Foreign cargo airlines depart empty over extortion, multiple charges

Due to choking administrative bottlenecks at airports, foreign cargo planes and local exporters are fast abandoning Nigeria’s multibillion-dollar agro-export.

Apart from the difficulties of importing products into Nigeria, more complicated barricades have been mounted by government agencies in the form of extortions, harassment and multiple charges on export goods, causing international cargo airlines to prefer flying out of Nigeria empty.

In spite the fact that export was meant to be free, NEWSNAIJA gathered that the irregularities began at the start of the year, with several government agencies presently on revenue overload both for “government purses and private wallets.”

Only five of the 16 charges tracked for items entering or leaving the nation through airports are lawfully recognized.

The implication, according to cargo agencies, is the present trade imbalance of import-to-export, which stands at 87:13, and a loss of at least $250 billion on agro-export produce to the country.

 

The stakeholders said that the Federal Government and associated agencies had preached ease of doing business for far too long without affecting the cargo section of air travel.

The present administration, like its predecessor, has begun to spread the economy by promoting non-oil exports.

The official excitement to help exporters and execute government policies was yet to be shown at cargo airports, despite the fact that the export potential is undeniable.

Every request to export beans, fruits, pap, garri (cassava flour), and cashew nuts to Europe or America, for example, is met with at least 16 charges at Lagos airport. It was 15 degrees in Abuja.

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) collects a 5% Cargo Service Charge (CSC); the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) charges N5 to N23/kg; Customs charges of N60 – N97/kg; ground handling charges of N45 to N90/kg (depending on produce or product); and freight charges accruable to the airlines are among the official charges.

 Plant quarantine service fees for hygienic certification, estimated at N15,000 on average; association dues and FOU charges on the packaging, ranging from N15,000 for a car/van, N25,000 for a bus/truck, and N45,000 to N50,000 for a trailer full of goods, are all unofficial and unreceived charges.