Travel Agents Demand Reduction in Cost of PCR Test

Chinedu Eze

The National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) has called for downward review of the cost of Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test for international travellers at the airports.

President of NANTA, Mrs. Susan Akporiaye, said feedback from passengers indicated that they grapple with many problems, including high cost of the test and the payment system, which is characterised by hiccups, regretting that the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has not been able to resolve the challenges encountered by travellers.

According to her, “I believe strongly that it is high time the government looked into the cost of the test. The test is not something strange anymore; everybody has got their hands on it, for it to be coming out in three, six hours now, meaning that there is no big deal about it anymore. The cost for this test should seriously be looked into and reviewed downward. This has happened all over the world even in the United Kingdom.

“There have been complaints from passengers on the challenges they have to grapple with in accessing the international travel portal to get their travel permit, their QR code, to enable them travel.”

The NANTA president also stated that many travel agents have complained that a lot of their clients always have issue with the payment system.

“Sometimes, we help our clients in doing this thing as an added value especially during the last quarter of last year, when there was a lot of complaints. I do it for some of them and some of them do it by themselves, and I hear them complain.

“At this point, it has to do with the technology company that is powering the site because today the site is up, the next day it is down, as the people cannot be boarded without the form being filled online, paying for their repeat tests coming back into the country and getting a QR code,” she said.

She, therefore, called on the government to seriously look into the matter, especially the technology company powering the site, “because it is not doing a good job at all.”

But former President of NANTA, Mr. Bankole Bernard, said it was high time the PCR test was scrapped because some people are allegedly feeding fat from it while travellers are subjected to excruciating hardship with the inefficiency in the payment portal, insisting that “the exploitation of the citizens at the benefits of a few should be stopped.”

However, the travel expert and organiser of Akwaaba African Travel Market, Ikechi Uko, said it is still early to scrap the test, but emphasised that the cost should be reviewed downwards.

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