The managing director, Skyway Aviation Handling Company Limited (SAHCOL), Basil Agboarumi, has lamented continued collection of 5
per cent gross earnings by the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), despite non-provision of necessary equipment by the agency.
In a statement by SAHCOL’s spokesperson, Vanessa Uansohia, and made available to LEADERSHIP, she said the managing director made the disclosure when the senate committee on privatisation visited the ground handling company in Abuja.
According to the MD, the ground handling firm had to purchase cargo scanners at the warehouse in the Lagos terminal, an equipment that was supposed to be provided by FAAN.
He said: “One of the challenges is the issue of paying 5 per cent of SAHCOL’s gross earning to FAAN with the expectation of making the ground handling business easy by providing the necessary amenities.”
He however, noted that this is not the case because SAHCOL has had to step in to procure some equipment so as to keep up with global best practice in its operations. One of such equipment is the cargo scanner at the warehouse in the Lagos terminal.
“Despite the fact that SAHCOL is a success story, it has not been easy doing business. Sourcing for forex has been a major challenge because the aviation ground handling business relies on quality ground support equipment and unfortunately, they can only be sourced abroad and these need to be paid for with forex.”
The scanners, according to Basil, were supposed to be procured, manned and maintained by FAAN but this was not happening and was hampering SAHCOL’s business of providing top notch services to clients.
“Post-privatisation, nobody wanted to do business with SAHCOL due to the decrepit equipment and demoralised staff. This has changed due to the massive deployment of brand-new state-of-the-art equipment and due remuneration of staff.”
Agboarumi also emphasized that while airlines are given zero tariff on equipment importation, ground handlers, though operating in the same environment, have to pay despite ground handling services being heavily reliant on ground support equipment.
He also stressed that payment for ground handling services is one of the lowest in the world; something he said is enjoyed by the airlines while ground handling companies struggle to keep afloat.
In his response, Senator Theodore Orji who led the team of both the Senate Committee and the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) reiterated that despite the constraints that SAHCOL was grappling with, the company has been able to break even and take up responsibilities that were not supposed to be theirs to provide excellent services.