The Nigerian Shippers’ Council has entered into partnership with the Oyo State Government to establish a $200m (N72bn) modern dry port, as well as a truck transit park in the state, in conjunction with some Chinese investors.
This was made known when the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of the council, Mr. Hassan Bello, visited the State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, in his office, in Ibadan, on Wednesday.
Bello, therefore, solicited the release of 60,000 hectares for the dry port and another 35,000 hectares along the Oyo-Ibadan road for the proposed park, which, he said, would improve the economic development of the state and the nation in general.
He said, “We are here because Oyo State is critical to development in transportation in Nigeria. Since 2006 the Federal Government had taken a decision to establish inland port in the six geo-political zones of the country, of which Oyo State is important. We have others in Abia, Jos, Kano, Maiduguri and Funtua.
“Because of the strategic importance of Ibadan, we have had inquiries from a serious Chinese investor for the project. Five days ago we signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop this very important Ibadan dry port project.
“What we are looking for from the state government is to have, along the railway line that is currently ongoing, a 60,000 hectares of land to develop a modern dry port, while the transport transit park will require 35,000 hectares of land.”
Enumerating the advantages of the modern dry port project, he said it would provide job opportunity for 10,000 people, adding that the truck transits park would equally generate 25,000 jobs.
Bello said that the project was heavily dependent on the ongoing Lagos-Kano rail project, which would decongest the heavy traffic on road transportation of goods from the Lagos port to the rest of the country.
He disclosed that the proposed park alone would gulp N4.8billion, through the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP).
According to him, apart from helping to diversify the country’s revenue base, it would enhance the internally-generated revenue of the state government, as well as provide security for cargoes through seamless tracking of goods.
When completed, he said that the park would have hotels, motels, resident doctors, restaurants, shopping mall, commercial banks, among other facilities for the convenience of transporters.
In his response, the governor, who said he was marveled by the concept of modern dry port and TPP, promised the support of the administration and called on the council to hasten the paper works required for the project to commence soonest.
The governor said that the projects would cause a remarkable reduction in road carnage, improvement in economic activities and maximization of employment opportunities, but called for strict enforcement of rules guiding parking of trucks on completion of the park.
Ajimobi said, “We will be glad to start as early as yesterday, as we are ready with our representatives to go the whole hog. We have the highest reasons to have the project sited here in Oyo State.
“There is no reason the state should not have been considered earlier, looking at the geographical and human capital advantages we have over other states in the country.
“We are supporting these projects because of the advantages and its overall economic benefits. I am appealing that we should not just witness the marriage of this project, but the birth of its baby. The PPP arrangement you said would be adopted for the project has mitigated my fear and doubts.”