…Company handled 31m tons, 35m tons of cargoes in 2015, 2016 respectively
…laments low export business in Nigeria
By Sade Williams
Skyway Aviation Handling Company Limited (SAHCOL) was able to stay above board despite the huge challenges that confronted the aviation and allied business sector in 2016 due to strong, dedicated team and fantastic facilities put in place Rizwan Kadri, managing director the company, has said.
He spoke on Thursday at a press conference at the company’s headquarters at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos.
According to him, the impact of the challenges vis-à-vis dollar scarcity and others that resulted from the economic recession was huge, but SAHCOL was able to achieve a lot of things.
“It was a challenging year, a lot of things were achieved but slowly, we could have done much better, it could have been worse but thanks to strong team and fantastic facilities we have in place, we did manage to get on, it was still a good year for us but not as expected, because of dollar scarcity, import fell, the impact is huge but we look forward to 2017 to be great”, he said.
Kadri, who disclosed that the company in 2015, handled 31million tons of cargo and in 2016, 35 million tons, lamented that the export business would have been very good and profitable in Nigeria but for lack of packaging facilities in the country.
He said there is need for government to immediately encourage the business by supporting farmers with grants and facilities, adding that Nigeria is losing the business to Ghana.
“In terms encouraging export, especially perishable goods, we are ready to align with government vision, we are ready top support that plans, we are ready to go the extra mile to support the farmers but government has to do a lot in that direction. Export would have been a good business but there are no packaging facilities, no vans, there can be grants to farmers, we are really losing this business to Ghana because Yams that are exported from Nigeria to Ghana and packaged with ‘made in Ghana’ for onward export to Europe”, he lamented.
He however said that for 2017, SAHCOL will keep enhancing sales level, improve infrastructure to meet demands and improve products and services, adding, ‘we have put some strategies in place to re-invent some things’.
Kadri, who said the company now handles 17 airlines, said it lost Emirates and United Airlines but not to non-performance but for scarcity of dollar which United left Nigeria for, adding that Emirates promised to come back .
While commending federal government over plans to close Abuja Airport for runway repairs, he said SAHCOL will definitely lose a lot because many of the foreign airlines have refused to fly into Kaduna.
“We are happy for the repairs but many loopholes were not taken into consideration from stakeholders, especially ground handling companies, we are going to lose a lot. If we realise between N70 million to N80 million from Abuja in a month, then we are going to lose that, we are going to pay staff too, it’s a huge burden on us”, he said.
On the Helicopter that was impounded by Custom at SAHCOL shed, Kadri said SAHCOL is only a service provider, adding that it needs to recover about N70 million on that business but lamented that the company does not even know who will pay for the services.