Ground handlers rally NASS to tax waivers, single-digit interest loans

Ground handlers rally NASS to tax waivers, single-digit interest loansGround handlers in the local aviation sector have urged the National Assembly to expedite the process of granting special status to the sub-sector via the aviation Act pending at the chamber.

The request, as championed by the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCO Aviance), contained a special waiver on imported equipment, tax holiday and loan packages of not more than 10 per cent interest rate to boost ground handling services.

Group Managing Director of NAHCO Plc, Tokunbo Fagbemi, at the reception of the Senate Committee on Privatisation in Lagos, said the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority’s (NCAA) Act, among five others awaiting passage at the National Assembly (NASS), is most critical to ground handling services.

Fagbemi said though the regulatory framework aims to transform the entire sector, especially airlines operations, the ripple effects will rob-off on auxiliary services.

She added that of equal importance is the leeway of waivers, tax incentives and cheap loans to give the handling companies liquidity advantage and new investment opportunities.

“We want the government to look at waivers on duties just like the airlines recently have. We can have some tax incentives and tax relief too. We are also looking at below 10 per cent interest rate borrowings like what the airlines have because we also buy our equipment in foreign exchange.

“It is even worse for us as ground handlers. An airline can sell its aircraft and make money, but we don’t have that advantage. They can choose to convert the aircraft from passenger to freighter, but we are stuck on the equipment depreciating in value. The earlier the system allows commensurate support for ground handlers, the better for the entire industry,” Fagbemi said.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Privatisation, Theodore Orji, pledged to present operators’ desires and their major challenges on the floor of the Senate, for consideration.

Orji, after inspection, expressed satisfaction with the facility.

He said: “I’ve seen the company and I commend the group managing director. They are doing well despite the difficulties posed by COVID-19. They have told us their challenges and we will carry these along and do our best to help them find solutions,” he said.

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