead of the elections of 2024.

Opposition members presented a dissenting report, outlining several points against the contract, including the absence of a prior national and international public bidding process, failure to comply with the recommendations of the public hearing, and the perception that the State assumed risks excessive without proportional benefits.

Despite these objections, the contract was finally approved and President Luis Abinader highlighted its potential benefit for the Dominican Republic, which would range between $1,905 and $2,155 million. Abinader emphasized that the contract would ensure a greater participation of the State in the profits from the operation of the airport, which would be reinvested for the benefit of the Dominican people. The contract includes major infrastructure projects, such as asphalt paving and highway construction, with investments totaling hundreds of millions of dollars.

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