The Chief Executive Officer of FMC Aviation Services Limited, Mr. Herbert Odika, has appealed to the Federal Government to remove landing costs for carriers of perishable items to encourage exports in the country.
Odika who made the call while exchanging views with aviation correspondents in his office at Ikeja, also called on the Federal Government to abolish double taxation by aviation agencies in the country.
According to him, “For perishable items, if the government can give concession in terms of taxes, I will not subscribe to out rightly removing them but concession in terms of lowering them and out rightly removing landing costs for carriers of these perishable goods to encourage them to come into Nigeria and lift and also encourage farmers”.
Odika stated that it was time for Nigeria to commence exportation of the country’s products to the outside world and that government should also learn to concession taxes.
He noted that the volume of cargo imported into the country has drastically dropped, urging the federal government to take advantage of the situation to encourage export by providing enabling environment.
In his words, “If you are flying your aircraft at 50 per cent load factor you go back and re-asses the inability of coming into the country. It is not only about signing agreements, its profit oriented, for now, there is a lot of meltdown especially in the area of cargo and with the current exchange rate in the financial world, its not profitable to import now”.
“Basically as a country, I think it’s an opportunity for people to go into export, the market has now digressed from import to export”. He said
On the prospects of local airlines on the international routes, Odika said that Medview Airlines must be commended for its operations in the London Gatwick route.
According to him, “I have personally flown the airline and I am rather impressed that the model that they put in place is the attractive fare but I don’t know what their profits margins are but I want to say they have done very well in terms of starting this”
He posited that with the experienced leadership at the airline who understand the dynamics of the business, the airline will sustain its operations.
Odika urged the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority(NCAA) to closely monitor airlines maintenance in the country by ensuring their books were up to date.
He advised the Minister of State Aviation Senator, Hadi Sirika to look into how directives were given in the past especially to airlines that accepted directives in the past only for them to run into accumulated bills.
Odika explained that increments should be over time and justified in any area of airline operations, adding that when directives are given spontaneously as a result of the nature of business, airlines will not speak up and that this often time lead to negative effects.
He pointed out that notices to airlines in increment sometimes come at a very short notice, citing example of the NCAA royalties which according to him rose from one cent to 10 cents.
Odika urged aviation agencies to take time to study the operations of airlines in order to understand them in terms of increment, which should be done in a staggered form.