Worried by over two years of inaction, the African Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON) has drawn the attention of the Honorable Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika to the planned N250 million packaging factory at Lagos airport abandoned by the promoters after the project was conceived.
APFFLON in a statement in Lagos on Monday regretted that the project which was conceived two years ago hasn’t seen the light of day after the promoters of the project, 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 Mohammed Airport (MMA), Lagos.
The statement revealed that the factory was aimed to “Brand Nigeria” as well as to improve the packaging of all local items leaving the country for acceptance globally adding that 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 statement recalled that the Chief Executive Officer of FOB, Oluwajimi Adebakin as captured in the national dailies, precisely The Guardian news report dated September 2020 and titled; “Stakeholders partner on N250m packaging factory at Lagos airport”, told reporters that talks were in the final stage with NAHCO towards the commencement of the packaging project as the site had already been secured.
“Adebakin explained that the ‘Brand Nigeria project’, which he described as a national assignment, was to ensure that products exported from Nigeria meet international standards through proper labeling and packaging”, it added.
“Our packaging of products is a major issue but we are looking at it seriously. By December or 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,” the statement quoted Adebakin.
It argued that the benefits of the 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”, it stated.
APFFLON, in the statement further recalled that the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC had listed poor packaging and labelling as the major challenges confronting Nigerian export products to overseas.
It quoted the Director, Business Development at NEPC, William Eze as saying in Lagos recently that Nigerian products destined for export, especially to US market, have been faced with poor packaging which resulted in rejections.
“A recent report says that 30 percent of our (Nigeria) exports to US are rejected as a result of poor packaging and labelling, not quality of the products,” Eze said according to the statement.
It continued, “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.
“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 to 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.”
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