Thursday, 24 December 2015

CARGO HANDLERS TELL FG TO REDUCE IMPORT AND EXPORT TARIFFS

Owing to its debilitating affected on the volume of goods leaving and entering the country, Cargo handlers in Nigeria have called on the Federal Government to reduce the current tariffs charged on goods.

Yes, the cargo handlers made the call at the weekend in Lagos, at a one-day stakeholders haulage/logistics forum themed: ‘Government Policies: a Panacea to growth and development of haulage logistics sector.

In a communiqué at the end of the forum, they stated that the volume of import and export tariffs should be reduced to a one-digit figure from what it is at the moment just as it was achieved in the downstream petroleum sector, stressing that it will encourage importation and exportation of both finished products and raw materials to boost national economy.

The handlers maintained that cargo haulage/logistics sector is a major sector in the overall growth of Nigerian economy that deserves government attention on every facet, on its match for economic prosperity and, for effective competition with other economies around the globe.

They further contended that there should be reduction in lending rates by banks to ensure that loans are made available to genuine businessmen and women who would like to invest in the sector. Similarly, there should be the granting of tax holidays to Nigerian manufacturer as an incentive to encourage export from Nigeria.

According to the communiqué, there should be an integration of the various modes of transportation in order to achieve industry purpose. This could be done reviving the comatose rail system and the near decay road mode of transportation.

It added that over $5.3 trillion worth of cargo is transported across the globe annually and that Nigeria will gain substantially from this amount if the right policies are put in place.

Speaking at the forum, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, NAHCO Aviance, Mr. Norbert Bielderman, said: “Some hard facts tell us that we are operating below our potential as far as air travel was concerned. According to the World Bank, a total number of 4,289,094 cargoes travelled by air in Nigeria in 2014. This does not compare favourably with the figure for South Africa, which is 16,606,348.”

According to the NAHCO Aviance boss, the continued low price of Nigeria’s major revenue earning crude oil also is a major contributor as to why the industry is witnessing reduced cargo imports this year.

He added: “No single operator in the aviation sector is isolated from the general lull in business activities in the sector. Our story in NAHCO Aviance however is one of resilience. As at the ending of November, NAHCO Aviance handled 77 Million tonnes of cargo translating to about N4.5Billion. With many state governments in debt and unable to pay their workers and contractors, the ability of the average importer to bring cargo into the country is severely hindered.” (Guardian)