The Senate Committee on Privatization has made a move to tackle some of the challenges limiting the operations of the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO PLC) by bringing them to the floor of the senate to address them.
The committee also commended the operations NAHCO for recording huge successes despite the impact of COVID-19.
Theodore Orji, the chairman, Senate Committee on Privatization, made this known during an Oversight visit to the handling company’s headquarters stating that the committee’s function is to assess the situation with privatized entities and intervene where there is need to, to ensure their operations are fluid.
While addressing the media, after a session with the NAHCO PLC management Orji said, “My take on the company is that I’ve seen it and commended the group managing director, they are doing well.
“Within the presentation, you see the revenue before and you see the revenue now, you see they are trying. It is not easy especially during this COVID period and their areas of operations is so wide that is our impression”
He noted that most of the challenges and constraints of the company are issues that can only be addressed by the government.
The committee chairman said the committee would ensure the relevant agencies and government parastatals get to know about NAHCO’s challenges.
“One of the things we’ve come here to do is find out their problems so we can intervene. Everywhere we have gone, this is the objective. We find out their problems; find out how we can help, assess them to know whether they are doing good or bad and advise them,” he explained.
Also speaking during the visit, Tokunbo Fagbemi, group managing director, NAHCO PLC, who hosted the committee expressed optimism that the committee would take their prayers seriously.
According to her, the crux of their prayer is for the works started on the Civil Aviation Act to be completed as that would pave the way for benefits enjoyed by the airlines to trickle down to handling companies who are dependent on them.
Fagbemi said, “one of the things we’ve asked for is that the work started on the Civil Aviation Act, be completed as soon as possible because we believe that would open up opportunities in and within the civil aviation industry and we support airlines in the same industry so whatever benefits the industry ultimately, will trickle down to us.”
She further explained that better regulatory frameworks will benefit the airlines and when it benefits the airlines, it would benefit the handling companies. “We depend on the airlines and that is why we want the airlines to be stronger,” she added.
The NAHCO boss also said the management discussed the possibilities of granting them waivers, 10 percent interest loans like airlines as well as tax incentives to give the handling company parity as it also buys its equipment in foreign exchange and cannot convert these equipment when they are due for change.
“An airline can sell its aircraft but we can’t sell our equipment; they can choose to convert the aircraft from passenger to freighter but we are stuck with the equipment, when an equipment life is exhausted, we just scrap it,” she explained.