The Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) on Friday, January 26th, 2024, celebrated the grand opening of their billion-naira export processing and packaging facility at the Hajj and Cargo area of Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos.
Driven by NAHCO’s strategic vision to revolutionize the export landscape and propel Nigeria forward in the global market, the journey to building this state-of-the-art facility began in 2021.
The inauguration of the facility attracted leading figures from the export and import value chain, investors, and well-wishers, all captivated by the center’s potential to skyrocket Nigeria’s export numbers.
The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo, represented by the Managing Director Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria FAAN Mrs Olubunmni Kuku graced the occasion as the special guest.
His words resonated with pride and hope: “For 44 years, NAHCO has consistently demonstrated exceptional professionalism and innovation, staying ahead of the curve and enriching this industry we hold dear. You have kept your customers and investors happy.” He emphasized the crucial role exports play in Nigeria’s economic growth and development, declaring, “This is why I am most excited for this facility’s opening for business.”
NAHCO’s Chairman, Dr. Seinde Oladapo Fadeni, shared his conviction in the immense potential of food exports and envisioned NAHCO leading the charge.
He urged the government for support, highlighting the dependence of many Nigerians’ livelihoods on perishable exports.
Mr. Indranil Gupta, NAHCO’s Group Managing Director, further elaborated on the multifaceted benefits of exports, including foreign exchange earnings, job creation, and enhanced national image.
He cited China as a prime example of how exports can shape a nation’s identity.
Gupta emphasized, “Non-oil exports will have to play a pivotal role in strengthening our nation. Exports go beyond simply sending goods abroad; they are essential for our domestic well-being.”
He acknowledged the vital role of the Nigerian diaspora in promoting Nigerian agricultural produce globally and stressed the importance of proper processing and packaging facilities in reaching them.
The air crackled with excitement as stakeholders took turns offering their congratulations and commendations.
Mr. Segun Awolowo, Former Executive Director, Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), lauded NAHCO’s leadership, describing the chairman as a “visionary man and goal getter.”
He urged the government to support NAHCO, acknowledging their dedication to serving exporters’ needs and their potential to spearhead export expansion across the nation.
Other notable voices shared their optimism. Coordinator of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) Aviacargo Committee, Ambassador Ikechi Uko, commended NAHCO for exceeding expectations and taking decisive action.
Captain John Okakpu, a passionate advocate for Nigerian produce exports, applauded NAHCO for tackling a $250 billion virgin sector head-on.
Dr. Kingsley Nwokoma, President of the Association of Foreign Airlines and Representatives in Nigeria (AFARN), saw the facility as a positive projection for Nigeria, marking the beginning of a brighter future for the aviation industry.
All pledged their collaboration with NAHCO to drive continued growth and development.
The focus remained firmly on boosting Nigeria’s agricultural exports, encouraging farmers to improve yields, and adhering to international standards to avoid rejections.
Government agencies like the Nigeria Customs Service and the Nigeria Police expressed their confidence in the facility’s potential to be not only world-class but also a significant revenue contributor.
The ceremony concluded with a tour of the facility, further solidifying the Minister’s satisfaction and marking the culmination of a momentous chapter for NAHCO and Nigerian exports.