The Minister of Transport, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has affirmed his optimism that the Jos Inland Dry Port is capable of bringing internal trade to the state, as well as lower freight rates, earn foreign exchange and create multi-model transport system when completed.
The minister made this known when he paid a visit to the Jos Inland Dry Port projects site on Friday, at Heipang, near Jos. He said the project was conceived to facilitate efficient cargo delivery to the hinterland, and to provide access to port services and stimulate economic development.
According to him, under the new arrangement, the host state is to provide land free of all encumbrances, basic amenities, and facilitate all necessary building permits to constitute the state Dry Port implementation committee, adding that, inquiry participation and other measures are to ensure success of the project.
He reiterated that the concessionaire is to ensure the development and operations of the facility under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Transport, represented by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council as stipulated in the “build our own, operate and transfer BOOT agreement.”
He further stated that at their first meeting with the concessionaire of the Jos Inland Dry Port in June, 2016, it was agreed that a new approach was needed if the projects were to be actualized, saying that, he is happy to note that the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, NSC, jointly with the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission, ICRC, have worked together to fashion out a new agreement, which when it’s being signed, will provide pragmatic and achievable milestones.
The minister said the development of these facilities across the country is based on tripartite arrangement involving the federal government, the host state government and the private investor, with each stakeholder playing a critical role in the development and implementation of the project.
Mr. Amaechi also affirmed that, considering the derivable benefits of these projects to the Nigerian economy and, more so that, the present administration’s agitation for economic diversification, the federal government through the ministry of transport is quite committed in resolving the achievement and the successful take-off of these projects, nationwide.
He noted that the state government has completed a dual carriage access road to the facility as well as land acquisition and payment of compensation to land owners, while the concessionaire has achieved some stages of development with the supervision of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council since their movement to site.
He posited that these (projections) can only be achieved through cooperation and collaboration among the major stakeholders to identifying the challenges and ensured that these are properly resolved.
While stressing further, the minister said the visit was to physically inspect and evaluate the level of development of the project, and to further solicit the state government’s continuous support for the project, especially the release of fresh Letter of Exchange and terms and possible areas of consideration for the withdrawal of a pending court case.
The minister informed that other areas of concern are the resuscitation and reconstitution of the Heipang Dry Port implementation committee, and the support of the state government in the construction of rail siding linking the facility and the connection to the national grid as well as link of 33KVA power supply.
The state governor, Simon Lalong, assured of the state government’s commitment to doing all that is needful so the Jos Dry Port project becomes a reality.
Speaking earlier, the Group Managing Director of DUNCAN Group of Companies, Dr. Godfrey Bawa Shitgurum, said the Jos Dry Port project has a land mass of 33.7 hectares and a capacity to handle 20,000 TEUs, adding that this Dry Port will be a game changer in the economic architecture of the region.
He stated further that, besides the generating revenue to the state and the federal government, the Port, when fully completed, will create employment and expand the economic value chain and, at the same time open new business opportunities to the citizenry.
Also, the Nigerian Shippers’ Council boss, Barr Hassan Bello, commended the state government for providing an enabling environment for the smooth operation of the Jos Inland Dry Port project in the state.