ANLCA, NAGAFF, NAFFAC leaders formerly agreed 100% hike – Akorede
Amid the ongoing protests following the 100 percent increment in tariffs by Aviation handling companies; Skyway Aviation Handling Company Limited (SAHCOL) and the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, the Africa Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON) has thrown its weight behind a tariff increment by 75 percent.
The association made this known in a press conference at its national secretariat yesterday, even as it lamented that leaders of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) and National Association of Freight Forwarders and Consolidators (NAFFAC) had agreed 100 percent increment with the ground handling companies without recourse to their members.
Speaking at the press briefing, the Chairman of APFFLON, MMIA chapter, Mr. Victor Akorede stated that APFFLON is not against the recent increase in tariff by Aviation handling companies as those kicking against the new tariff regime are only being hypocritical.
His words: “APFFLON, as an advocate of Ease of Doing Business internationally, does not see anything insensitive about the newly introduced tariff regime. Those threatening to withdraw their services should also bear in mind that Aviation handling companies are not government companies, and are being affected by the harsh economic situation as well. They are at liberty to fashion out ways to remain in business and these companies have members of staff to pay salaries and as public liability companies, they have shareholders who are entitled to Returns on Investment (RoI).”
“We are all aware of the setback and havock wrecked on International businesses by Covid-19, and cargo handling companies were not excluded. Today, prices of passengers tickets across airlines have increased to over 300 percent, yet nobody or group is coming out to protest against the development. The continued plunging of Naira against the USD and other world currencies is causing serious inflation which is adversely affecting businesses as well.”
“Price comparison with other African countries as regards cargo handling charges is almost at par or a bit higher than that of our indigenous companies.”
Meanwhile, he recalled that in 2019, APFFLON went to court seeking to stop the same increment because at the time it saw no genuine reason behind it rather than a move inspired by greed and to extort Nigerians.
“We did not find the increment justifiable and that informed our filing a lawsuit against the cargo handling companies in 2019. Indeed, APFFLON is amazed that despite several engagements and agreement with handlers they can still allow their internal wrangling to affect their decisions. Why have our sister associations been unable to find their voices even as the Federal Government continues to slam fresh levies on imported vehicles as well as the prolonged stay of the controversial Customs Service Provider, Webb Fontaine? Why have they not been bold enough to protest?” the APFFLON MMIA Chairman asked rhetorically.
He also observed that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had given approval for the ground handling companies to increase their fares, after due deliberations with necessary stakeholders.
“Our sister associations are being insensitive to the plights of the cargo handlers as well, because on one or two occasions, some members of staff at one of the companies went on strike over poor working conditions, which was a clear indication that the harsh government policies and galloping inflation also affect them as it affects individuals and private enterprises,” he posited.
Noting the current tough economic situation in Nigeria and its galloping inflation, the association commended the handling companies for downward review of the initial 100 percent increase to 75 percent, adding that it shows they are sensitive to the plight of their customers.