HomeNewsLagos Airport Gets N1 Billion Boost for Cargo Exports

Lagos Airport Gets N1 Billion Boost for Cargo Exports

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The Lagos airport has received a major upgrade with the inauguration of a new Export Processing and Packaging Centre (EPPC) worth N1 billion. The facility, which was unveiled by the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, on Friday, aims to enhance the export of agricultural and other products from Nigeria to the global market.

The EPPC, which is located at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), is a project of the Nigeria Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) PLC, a leading air transportation support service company in the country. The center is equipped with advanced technology and expertise to address the challenges of exporting perishable goods, such as shelf life, temperature control, packaging, handling, and regulatory compliance.

Keyamo, who was represented by the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Olubunmi Kuku, assured NAHCO of the government’s continued support in the cargo export business, emphasizing the potential for revenue growth and economic development.

He said, “In a world where revenue growth is key, I want to assure NAHCO that we will continue to support them in this and other ventures. I hope that exporters and other stakeholders will take full advantage of this facility to boost Nigeria’s export numbers, which will impact positively on our balance of payment position and strengthen the Naira.”

He also encouraged the stakeholders to utilize the facility for export purposes, noting that the livelihood and prosperity of many Nigerians depend on the export of perishables. He added that the government had established the Cargo Services Directorate in FAAN to enhance freight services and foster innovation in the aviation sector.

Kuku commended NAHCO for its innovative approach and forward-thinking, saying that the company had shown its experience and business sense in building the facility. She also highlighted FAAN’s commitment to promoting cargo development, forming a committee to address facilitation challenges, particularly in exports.

The Chairman of NAHCO, Dr. Seinde Fadeni, expressed gratitude for the government’s support in easing business challenges, emphasized the importance of collaboration, and thanked contributors for the project’s success. He urged the government to bolster NAHCO’s efforts in advancing Nigerian aviation and to convene stakeholders to propel the export segment forward.

He said, “We have achieved this and the new task is to set a new goal. Our only request to the government on this occasion would be that; should we need your support in our quest to move aviation forward in Nigeria in our little way, please be there for us.”

He reiterated NAHCO’s belief in Nigeria’s potential for food exports, stating, “We would need the government to give us all the support we need. The livelihood and indeed prosperity of many Nigerians depend on the export of perishables.”

The Group Managing Director of NAHCO, Indranil Gupta, underscored the strategic significance of the facility, saying that it would enhance the competitiveness and quality of Nigerian products in the global market, and create employment opportunities for the youth. He said that the center was a symbol of NAHCO’s commitment to quality, efficiency, global standards, and customer satisfaction.

He said, “As we commission this center, we are embarking on a journey that not only strengthens our foothold in the global market but also contributes to the economic development of Nigeria. This facility is a symbol of our unwavering commitment to quality, efficiency, global standards, and customer satisfaction.”

He also mentioned that the EPPC provides office spaces for regulatory bodies and government agencies and that NAHCO was committed to nurturing collaborative ties with cargo agents, valued clients of the facility. He expressed gratitude to the government, regulatory bodies, and stakeholders for their unwavering support, which had been instrumental in realizing this vision. He anticipated ongoing collaboration for mutual benefit.

The EPPC is the latest addition to the Lagos airport, which is the busiest and largest airport in Nigeria and West Africa. The airport handles over 7 million passengers and 200,000 tonnes of cargo annually, according to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). The airport is also undergoing a series of upgrades and expansions, including the construction of a new terminal building, the rehabilitation of the runway, and the installation of new security and navigation equipment.

The EPPC is expected to boost the export of agricultural products from Nigeria, which is one of the largest producers of crops such as cocoa, cassava, yam, maize, rice, sorghum, millet, and groundnut in Africa. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Nigeria’s agricultural exports rose by 77.37 percent in 2023, reaching N321.5 billion. The main export destinations for Nigerian agricultural products include India, the Netherlands, Spain, the United States, and China.

The EPPC is also expected to facilitate the export of other products, such as minerals, oil and gas, textiles, leather, and arts and crafts, which are part of the government’s diversification agenda and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. The AfCFTA, which came into effect in January 2021, aims to create a single market for goods and services across the continent and to boost intra-African trade and industrialization.

The inauguration of the EPPC is a sign of hope and progress for the Nigerian aviation sector, which has been hit hard by the global pandemic and other challenges. The sector recorded a 38.86 percent decline in revenue in 2023, according to the NBS. However, with the gradual recovery of the global economy and the easing of travel restrictions, the sector is poised to bounce back and contribute to the nation’s growth and development.

Source: Business Day

 

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