By Kenneth Jukpor
Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON) has criticized Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) PLC and the Free On Board (FOB) Goods and Logistics firm, for abandoning a N250million packing firm at Lagos airport.
The President of APFFLON, Otunba Frank Ogunojemite made this critique in a letter addressed to the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika obtained by MMS Plus newspaper at the weekend.
Two years after FOB Goods and Logistics firm, in collaboration with NAHCO Plc, announced that it had concluded plans to build a N250 million packaging factory at the Murtala Muhammad Airport (MMA), Lagos, Ogunojemite lamented that it is unfortunate that the project hasn’t seen the light of day.
The veteran freight forwarder argued that NAHCO would have been more willing to make the project feasible if it assured economic gains for the company, but opined that the aviation sector, shippers and the entirety of Nigerian would have benefitted from the project.
According to Ogunojemite, the factory aimed to ‘Brand Nigeria’, to improve the packaging of all local items leaving the country for acceptance globally and APFFLON as well as other stakeholders in the sector had anticipated succour from the facility which would have enhanced the quality and quantity of Nigeria’s exports.
His words: “As captured in the national dailies, precisely TheGuardian in news report dated September 2020 and titled; “Stakeholders partner on N250m packaging factory at Lagos airport”, the Chief Executive of FOB, Oluwajimi Adebakin, told the world that talks were in the final stage with NAHCO towards the commencement of the packaging project as the site had already been secured.”
The APFFLON boss described the project as ‘Brand Nigeria’ and a national assignment which was to ensure that products exported from Nigeria met international standards through proper labeling and packaging.
He stressed that the benefits of this facility would have been enormous even as Nigeria prepares for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA).
“It would have also created jobs for the youth and showed that the government was committed to an enabling environment through its zero-oil policy to encourage the youths in works that would meet standards for export.”
“We call on the Aviation Minister to utilize his supervisory powers to get the project established for the overall good of the nation even as we draw his attention to the fact that NAHCO and its crony, Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO) PLC, have collaborated to increase ground handling charges by 70 percent and successfully collects these new fees for almost two years,” he said.
In view of the numerous challenges facing Nigeria’s economy with huge losses to shippers and exporters as well as the forex problems in the nation, APFFLON appealed to NAHCO, FOB and other stakeholders to make good their promises to provide the aviation sector a befitting packaging factory that would enhance the ease of doing business at Lagos airport.