NIGERIAN Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCO) has said that it and other ground handlers cannot add the burden of a 100% waiver of demurrage demanded by customs agents based on grounds that a government agency has done so especially giving the extra costs it has had to endure in 6 weeks of lock down and closure of airports
NAHCO while reacting to the cries of Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos Chapter said as ground handling companies have not been informed by relevant government agencies that it is giving any financial exchange for storage waiver in the aviation sector.Read also: ANLCA petitions SGF over SAHCO, NAHCO’s insistence on Demurrage charge despite lockdown
In a statement signed by Head, Corporate Communications, Samuel Akinrinmade titled: ‘Setting the Records Straight on the Protest by Clearing Agents for 100% demurrage Waiver’ he urged the cargo agents to direct their grievances to the right quarters to get their desired result of equity in bonded warehouses
The statement read, “Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCO) and other Ground Handling Companies have had to provide critical handling services in support the management of and fight against COVID 19 at extra costs and in the challenging circumstances in the last 6 weeks of lock down and closure of airports and airspace (except for approved essential and emergency flights).
“In addition, warehousing services especially ensuring shipments in the custody of the Ground Handling Companies are kept safe, and in good condition have also been at a huge cost.
“Cargo agents are asking for 100% waiver on storage, their demand is based on the premise that an agency of Government, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) is taking on the financial burden of the 100 % waiver at the seaports and issuing credit notes to Port Terminal Operators. This is not the case in aviation, as Ground Handling Companies have not been informed by Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) or Federal Airports Authority (FAAN) that Government is giving any financial exchange for storage waiver in the aviation sector. We have shared this fact with the cargo agents and asked them to direct their protest appropriately.
The statement went on to explain that as a responsible corporate organization, employing over 2,200 Nigerian and affecting over 100,000 people in Nigeria directly and indirectly; the COVID-19 has affected the aviation industry the most.
“Today, our industry is faced with revenue loss and cash crunch. Ground Handling Companies are critical aviation service providers and greatly affected. Our cost of operations has risen materially in light of the new safety measures in our operations and all the safety equipment, systems, PPE etc that we have put in place for our staff, customers and stakeholders.
“We appreciate the work and efforts of the Honourable Minister of Aviation, NCAA and FAAN, even as the Aviation industry continues to face the effects of COVID 19, we are challenged and meeting our obligations to staff and paying all that is due to Federal Airport Authority of Nigerian (FAAN), charges such as 5% of our revenue as concession fee, Rent and Service Recovery Charge etc. Going forward is an insurmountable task.
“Ground Handling Companies are private companies just like the Port Terminal Operators in the seaports, Cargo Agents many of whom work in Custom Bonded Warehouses in both the seaports and airports and or belong to associations that operate in same, understand this and the fact that both maritime and aviation industries are in the same economy.
“ They should therefore direct their grievances in the right direction away from the Ground Handling Companies to the appropriate quarters to ensure their desire results of equity in all Customs Bonded Warehouse whether in the seaport or airport,’ it stated.