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Poor airport infrastructure, policy inconsistency killing commercial exports

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More facts have emerged on why the ongoing diversification campaign by the federal government may not work in the exportation of several local products from airports.

Explaining this challenge in an interview, Dr. Segun Musa, the Chairman of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) said “Prospective exporters of cargos need to know the demands of the buying countries, at what standards and rate are those things going to be exported to them”.

He said presently, a lot of people wanted to export but they are not informed about the bilateral agreements of those countries with Nigeria in terms of export, stressing that “there is what we call Process Department for exportation, because there must be a processing facility on ground that must do the packaging, branding and internationally acceptable standards for exportation”. “These we don’t have within the aviation sector. So, we still go about our local packaging, labeling and exportation processes.

He noted that even though the products are air lifted, they are only accepted in smaller quantities and not the targeted commercial quantities.

He said “That is why till date, a lot of people cannot export in commercial quantity unless probably they have to smuggle through other means. So, if you are producing beyond local consumption and want to concentrate on export consumption, yet you need to have the requirements and standard for that venture, definitely you are producing for waste”.

On whose job it is to provide the infrastructure, Musa said “Government just needs to look at the facility available to enhance exportation before they start thinking about economic diversification. If those facilities are not on ground and you want to go into commercial exportation, you are just as good as joking”.

According to the NAGAFF chief at MMIA, “We cannot do commercial exportation because we don’t have the quantity on ground with the exception of only few people that probably from their factories have that equipment to achieve that. But when talking about our traders that have dedicated their lives to farming and kinds of productions that wants to start focusing on international domain on exporting, such facility are not on ground.

“Again, government policy has never been favorable. The government has not come forward with policies that will enhance and encourage trade facilitation when it comes to exportation. Take for instance; of recent we were to be exporting donkey skin in large quantity because it was required in China, Hong Kong and some European countries. When it was realized that these things are actually going in large quantity, they invaded the airport and they stopped it.

“The only excuse given was that those things were contraband because they do not go through processing. We begin to ask, in the gazette of the Customs, it was specified that those things must go through processing not necessarily to the finished leather. The intension is not for it to be finished leather otherwise, what is the need for exportation when we need finished leather here?

He decried that because of their personal interest, they stalled the exportation of that donkey skin that would have actually boost not only revenue to the ground handling companies but also the airlines, port management agencies, asides the duties as so on. They have stopped it now. It is like at every time the government tries to diversify; the Customs will come with excuses to discourage it.


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