A critical stakeholder in the freight forwarding subsector of the aviation sector, Alhaji Afolabi Abdullahi Azeez has said that #COVID-19 pandemic has ripped the profession off by 40 percent.
Alhaji Azeez, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Cargo Zeal Technology Nigeria Limited, said this in a chat with newsmen in his office on Tuesday.
According to him, a lot of money was lost during the lockdown period which he said might take some time to recoup.
Azeez who is a chieftain of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Airport Chapter, noted that business activities were badly hit during the lockdown.
He words, “Economic impact has been negative since the pandemic started; a lot of money has been lost, no revenue to the government, a lot of things got escalated, the exchange rate was high.
“COVID-19 has affected freight forwarding business by greater percentage, say about 40 percent because the exchange rate is a big factor because importation business is based on hard currency. What we were buying at N360 per dollar before has now become 450, how can you buy it and who will buy it from you?
Speaking on the recent face-off between terminal operators and freight agents at the airport, he said the issue has been resolved saying that lack of clear cut directive from the government was responsible for the misunderstanding.
“The issue has long been resolved now. It was during the lockdown when the government gave the directive that there was going to be waiver for all imported goods but airport was not specifically mentioned and there were claiming that no such directive was given to them
“It was mentioned by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 where the Minister of Aviation said that terminal operators in the aviation sector were private business owners and that they are not taking directives from the government.
“At the end of the day, the Minister said it was an internal issue and that we should go and resolve it among ourselves since it is a business orieñted issue. So, the federal government did not really have hand in it unlike in the seaport.
“Because of the issue of the pandemic that was not caused by anybody, they magnanimously parted with 80 percent leaving 20 percent for importers to pay,” he stated.
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