SAHCO is requesting a zero-duty waiver on the importation of ground support equipment (GSE) from the Nigerian government.
SAHCO CEO, Basil Agboarumi, expressed concerns over the significant amount of money spent on customs duties for equipment imports.
The company, therefore, called for equal treatment with airline operators, who have already been granted duty waivers.
Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO) has once again called on the Federal Government to grant it a zero-duty waiver on the importation of Ground Support Equipment (GSE).
Speaking exclusively to Nairametrics on the sidelines of the company’s 13th Annual General Meeting, CEO Basil Agboarumi said that SAHCO spent a “huge amount of money” on payment of customs duties on the importation of equipment in the past year.
He, however, declined to specify the actual amount of money the company spent but said some of its equipment takes a year to manufacture from European manufacturers. He said:
“We have paid a huge amount of money as customs duties, but I don’t have the actual figure with me here. It is a serious pain trying to bring equipment into this country. We suffer more trying to bring equipment into the country than any other country around the world.
“In Europe, the equipment is manufactured there. What they just do is move them to the airports from the manufacturers, but here, it takes us about a year to get our equipment manufactured. Then, we have to ship them to the ports and sometimes the equipment will be at the ports for about three months before we can get them out. As organisations, we pay tax, too, but we are not getting much support as we expected from the government.”
Lack of duty waiver is a problem
Agboarumi lamented the failure of the government to approve duty waivers for the ground handling companies in the sector, despite giving the same leverage to the airline operators in the industry.
He explained that the airlines and the ground-handling companies operate in the same environment and wondered why the same privilege could not be granted to the ground-handling companies.
The company won’t give up on its lobbying efforts
He, however, promised that the handlers would not be discouraged by the non-response of government’s on its request, promising that it would continue to lobby the National Assembly and the Executives to ensure the removal of the customs duties on its imported equipment.
“It is a continuous push. Even if the government answers us, there is nothing wrong in asking for more, but the government is yet to listen to our pleas on this issue. We know it is the right way to go. Possibly, our voice has not been loud enough, but this time around, we will shout louder so that we can be heard.
“Don’t forget that lobbying is part of the business; we will engage the National Assembly and the Executives more and all the people they have in the industry. It is the right way to go. What is sourced for the goose should also be sourced for the gander. We are in the same industry as one body. Whatever one body is enjoying, it is important that other bodies also enjoy the same.”
What you should know
Nigerian handling companies, through their association the Aviation Ground Handling Association of Nigeria (AGHAN), have long been canvassing for duty waivers, special windows for foreign exchange and other incentives.
At one of its recent outings, the Chairman of AGHAN, Mr Olaniyi Adigun, said the handling companies needed government support to remain in business.
According to him, the handling companies could not be isolated from the echo system of the aviation industry.
The AGHAN Chairman decried that due to the recent downturn in the economy occasioned by the fall of the naira against major currencies, the handling companies were struggling to acquire modern GSE to augment their services.
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