MANAGING Director/CEO Skyway Aviation Handling Company PLC (SAHCO) Basil Agboarumi has told the Senate that the handling company despite its successes so far has had challenges sourcing foreign exchange, lowest handling charges in the region as well as payment of 5% of SAHCO’s gross to FAAN for amenities not provided.
Agboarumi made this known to the Senate Committee on Privatization headed by Senator Theodore Orji who visited the ground handling company during an oversight visit. AGHAN traces historical formation of handling companies as reason for little regulation
The SAHCO PLC boss who expressed joy at the visit emphasized that despite the fact that SAHCO is a success story, it has not been easy doing business.
He said that sourcing for FOREX has been a major challenge because aviation ground handling is about quality ground support equipment and unfortunately, they can only be sourced abroad and these need to be paid for by FOREX.
Another challenge pointed out by the Managing Director is the issue of paying 5% of SAHCO’s gross to FAAN with the expectation of making the Ground Handling business easy by providing the necessary amenities but this is not the case because SAHCO has had to step in to procure some equipment so as to keep up with the global best practices; one of such equipment are the cargo scanners at the warehouse in the Lagos terminal.
The scanners according to Agboarumi is supposed to be procured, manned and maintained by FAAN but this was not happening and was hampering SAHCO’S business of providing top notch services to clients which made SAHCO procure this very expensive equipment.
He also accentuated that while Airlines are given zero tariff on equipment importation, Ground Handlers though operating in the same environment have to pay despite Ground Handling services being heavily reliant on Ground Support Equipment.
He also stressed that payment for Ground Handling Services is one of the lowest in the world and it is something that is enjoyed by the airlines while Ground Handling companies struggle to keep afloat.
On a bright note however he said that since the oversight team has visited the company last there has been a lot of improvement emphasizing that SAHCO was founded from the ashes of the defunct Nigerian Airways and has gone through privatization and is currently listed in the Nigerian Stock Market.
He said the company is domiciled in about 20 states and all the commercially operated airports in Nigeria and is the first Ground Handling company to bring in electric operated Ground Support Equipment in a bid to go green just like the developed countries are doing.
The SAHCO boss pointed out to the team that since SAHCO was privatized and listed, clientele has increased immensely. This is a feat not to be ignored according to him because post privatization, nobody wanted to do business with SAHCO due to the decrepit equipment and demoralized staff. This has changed due to the massive deployment of brand-new state-of-the-art equipment and due remuneration of staff.
Also, he stressed that SAHCO has some equipment undergoing clearing, some are being manufactured and while some are on the sea being transported to Nigeria.
Senator Theodore Orji who led the team of both the Senate Committee and the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) reiterated that despite the constraints that SAHCO undergoes, SAHCO has been able to break even and take up responsibilities that are not supposed to be theirs so as to provide excellent services.
The chairman of the team was awed by all the challenges that SAHCO is going through, and yet they are doing so well.
He said that according to his experience, most companies downsize after privatization but the reverse has been the case at SAHCO.