Once again, the Managing director of Skyways Aviation Handling Company, (SAHCOL) Dr. Olu Owolabi has said that high tariffs on importing ground handling equipment and spare parts are bleeding the handling business further stating that without these equipment imported the business will not only lag behind but remain noncompetitive.
This is just as he canvassed for better regulation and packaging of products exported stating that at this time of economic uncertainty, the country will need to earn from anywhere it can spread its tentacles to but will be the ultimate loser if it continues to export substandard products.
Dr. Owolabi, SAHCOL CEO
Owolabi who was speaking in his office in Lagos said the cost of acquiring state of the art equipment was on the one side going side by side the enormous cost of getting it into the country to do business especially as the country does not manufacture or even maintain these equipment and thus cannot earn foreign exchange from it as payment done for services here is in naira.
He said that the company had just acquired some equipment for the handling of a client South African Airways that will soon begin operations from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, (NAIA) Abuja and therefore asked government to look into the tariffs on importation of equipment and spares if handling business in the country is not to go comatose especially with the high rate of foreign exchange that has done harm to imports and exports in the country.
On exportation of cargo, he however noted that there has been an increase in the outflow of cargo from Nigeria but called on government and its arms to aid the local manufacturers of raw extracts or their own products to enable them package better so that products from here will meet internationally acceptable standards
Dr. Owolabi further urged agencies like the Standard Organizations of Nigeria (SON) to be proactive by embarking on enlightenment programme for farmers at the grass root on the type of farm produce to be cultivated for export and packaging.
According to him, the days of exporting rotten products were over in the country and appealed to all agents at the airports not to frustrate exporters by introducing bottle neck with the introduction of different forms of levies.
Dr. Owolabi regretted that packaging companies in the country has not been able to live up to expectation in packaging farm produce and urged them to double up.
While calling on government to stop paying lip services to cargo business but to create a common warehouse for farmers to evacuate their farm produce, Owolabi urged FAAN to build locations for cargo pickups for onward movement to farmers.
The SAHCOL boss noted that foreign airlines have been landing in the country with heavy tonnages while they go back empty and challenged exporters to take the advantage to negotiate with these carriers as low as fifty percent to convey their goods abroad as against the airlines going back empty.
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