Kano targets ACFTA implementation with N2.3bn investment in Dala Inland Dry Port

Kano State Government says it has invested the sum N2.3 billion in supporting infrastructural development in the Kano Dala Inland Dry Port project currently being built in the commercial city of Kano under a private ownership arrangement.

The investment of the State Government in the project is particularly for the construction of access roads, fencing of the site, and extension of electricity to the project, which on completion is expected to be a critical component in the takeoff of the Special Economic Zones initiative of the Nigerian Government in the Northwest geo-political zone of the country.

The completion of the project, analysts said is imperative to a successful implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) agreement which Nigeria is a signatory that will become operational in January 2021, an initiative that is being projected to provide a market with 1.3 billion people and a combined GDP of $3.4 trillion.

State Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje made the disclosure about the amount which his administration had so far invested into the project which started during the administration of former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, designed to facilitate easy movement of shipments to the northern parts, as well as reduce the extraneous cost of shipment by exporters in the region.

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Speaking while receiving a delegation of the Federal Ministry of transport, led by Magdalene Ajani, who was in the state to inspect the project as part of the preparations for the takeoff of the implementation of the ACFTA agreement, Governor Ganduje revealed that the state`s investment in the project so far was in support of the infrastructure at the port.

Kano is known to be the leading economic and commercial centre in the northern part of the country, connecting the region to the economies of countries in North Africa, which experts believed the Federal Government move to have a Special Economic Zone at the site of the Port in Zawachiki would go a long in positioning the country to maximize the benefit of the ACFTA agreement, that is projected to be the largest free-trade zone in the world.

Ganduje told the Magdalene Ajani, a permanent secretary in charge of the Federal Ministry of Transport, who stood in for his minister, Rotimi Amaechi, at the occasion, that his administration is fully committed to the development of the dry port because of the huge opportunities it will provide for the private sector in the state, as well as the economies of the land lock countries in the Sahel horn of Africa that will depend on it.

It would be recalled that the construction work on the project which was initiated in 2003 by a private concessionaire ‘Dala Inland Dry Port Nigeria Limited., has reached an advanced stage with final technical arrangement for it takeoff project completed.

Analysts believe the port has the potential of tremendously reducing the cost of doing business in the state as way as the generation of several millions of dollars in terms of revenue to the state coffer, as it will be leveraging on the role of the state of the frontier markets in Nigeria, contributing about 45 percent of the nation`s cargo export.

Facts gathered indicates that six dry ports (inland container deports – ICDs) were approved for construction across the country through a public-private partnership by the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo, and the port is to be linked to rail lines to ease movement of cargoes and other exportable commodities from the agriculture and mineral producing belts of Nigeria to the seaports in the country.

Ahmad Rabi’u, the promoter of the port project had told BusinessDay in previous interviews that Kano State Government had 20 percent equity in the project and would be completing roads connecting the port.

According to him, the Ganduje administration has concluded arrangements for the award of contracts for the development of the road networks linking the port in 2019 financial plan.

ICDs are being situated in Funtua in Katsina State, Kano, Kaduna, Isiala Agwa in Abia, Jos in Plateau and Ibadan in Oyo State and all will be linked to the railways down to the seaports.

The Dala Inland Dry Port located at Zawachiki in Kumbotso Local Government Area of the state is equipped with essential supporting facilities, such as Warehouse, and enjoys the status of a designated Transport and Logistics Free Zone.

An Inland Dry Port is an intermodal terminal directly connected by road or rail to a seaport and operating as a center for the transshipment of sea cargo to inland destinations.

The Kano Inland Dry Port also have facilities for storage and consolidation of goods, maintenance for road or rail cargo carriers and customs clearance services, and the location of these facilities at a dry port relieves competition for storage and customs space at the seaport itself.

On completion will stimulate the speedy flow of cargo between ships and major land transportation networks, creating a more central distribution point. Inland ports would also improve the movement of imports and exports, in addition to reducing time spent in sorting and processing of containers inland, away from congested seaports.

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