Odika who made this call while exchanging views with aviation correspondents in his office at Ikeja, also called for a halt in double taxation by aviation agencies in the country.
While noting that volume of cargo importation into the country has drastically dropped, the cargo expert urged the federal government to take advantage of the situation to encourage export by providing enabling environment.
He explained that the country was recovering from a lot of debts and that the financial capacity to sustain what was on ground at the moment has been a challenge hence a lot of carrier were re-assessing in coming into the country.
“If you are flying your aircraft at 50% load factor you go back and reassess the inability of coming into the country. It is not only about signing agreements, its profit oriented, for now, there is a lot of meltdown especially in the area of cargo and with the current exchange rate in the financial world, it’s not profitable to import now”.
“Basically as a country, I think it’s an opportunity for people to go into export, the market has now digressed from import to export”
He said Nigeria has found herself in a position that importing was not playing any changer.
Odika also urged the federal government to remove landing costs for carriers of perishable items in order to encourage exports in the country.
He said, “For perishable items, if the government can give concession in terms of taxes, I will not subscribe to out rightly removing them but concession in terms of lowering them and out rightly removing landing costs for carriers of these perishable goods to encourage them to come into Nigeria and lift and also encourage farmers”
On the prospects of local airlines on the international routes, Mr. Odika said Medview airlines must be commended for its operations in the London Gatwick so far. “I have personally flown the airline and I am rather impressed that the model that they put in place is the attractive fare but I don’t know what their profits margins are but I want to say they have done very well in terms of starting this”
He said with the experienced leadership of the airline in understanding the dynamics of the business that they will be able to sustain its operations.
Mr. Odika urged the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority to closely monitor airlines maintenance in the country by checking that all their books were up to date.
He advised the minister of state aviation Senator Hadi Sirika to look into how directives were given in the past especially to airline that accepted directives in the past only for them to run into accumulated bills.
Odika explained that increments should be over time and justified in any area of airline operations adding that when directives were given spontaneously as a result of the nature of business airlines will not speak up leading to negative effects.
He noted that notices to airlines in increment sometimes come at a very short notice. Citing example with the NCAA royalties which rose from one cent to 10cents.
Odika urged aviation agencies to take time to study the operations of airlines in order to understand them in terms of increment which should be done in a staggered form.