Airfreight stakeholders urge government towards export, import trade boost

The Airfreight Stakeholders Forum (ASF) has urged the federal government to make export and import trade an alternative source of income for the nation in line with economic diversification.

Mr Toyin Olufade, National Chairman of ASF, said this in an interview in Abuja.

“The nation is so reliant on petroleum, 90 per cent of the nation’s income comes from there, and therefore we need to develop an alternative source of income for the nation.

“Lagos is the only state having advantage of this process, they have so much volume of cargoes, and it’s not like Abuja and Kano. Last month the Imo state government launched their own cargo section of the airport.

“Most of the State Governors have now realised that airfreight is an avenue to boost trade but the challenge is that tariff will continue to discourage exporters from using those airports.”

He attributed high tariff by government agencies at the airport as part of the challenges affecting airfreight in the country.

Olufade said there should be government policies to give a kind of waivers when it comes to trade, stating that government agencies should not see trade as an avenue to generate income.

“The state and federal government has to make it a policy not to overtax. They should be tax waivers to encourage the use of those airports.

“We are talking to them, it’s not everything you make money from, even if you are to be making minimal to encourage trade its fine, to encourage export and have newcomers invest in export and import trade.

“There have been various challenges we have been facing, particularly in the areas of cost and procedures. When we say cost, we are talking about either multiple charges, FAAN cost, tax charges, airline cost as well as exchange rate.

“All these challenges affects trade in the country.”

The chairman, however said that the forum plan to partner with states government to encourage exports by the use of those cargo terminals.

He said that government should create a single window transaction to cut the strenuous documentation at the airport during exports.

“We’ve also been asking for single window of transaction from the government where we don’t need to go from one office to the other because it delays the processes but we are hoping to put that in place.

“Although, the government said there should be single window, we are now in the process of designing the map that will tell you what the exact processes are, so you will know what to do at any point in time.”

He however, task freight companies at the various airport to get the necessary equipment for exports especially cold rooms for agro products.