In its quest to ensure all goods, including agricultural produces set aside for expiration out of the country meet international acceptable standards, Nigeria’s Aviacargo roadmap committee has paid a visit to the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) in Lagos.
The committee set up by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to set in motion the parameters needed to make Nigeria the number one cargo destination in Africa, had earlier declared that with the large quantity of agricultural produce taking place in Nigeria nothing should have prevented the largest black populated country from being the number one aviacargo destination on the continent.
Speaking after the tour of the facilities, the national coordinator declared “The visit here today is very important. We were given a mandate to create a roadmap on how Nigeria can become number one in aviacargo in three years. Currently, we are number five in Africa and we are exporting about 200 tonnes of cargo. The number one in African is Kenya. Kenya is a small economy.
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“The Lagos economy is bigger than Kenya and Kenya don’t have a big airport. Their airport is between five million to seven million capacity. There is no parameter that makes Kenya number one in export in Africa.
“So why are we very poor in export? Nigeria is number one producer of many things in Africa in at least 10 products. And we are in the top 10 in 23 products.
“We found out that most of our goods are being rejected.
Because they do not meet the specification of the destination market. Most of them do not have certification from Nigeria.
“So, it is impossible for us to grow our aviacargo without stopping the rejections of our products. We have to make sure that they meet the standards and are tested here before they are exported.”
Ikechi while emphasising the terms of reference of the committee to include articulating action plans that meet international best practices and assigning timelines for facilitation of cargo processing across the country’s airports, also added that the committee was equally charged by FAAN to provide the needed guidelines that will help facilitate the global acceptable standards that will enhance the Public-Private Partnership model for developing modern cargo infrastructures and facilities for optimum air-cargo facilitation.
Responding on behalf of SON, the Director, Training Services, Mr Timothy Abner assured that, test results issued from the SON laboratories are accepted globally even as he assured that, the accreditation of their laboratories is an attestation that they have the competence.
The SON representative hinted at an ongoing plans by the organization to establush some mutual agreements between Nigeria and destinations where the agro-products of the country are being exported, to curb the rejections of the country’s agro-exports.
“We want to do more of mutual recognition agreement with some of the products’destinations. So that once we issue certificate, they will automatically recognize that certificate. These are some of the plans we have and we assure you, we are going to support whatever you have put in place and we will help you to make it work.”
The FAAN MD who was on the entourage used the opportunity to respond to the ongoing controversy over the circulation of adulterated aviation fuel, saying
SON is the only agency that has the expertise to test and certify Jet A1 and other petroleum products.
While acknowledging that though, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) is the regulatory agency charged with the duty of supervising the Petroleum Industry Operation and Processing industry applications for leases, he however said experts at SON have the requisite training for regulations of aviation fuel.
The FAAN MD who was a former staff of SON said “We told authorities that officials of SON needed to be at the point of the process of testing aviation fuel but they were kicked out. The DPR may not have the necessary experts; those who have the expertise have been kicked out. We had meetings with DPR but they blocked SON out of the regulations of Jet fuel”.
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