The Senate Committee on Privatization, has expressed confidence on business progression of the Skyway Aviation Handling Company Plc, SAHCO.
The Committee applauded the firm for remarkable progress in Ground Handling operations while adding value to the Nigerian Aviation Industry during an oversight visit to SAHCO Headquarters.
Senator Theodore Orji who led the team of both the Senate Committee and the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) reiterated that despite the constraints that SAHCO undergoes, SAHCO has been able to break even and take up responsibilities that are not supposed to be theirs so as to provide excellent services.
The Managing Director/CEO of SAHCO, Basil Agboarumi who received the statutory visitation committee from the senate on behalf of SAHCO management said he was happy that the team has visited the company and that there has been a lot of improvement since the previous visit paid to SAHCO. He emphasized that SAHCO was founded from the ashes of the defunct Nigerian Airways and has gone through privatization and is currently listed in the Nigerian Stock Market.
Basil Agboarumi emphasized that despite the fact that SAHCO is a success story, it has not been easy doing business. He said that sourcing for FOREX has been a major challenge because aviation ground handling is about quality ground support equipment and unfortunately, they can only be sourced abroad and these need to be paid for by FOREX.
SAHCO is domicile in about 20 states and all the commercially operated airports in Nigeria, Basil highlighted. He also said that SAHCO is the first Ground Handling company to bring in electric operated Ground Support Equipment, this is in a bid to go green just like the developed countries are doing right now.
Basil pointed out to the team that since SAHCO was privatized and listed, clientele has increased immensely. This is a feat not to be ignored according to him because post privatization, nobody wanted to do business with SAHCO due to the decrepit equipment and demoralized staff. This has changed due to the massive deployment of brand-new state-of-the-art equipment and due remuneration of staff.
Also, Basil stressed that SAHCO has some equipment undergoing clearing, some are being manufactured and while some are on the sea being transported to Nigeria.
Another challenge pointed out by the Managing Director is the issue of paying 5% of SAHCO’s gross to FAAN with the expectation of making the Ground Handling business easy by providing the necessary amenities but this is not the case because SAHCO has had to step in to procure some equipment so as to keep up with the global best practices; one of such equipment are the cargo scanners at the warehouse in the Lagos terminal. The scanners according to Basil is supposed to be procured, manned and maintained by FAAN but this was not happening and was hampering SAHCO’S business of providing top notch services to clients which made SAHCO procure this very expensive equipment.
He also accentuated that while Airlines are given zero tariff on equipment importation, Ground Handlers though operating in the same environment have to pay despite Ground Handling services being heavily reliant on Ground Support Equipment.
He also stressed that payment for Ground Handling Services is one of the lowest in the world and it is something that is enjoyed by the airlines while Ground Handling companies struggle to keep afloat.
The chairman of the team was awed by all the challenges that SAHCO is going through, and yet they are doing so well. He said that according to his experience, most companies downsize after privatization but the reverse has been the case at SAHCO.