THE Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCOaviance) has revealed that between 2016-2021 it has exported 20 million kilogrammes of cargo majorly agricultural produce stressing that there is a lot of opportunities in that area of business.
Group Managing Director, Nahcoaviance Mrs. Olatokunbo Fagbemi, revealed this last week at a webinar conference organised by the Nigerian-British Chambers of Commerce (NBCC) with the theme: ‘Unlocking Trade and Export Opportunities in the Agricultural Sector.’
This as she also told participants that the ground handling company has taken delivery of N2 billion state-of-the-arts Ground Support Equipment (GSE) in the last two years.
Mrs. Fagbemi, in her presentation, said the volume was achieved through the company’s synergy with other agencies like the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Quarantine and other organisations in the sector for the exportation of goods out of the country.
She said “We have five cargo facilities and in all these facilities, we are able to carry out export cargo; agricultural and non-agricultural produce. We have maintained all the safety and security standards over the years.
On the N2 billion worth of equipment acquired by the ground handling company was for facility upgrade across the nation’s airports, Mrs. Fagbemi said they were the equipment had further positioned NAHCO as a leading ground handling company in the sector.
According to her, NAHCO handles directly airlines to over 20 countries, including China and India, while the carriers operate to beyond 51 points across the globe.
In a bid to grow the economy, Fagbemi canvassed for the development of the non-oil sector, stressing that with this, development in Nigeria would be accelerated, stressing that more direct jobs would be created.
She explained that NAHCO operates from 16 stations nationwide with easy connections to domestic and international airports and cities across the world.
She emphasized that NAHCO had five cargo facilities in Lagos, Enugu, Port Harcourt, Kano and Abuja Airports, noting that cargo airlines are able to connect the world through these airports it operates from.
“We also have our subsidiaries, which are Mainland Company; a full-fledged logistics support company and NAHCO Free Trade Zone. The platforms are to drive the export drive of Nigeria. We are ready to collaborate with NBCC and its members as we believe that growth of the economy will be through non-oil export.”
Also speaking on the 20 million kilogrammes of cargo exportation in the last five years; the Director, Commercial and Business Development, NAHCOaviance, Prince Saheed Lasisi said in his presentation at the webinar that a lot of opportunities are available in the exportation of cargo by air, but lamented that most exporters were not aware of these opportunities, which would further aid their operations.
He explained further that in the past seven months, NAHCO had commenced direct cargo handling from China, but regretted that the cargo planes return to China empty due to lack of cargo for exportation from Nigeria.
He noted further that the plan of NAHCO was to increase cargo exportation by 40 percent from the third quarter of 2021, but canvassed for the support of the government in actualisation of this drive.
Earlier in his opening remarks, Mr. Kayode Falowo, the President, NBCC, hoped that the webinar would help to drive the right policy and unlock the numerous potential of agriculture in Nigeria.
He explained that recent statistics released by the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBC) indicated that in the fourth quarter of 2020, agricultural export was N55.8 billion, but lower than the N60 billion in the previous year.
Some of the challenges facing the agricultural sector in Nigeria according to him included the high cost of inputs, poor access to credit facility and poor marketing and called on the government to address the challenges.
He pointed out that the share of agriculture in Nigeria was still insignificant when compared to the oil sector.
“The webinar is timely as Nigeria seeks to diversify its economy away from oil, but we are yet to get our acts together on this diversification,” he said.
Mr. Sam Khan from the UK in his presentation said that agricultural growth was one of the most powerful tools to end extreme poverty, but noted the supply chains in Africa had been poor and irregular.
Kahn further mentioned logistics, unsustainable farming practices and inconsistent policies as some of the banes preventing agricultural growth in Africa.
He charged the Nigerian Government and private organisations to collectively develop infrastructure and upgrade the facilities for the sector, saying this would lead to food surplus in the country.
The NBCC is the foremost bilateral chamber in Nigeria with the objective to promote trade and investment between the country and Britain since its establishment in 1977.
It currently has over 350 members from Nigeria and United Kingdom.