November 28, 2023
The Federal Government’s push to attain export-driven economic growth in the country might not be accomplished any time soon.

Foreign air cargo still leaves Nigeria’s ports empty

The Federal Government’s push to attain export-driven economic growth in the country might not be accomplished any time soon.

This is coming against the background of stagnation in outbound air cargo since the beginning of 2022. Findings by Vanguard from the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, show that outbound air cargo in the third quarter ended September 30, 2022, (Q3’22), recorded a marginal increase of three per cent or N820 million to N30.92 billion in Q3’22 from N30.1 billion in the second quarter of 2022, Q2’22.

Although the Q3’22 statistic indicates a 170 per cent or N19.44 billion increase from the N11.48 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2021, Q3’21, but it is the outcome of Federal Government’s suspension of flights due to Covid-19 outbreak.

Also, a breakdown of the air cargo figure shows that inbound cargo also witnessed a marginal increase during the period to N271billion, five per cent higher than the N256 billion recorded in Q2’22.

The inbound figure represents a significant 28 per cent decline Year-on-Year, YoY, against N375.19 billion recorded in Q3’21.The overall statistics indicate that most airplanes bringing in air cargo into the country leave the country with little or no cargo, depicting excessive imports and minimal exports. Meanwhile, a further breakdown of the development showed that air transportation recorded a 0.52 per cent share of domestic export and 4.8 per cent share of total imports. The report also noted that goods worth N292.30 million were re-exported.

Re-exported goods are goods of foreign origin which entered Nigeria to be consumed but are subsequently sold to another country without any substantial transformation. In other words, they are exported in the same condition they were imported. In terms of exports, the report noted that Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, came fourth among the top five major ports of operations with goods valued at N29 million.

The bulk of export transactions were carried through Apapa Port with goods valued at N6 billion or 95.21 per cent of total exports. Also, during the period under review, MMIA, along with Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja were among the top 10 posts/ports of operation of trade for export, while Murtala Muhammed  Cargo and Kano Airport emerged amongst the top 10 for import.

Africa accounts for 1.9% global passenger, cargo traffic — IATA

Meanwhile, the International Air Transport Association, IATA, has lamented over poor passenger and cargo traffic across Africa despite the over one billion population.

The global body stated that despite its huge population, the region accounts for only 1.9 per cent of global passenger and cargo traffic. According to IATA’s Regional Vice- President for Africa and the Middle East, Kamil Alawadhi, this is a reminder of how much work has to be done in Africa. “The downturn and abysmal passenger and cargo traffic are attributed largely to the dearth of intra-African connectivity and barriers to market access.“

The latest African Civil Aviation Commission, AFCAC Pilot Implementation Programme, PIP is a welcome initiative, if it enjoys sufficient buy-in and fair play between its 17 participating countries,then it should be a powerful demonstration to the continent’s other 38 nations, of the commercial, economic and social benefits that are waiting. “But let us not kid ourselves and get carried away, patting ourselves on our backs. The PIP is a step towards the Single Africa Air Transport Market, SAATM. Fifth freedom of traffic rights are the most visible and attractive component of SAATM, but the devil is in the detail.

“Not only do we require a common understanding of what these market freedoms are, but also  how they are to be applied and administered. It requires just as much commitment to removing other protectionist instruments such as inconsistent and differential charges as well as administrative obstacles that run counter to the spirit and intentions of SAATM.”

FG kick starts road show to Netherlands, France

In a bid to address the shortfall in cargo movement, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC, has collaborated with the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries, CBI of the Netherlands on a Market Orientation Mission, MOM to the Netherlands and France. The Executive Director/Chief Executive of NEPC, Dr. Ezra Yakusak, said the partnership will enhance the quality of the commodity through capacity-building and market access programmes as well as consideration for the establishment of a Common Facility Centre, CFC. “The activities of the mission will include practical workshops on export market access, visits to companies who are prospective buyers of Nigeria’s spices in Rotterdam and participation in Food Ingredients Europe, FIE in Paris, France.”

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