NIGERIAN agricultural exports are suffering as a result of exporters and airlines abandoning the sector as a result of the extortionate charges being levied by government agencies at ports and airports which makes shipping unprofitable.
An untapped resource, Nigeria’s agricultural sector has huge potential as the country is the sixth largest farming goods producer in the world. However, Nigeria has failed to tap into this resource and she is not a major player in the global export market, mainly due to the fact that many of her products do not meet international trading standards.
Of late, there have been moves to address this as Nigeria seeks to diversify her economy but foreign cargo airlines and local exporters are fast abandoning the sector over stifling official bottlenecks at airports. Complicated roadblocks have been mounted by government agencies in the form of extortions, harassment and multiple charges on exports, causing international cargo airlines to prefer flying out of Nigeria empty.
Although exports are supposed to be free, multiple government agencies began charging extortionate levies as from the beginning of this year. Apparently, of the 16 sundry charges levied on goods coming in or departing the country via airports, only five are officially recognised.
Cargo agencies said the implication is the current trade imbalance of import-to-export that currently stands at a ratio of 87:13. Stakeholders said the federal government and relevant agencies had for too long just spoken about the ease of doing business without doing anything to address the problems in the cargo section of the air travel industry.