BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
The Nigerian House of Representatives has mandated its Committees on Finance, Aviation, Agricultural Production and Services and other relevant committees to investigate the alleged extortions and sundary charges on air freighting and agro-export businesses in Nigeria.
The House resolution followed a motion by Hon. Toby Okechukwu, Deputy House Minority Leader.
Presenting the motion titled: “Need to Investigate Alleged Extortions and Sundary Charges on Air freighting and Agro-Export Businesses in Nigeria,” on Wednesday 29th September, 2021, Hon. Toby Okechukwu said that 11 out of 16 sundry charges lined up against air cargo are illegal and that official bottlenecks, extortion, exorbitant and multiple charges are discouraging cargo airlines from operating in Nigeria as they prefer cargos from other African countries which offer them more favourable conditions;
Toby Okechukwu said: “The House: Notes the Federal Government’s interest in economic diversification and promotion of non-oil exports.
“Also notes that Nigeria is a signatory to various regional, continental and global trade arrangements such as the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA);
“Further notes the investigative report in the September 23, 2021 edition of the Guardian Newspaper which alleged that foreign cargo airlines were departing Nigeria empty due to extortion and multiple charges;
“Cognizant of Nigeria’s huge agro-export potential, with 22 non-oil products worth over $150 billion in export value yearly already penciled in the new export promotion programme of the Federal Government;
“Aware that export is supposed to be free in Nigeria under extant laws and regulations, except for the airline’s charges and payments to ground handlers;
“Worried by recent reports that 11 out of 16 sundry charges lined up against air cargo are illegal and that official bottlenecks, extortion, exorbitant and multiple charges are discouraging cargo airlines from operating in Nigeria as they prefer cargos from other African countries which offer them more favourable conditions;
“Concerned about Nigeria’s import-to-export airfreight ratio imbalance, which is estimated at 87:13 and also that Nigeria’s agro-allied market potential worth over $250 billion is wasting away, while local exporters are fast abandoning the multi-billion dollars’ worth agro-export business.”
Following the motion, the House resolved to condemn all charges and actions that are debilitating air cargo exports in Nigeria;
The House also mandated the Committees on Finance, Aviation, and Agricultural Production and Services, Custom Service and other relevant bodies to investigate the issues adversely affecting air cargo freighting in Nigeria and report back within two (2) weeks for further legislative action.