In a bid to ensure that the concessionaires of inland dry ports (IDPs) scattered around the country complete their projects as soon as possible, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) has approached the Commonwealth Enterprise Investment Council (CWEIC) to be involved in the search for interested investors for the IDP projects.
The NSC, it was gathered, approached the London office of the body, which was established in 2014 with mandate from Commonwealth Heads of Government to promote intra-commonwealth trade and investments across the 53 member countries.
CWEIC is responsible for organising the Commonwealth Business Forum alongside the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and Commonwealth Trade Ministers Meeting on alternative years.
It may be recalled that the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers Council, Mr. Hassan Bello led the management team of the NSC to attend the Advisory Council Meeting of CWEIC held in Lagos last year during which a lot of business opportunities across and beyond Nigeria were laid bare.
Speaking at the meeting, Bello said apart from IDP projects, the NSC is also interested in getting investors for other transport sector infrastructure projects, such as Truck Transit Parks (TTP) and Border Information Centres.
“Both IDP and TTP projects are considered as having multiplier effects on the national economy with thousands of jobs to be created when completed. The Council sees the dry port project as imperative to trade facilitation as it will enable shippers in the hinterland to import and export without having to travel to Lagos seaports or other seaports for the process. For instance, with the Kaduna IDP, importers in any part of the world who wish to use that dry port can do so by indicating it as Port of Destination for their goods instead of using Lagos seaport.
“Similarly, businessmen from that zone who have goods to export can use the dry port without having to go through Lagos seaport. Among the dry ports include the Kaduna IDP, Kano, Jos Plateau State, Isiala Ngwa, Abia State, Borno, Maiduguri, Kaduna, Ibadan and Benin, Edo state,” he said.
Bello also announced that the Dala Inland Dry Port in Kano has received a boost of N2 billion infrastructure from the state government to facilitate the project.
He disclosed this in a chat with newsmen, stating that the Kano State Government has demonstrated interest in the dry port project in the state with the commitment of N2 billion infrastructure project necessary for the dry port.
Bello said the state government has already awarded contracts for the infrastructure development.
Meanwhile, it was gathered that the concessionaire of the dry port project, Dala Inland Dry Port, has gotten technical partners, a development that is expected to fasten the pace of the project.
According to Bello, with this development, Kano dry port project is now on the front burner.
Conversely, he stated that he was not pleased with the pace of work at the Isiala Ngwa, Abia State, Dry Port project.
Although, he noted that the concessionaire was very hardworking, he expressed concern that somehow so much was yet to be done.
Bello said a lot of options, which he did not disclose, were being looked at.
Worried about the slow pace of work on some of the Inland Dry Ports (IDPs) in the six geo-political zones of the country as a result of paucity of funds, the NSC had last year considered assisting the concessionaires to attract investors and necessary funding.
The NSC, it was gathered, was concerned that apart from the Kaduna IDP, which took off about two years ago, the remaining IDP projects were yet to be completed by the concessionaires due to lack of finance.
Meanwhile, NATIONAL ECONOMY has learned that the suspension of Lagos/Ijoko Mass Transit Train (LMTT) Service, which had been in effect over the past five months because of the coronavirus pandemic, will be lifted today.
In a statement, signed by its public relations officer, Dr. Khadijah Aroyewun– Adekomaiya, made available to NATIONAL ECONOMY yesterday, fares have been increased by 100 per cent as standing of passengers inside the coaches will not be allowed.
The statement quoted the Lagos district manager of the corporation, Mr. Jerry Oche as saying, when the train begins operation, Covid-19 protocols would be adhered to.
Considering the new guidelines, the statement added that, the train will depart Ijoko by 5 :30 a.m. and arrive Iddo by 8.30 a.m. while guidelines set by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC ) for the reopening of rail transportation within established parameters, will be strictly adhered
“Our MTTS will now cost N460 flat per trip and the trains would no longer stop at some stations,” the statement said.
Before COVID – 19, fares between Iddo in Lagos and Ijoko/Kajola in Ogun was N230 per trip.
Oche stated further that trains originating from Ijoko will only stop at Ebute Metta Junction and Iddo station.
Our correspondent find out that in preparation for the commencement of operation, workers were seen on Thursday test running the old narrow gauge coaches from Iddo to Ijoko and back.