APFFLON decries abandonment of N250m packaging factory at Lagos airport

APFFLON decries abandonment of N250m packaging factory at Lagos airport

By Steve Agbota

African Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics of Nigeria (APFFLON) he decried the abandonment of the N250 million packaging factory, meant to enhance Nigeria’s items for exports at Lagos airport.

Daily Sun learnt that the factory aimed to “Brand Nigeria,” to improve the packaging of all local items leaving the country for acceptance globally.

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In a petition by the President of APFFLON, Otunba Frank Ogunojemite and titled, “A Call For Ministerial Action On Delayed Packaging Factory Promised At Lagos Airport,” said in view of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s mandate of transparency and improving the ease of doing business at Nigerian ports, APFFLON wishes to draw the attention of the Minister of Aviation to the abandonment of the planned N250 million packaging factory at Lagos airport.

However, Ogunojemite disclosed that APFFLON as well as other stakeholders in the sector had anticipated succour from the facility, which would have enhanced the quality and quantity of Nigeria’s exports.

“Having waited for almost two years since the Free On Board (FOB) Goods and Logistics firm, in collaboration with Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Plc, announced that it had concluded plans to build a N250 million packaging factory at the Murtala Muhammad Airport (MMA), Lagos, it is unfortunate that the project hasn’t seen the light of day.

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“As captured in the national dailies, precisely The Guardian in news report dated September 2020 and titled; “Stakeholders partner on N250m packaging factory at Lagos airport,” the Chief Executive of FOB, Oluwajimi Adebakin, told reporters that talks were in the final stage with NAHCO towards the commencement of the packaging project as the site had already been secured.

“Adebakin explained that the “Brand Nigeria project”, which he described as a national assignment, was to ensure that products exported from Nigeria meet international standards through proper labeling and packaging.

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“Adebakin said our packaging of products is a major issue but we are looking at it seriously. By December or first quarter of 2021, packaging problems will be a thing of the past. Then, the issue will not be lack of options in packaging, but not using the facility that stakeholders have made available,” he said.

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Ogunojemite said the benefits of the facility would have been enormous even as Nigeria prepares for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA), adding that it would have also created jobs for the youth and showed that the government was committed to an enabling environment through its zero-oil policy to encourage the youths in works that would meet standards for export.

“At APFFLON, we do call on you as Minister to utilize your supervisory powers to get the project established for the overall good of the nation even as we draw your attention to the fact that NAHCO and its crony, Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO) PLC, have collaborated to increase ground handling charges by 70 per cent and successfully collects these new fees for almost two years,” he stated.

Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has linked poor packaging and labelling as the major challenges confronting Nigerian export products to overseas.

“The Director, Business Development at NEPC, William Eze in Lagos, recently said Nigerian products destined for export, especially to US market, have been faced with poor packaging which resulted in rejections. A recent report says that 30 percent of our (Nigeria) exports to US are rejected as a result of poor packaging and labelling, not quality of the products.

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“Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) among others have also lamented that due to a lack of quality control and poor packaging, hundreds of containers loaded with ‘Made in Nigeria’ products are being rejected in the international market and are returned home,” he explained.

In view of the numerous challenges facing Nigeria’s economy with huge losses to shippers and exporters as well as the forex problems in the nation, APFFLON appeals that NAHCO, FOB and other stakeholders to fulfill their promises to provide the aviation sector a befitting packaging factory that would enhance the ease of doing business at Lagos airport and other ports.

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