Freight forwarders under the aegis of the African Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON) have charged the Federal Government of Nigeria to take action on the deliberate abandonment of the N250million packaging factory at Lagos airport by Free On Board (FOB) Goods and Logistics and Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Plc.
APFFLON noted that if the packaging facility had been completed on time as promised by the CEO of FOB Oluwajimi Adebakin, it would have enhanced the quality and quantity of Nigeria’s exports.
The President of APFFLON, Otunba Frank Ogunojemite gave the charge to the Minister of Aviation Senator Hadi Sirika while expressing the disappointment of the association on the project in an interview with PortNews in Lagos.
According to Ogunojemite “In view of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s mandate of transparency and improving the ease of doing business at Nigerian ports, African Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON) wishes to draw the attention of the Honorable Minister of Aviation to the abandonment of the planned N250million packaging factory at Lagos airport.
“Having waited for almost two years since the Free On Board (FOB) Goods and Logistics firm, in collaboration with Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Plc, announced that it had concluded plans to build a N250 million packaging factory at the Murtala Muhammad Airport (MMA), Lagos, it is unfortunate that the project hasn’t seen the light of day.
“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.
“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.
“At APFFLON, we do call on you as Minister to utilize your supervisory powers to get the project established for the overall good of the nation even as we draw your 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.
“The Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC has linked poor packaging and labelling as the major challenges confronting Nigerian export products overseas.
“A recent report says that 30 percent of our (Nigeria) exports to the US are rejected as a result of poor packaging and labelling, not quality of the products,” he said.
“Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) among others have also lamented that due to a lack of quality control and poor packaging, hundreds of containers loaded with ‘Made in Nigeria’ products are being rejected in the international market and are returned home.”
The APFFLON President said that the CEO of FOB, Oluwajimi Adebakin, had said in the media that the packaging factory had reached the final stage of commencing work. He quoted Adebakin thus: “Our packaging of products is a major issue but we are looking at it seriously. By December or the first quarter of 2021, packaging problems will be a thing of the past. Then, the issue will not be lack of options in packaging, but not using the facility that stakeholders have made available.”
Ogunojemite, however, appealed to NAHCO, FOB and other stakeholders to complete the project timely. “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 appeals that NAHCO, FOB and other stakeholders make good their promise to provide the aviation sector a befitting packaging factory that would enhance the ease of doing business at Lagos airport and other ports.
“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,” said APFFLON President