• Saturday, May 18, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

SIFAX, FG collaborate on aviation development

Customs join forces with NEPC to boost export trade  Amaka Anagor-Ewuzie  The Nigeria Customs Service has expressed its readiness to collaborate with the Nigeria Export Promotion Commission (NEPC) to enhance export trade from Nigeria.  Adewale Adeniyi, comptroller-general of Customs, disclosed this during a recent courtesy visit by the management team of the commission to the Customs Corporate Headquarters in Abuja.  “Collaborating with the Nigeria Export Promotion Commission will enable Customs to leverage the Commission’s expertise and resources to further streamline export processes, reduce bottlenecks, and create an enabling environment for exporters,” he said.  During a joint meeting held at the Customs Corporate Headquarters in Abuja, the Comptroller-General reiterated the importance of redefining exports as a means to increase the volume of outbound trade.  He commended Nigeria’s efforts in managing trade but emphasised the need for enhanced support for exports, particularly in the realm of logistics.  In response, Nonye Ayeni, executive director of the NEPC, commended the Comptroller-General of Customs for his achievements since assuming office in 2023.  She said Nigeria has an abundance of resources especially agricultural products and solid minerals, adding that there is a need for advocacy with relevant agencies to alleviate the challenges faced by exporters.  Ayeni emphasised the significance of non-oil exports for economic growth and development, even as she called for collaboration between agencies of government to actualise the “Export 35 redefined” initiative.  She also urged sister agencies to actively contribute to minimising logistical challenges exporters face and advocated for establishing aggregation centres to facilitate export.  According to her, the meeting with Nigeria Customs is part of NEPC’s commitment to fostering partnerships with key stakeholders in the trade sector to facilitate smoother trade operations and promote economic growth.  Ajibola Odusanya, Customs Area Controller of Lilypond Export Command Lagos, highlighted the importance of Nigeria Export Proceeds (NXP) to repatriate export proceeds and emphasised that no formal export can be done without it.  He identified the absence of NXP as a significant challenge for exporters, stressing its importance in facilitating trade

SIFAX Group and its aviation partner, Changi Airports International from Singapore have opened discussions on strategic collaboration with the Federal Government and Lagos State government to develop the country’s aviation sector.

SIFAX Group, through one of its subsidiaries, SAHCO Plc, is already a major player in the aviation ground handling space. However, the consortium is looking to explore more business prospects in the sector such as aviation terminal management, airline management and development and other ancillary services.

In various meetings recently with Kasim Shettima, the Vice President; Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos State Governor; and Festus Keyamo, the Minister of Aviation, the Group reiterated its commitment to the development of Nigeria’s aviation sector, explaining that the company has the capacity to contribute substantially to the growth of the sector, which will impact the nation in terms of job creation, tourism development and economic growth.

Taiwo Afolabi, Chairman of the Consortium noted that SIFAX Group has a track record of turning around enterprises for profitability in Nigeria and beyond. Citing the example of SAHCO Plc which was carved out of the defunct Nigeria Airways and was concessioned to the Group in 2009, Afolabi noted that SIFAX Group has invested heavily in growing it to become the number one cargo handling company in West Africa, as well as being listed on the Nigeria Stock Exchange.

He said: “SAHCO is a very good example of the Group’s capacity and expertise in turning around enterprises for growth and profitability. Our port terminal, at Tin Can Island Port, Lagos is also another example we can reference to solidify our claims. It was in a bad shape when we won the concessioning in 2006 but years down the line, we are proud of the innovations we have introduced that has transformed the terminal to the leading indigenous terminal in the Lagos port.

“We are also turning around the fortune of Warri Terminal B, in Warri Delta State which was abandoned for years. All of these experiences and expertise alongside our technical partnership with Changi Airports International can be put at the disposal of the Federal Government and Lagos State government in their quests to float their respective airlines and the development and management of airport terminals across the country.”

Roy Toh, Director, International Projects, Changi Airports International, said its partnership with SIFAX Group would enable the consortium to replicate what Changi Airports had done across the globe.