Nigeria loses over $30 million in export produce annually, due to poor quality control and poor packaging.
In addition, the country has lost the position of a major hub for cargo freighting in Africa.
This was disclosed by the President of the Association of Foreign Airlines Representatives in Nigeria (AFARN), Kingsley Nwokoma who said many farm produce exported from Nigeria were returned due to poor quality control and packaging.
He, noted however, that the same farm produce when taken from Nigeria to Ghana are packaged and exported as Ghanaian imports, noting that every day truck loads of yams leave Nigeria by road to Ghana where they are exported to Europe and other destinations.
Nwokoma said the Ease of Doing Business policy introduced by the federal government was yet to to be fully implemented.
Owing to this, he said same hindrances that impaired export of goods were still widespread. These he listed to include high charges, inhibitions caused by the Nigerian Customs and poor infrastructure.
He said although exporting and importing goods by sea take a longer time but poor economy has forced businessmen and women to take the option of sea import instead of air freighting and plan their programme to correspond with the three months interlude it takes for the arrival of the cargo.
Nwokoma, lamented that Nigeria does not have perishable centre and facility where farm produce are preserved and packaged for export, noting that because Accra has the facility, it has edge over Nigeria so entrepreneurs prefer exporting cargo from Ghana, including products sourced from Nigeria.
â€œOur export business is down by estimated $30 million annually in the last few years. This is caused by bad economy, poor quality control and poor packaging.
â€œThe importing countries have their standards. When these standards are not met they return the goods. Farm produce from Nigeria are returned regularly due to these reasons.
â€œWe donâ€™t have perishable centre like other countries. We have it in Accra. Accra is now the cargo hub for West Africa. It is through Accra that Nigerian yam is exported and distributed to supermarkets across Europe and other parts of the world.
â€œWith the new African policy on trade, you can import your goods through Benin Republic and move the goods by road to other African destinations. So we need perishable centre, quality control and good packaging of our products,â€ Nwokoma said.
He however noted that Nigeria remains a major exporter of vegetables in Africa, adding that the country needs the necessary infrastructure, a review of the existing charges to eliminate existing duplication of taxes in order to encourage more export.
â€œWe donâ€™t have the infrastructure to meet our expectation. We have the population but we should also have the infrastructure. Government policies are not favourable to air freighting. We used to be cargo hub in Africa. People are even discouraged to import due to duplication of charges. Government needs to sit down with clearing agents to solve the problem,â€ Nwokoma said.