Stories by Lawani Mikairu
MANAGING Director of Skyway Aviation Handling Company Limited, SAHCOL, Mr. Rizwan Kadri has said the refusal of foreign airlines to use Kaduna Airport as alternate airport to Abuja during the proposed closure of Abuja airport for six weeks will make SAHCOL lose much revenue.
While commending federal government’s plans to close Abuja Airport runway for repairs he, however, said wider consultation should have been done before final decision was arrived at as some of the stakeholders who will be affected were not carried along.
According to Kadri, “We are happy for the repairs but many loopholes were not taken into consideration because of 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.
SAHCOL will definitely lose a lot because many of the foreign airlines have refused to fly into Kaduna.” He also said the company now handles 17 airlines, and lost Emirates and United Airlines, not to non-performance but for scarcity of dollar which made United Airlines to leave Nigeria, adding that Emirates promised to come back.
The SAHCOL chief also called on the federal government to support agro-allied export as Nigerian economy is mono-export with crude oil as the major export commodity.
He said that there is need for government to immediately encourage agriculture by supporting farmers with grants and facilities, adding that Nigeria is losing export business to Ghana because the country offers competitive freight charges and does higher level of export compared to Nigeria.
His words, “In terms of encouraging export, especially perishable goods, we are ready to align with government’s vision. We are ready to support that plan; we are ready to go the extra mile to support the farmers but government has to do a lot in that direction”.
Kadri noted that agro-allied export would have been a good business in Nigeria but for lack of packaging facilities, lack of grants to farmers, disclosing that, “we are really losing this business to Ghana because yams that are exported from Nigeria to Ghana are packaged as ‘made in Ghana’ for onward export to Europe”.