Following the working inspection of the Kaduna dry port facility last week in Kaduna State by the Minister of Transport, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, the management of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), the promoters of Dala Dry Port in Kano State have accused Amaechi of sabotaging the facility in Kano.
The Chairman of Dala Dry Port, Alhaji Ahmad Rabiu said on his Facebook page that the Federal Government has refused to grant the status of Port of Origin and Destination to Kano dry port as graciously given to Kaduna dry port facility, alleging that “some state governments have allowed the new Minister of Transport (Amaechi) to continue to frustrate the project (Kano dry port) two years into President Mohammed Buhari’s government of change”.
According to Rabiu, “Vice President Namadi Sambo secured a declaration for the Kaduna inland port as a Port of Origin and Destination on 15/5/2015, just two weeks before leaving office after losing election even though Kaduna was never part of the six inland dry ports approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) under President Olusegun Obasanjo in the year 2003 for which concession agreements were only signed in the year 2006. Regrettably, the Federal Government refused to declare the rest dry ports, particularly Kano which pioneered the entire movement”.
He, however, reassured his Facebook sympathizers that Kano dry port is still leading despite the government’s sabotage, describing Kaduna dry port as mere “bonded container terminal”, adding, “If the right things are done now, we can continue with our lead”.
MMS Plus findings from the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, the facilitators of the projects revealed that the Minister since assumption of office has called on the dry port or Inland Container Deports (ICD) concessionaires to meetings to know their challenges and encouraged them to move to sites or risk losing their licenses as he decried their holding on to their project approval for over a decade without site development.
Amaechi was also said to have promised that the status of Port of Origin and Destination would be granted any of the projects on completion.
Realizing that the key problem of the Kano dry port project is funding, the Council had introduced some interested investors to the promoters but they failed to reach a workable compromise.
Speaking at the occasion in Kaduna, Minister of Transport said that government was doing everything possible to create jobs and make business seamless for Nigerians.
“It is not possible for everybody to go to seaport but you can still access the port from wherever you are. That is what we are trying to bring to the people of Kaduna and North West,”Amaechi said.
Promising that the narrow gauge rail line linking the facility would soon commence work, Amaechi said that General Electric (GE) would bring in 20 locomotives and “we will deploy some to Lagos-Kano, which will pass through this corridor and deploy some to Port Harcourt – Enugu as a temporary measure while we continue to rebuild the narrow-gauge”.
The Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of NSC, Barr Hassan Bello advised that the mistake in seaports must not be repeated in dry port projects, while harping on the need for the infrastructure to be laced with modernity for seamless import and export.
He said that the Council was working with FIATA and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) as well as other international organisations to ensure that the dry ports are globally recognized.
The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai promised to make the facility a choice for the government as they will refer all their partners to patronize the dry port.
With 85 percent of Kaduna population consisting of youths, El- Rufai said that the state’s economic focus was on job creation for young people.
“I appeal to you to make the best use of this facility. The Kaduna State Government will be a partner. We will direct all the companies we are attracting to Kaduna to use the facility. We will encourage them through tax incentives. But I must appeal to you to please employ local people. Don’t go and bring them from Lagos or Kano. Kaduna has talents”, the Governor stated.
In Edo State, Atlantic Marine and Engineering Services Limited is developing a 27, 000 TEUs capacity dry port and a Truck Transit Park (TTP) to exploit the logistics potentials in the state.
The Chairman of Atlantic Marine and Engineering Services Limited, Engr. Charles Akhigbe in an interview with MMS Plus stated that the dry port development which commenced three years ago was 70 percent completed.
He said that Governor Godwin Obaseki has inaugurated an 8-man implementation committee with a mandate to deliver the project for commissioning in two years time, maximum.