The Federal Government has declared the Dala Inland Dry Port as the port of origin for the export of goods and the final destination for goods brought into the country via the nation’s seaports.
The Minister of Transportation, Engr. Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, while making the declaration in Kano on behalf of the Federal Government disclosed that the epoch-making event was granted approval by the Federal Executive Council in March 2006, as part of FG’s reform program to promote efficient transportation, decongest the seaports and bring shipping and ports services closer to importers and exporters.
According to Sambo, “In today’s new global economy, speed to the markets with finished goods, lower shipping costs are the main drivers more than ever before”, adding that the Dala IDP will facilitate this and more.
On why the project was located in Kano, Sambo said: “The importance of Kano State as the commercial capital of northern Nigeria with huge agricultural trade and export volume is well documented”.
“The State has a sizeable number of textile and agro-allied industries, assembly plants amongst others and several manufacturing industries. It is not only suited but most qualified”, the Minister further argued.
He equally called on shipping companies, maritime practitioners, land-locked countries like Chad, Niger and other port users to take full advantage of the Dala IDP to import and export their cargoes.
The Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, represented by his Deputy, Dr. Nasiru Yusuf Gowuna, noted that the Dala IDP marks the process of harnessing the potential that portends in the State as Kano remains the largest non-oil and gas economy in the country with a Gross Domestic Product of USD $12 billion primarily driven by commerce, manufacturing and subsistence agriculture.
Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation and the Chairman, Inter-Ministerial Standing Committee, Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, said: “I am glad that the declaration of the Dala Inland Dry Port as a port of origin and final destination coincides with the facility tour of the Inter-Ministerial Standing Committee of Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission for Cooperation and Niger Economic Operators. The facility is part of the bilateral obligations between Nigeria and Niger targeted at assessing Nigeria’s preparedness for the transit of Nigerien cargoes”.
Speaking further, Ajani said that with this declaration, Dala IDP becomes the closest port to Niger Republic, noting that Nigeria stands to benefit from the increased patronage of her corridor by land-locked countries.
On his part, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Emmanuel Jime, disclosed that the Dala IDP was developed through a Public Private Partnership, using the Build, Operate and Transfer policy. He informed that the project amongst numerous other benefits will give impetus to revive and modernize the railway as a primary mode of long-distance haulage, reduce the cost of transporting cargo to the hinterland, give Nigeria a competitive edge with ratification of Nigeria into the African Continental Free Trade Agreement accord in addition to the numerous jobs opportunities it will generate.
Jime assured that the Council will ensure that not just the Dala IDP but others will be fully compliant with the provisions of the Operational Manual for IDPs by having transit facilities and operating 24/7.
Providing support, the Managing Director, Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Engr. Fidet Okhiria, said: “The Board of NRC has approved track access to anybody or company wishing to provide the infrastructure, that is the rolling stock to operate on the track which I hope the Dala Inland Dry Port will tap in so that they can maximize the essence of having rail track into their premises”.
In his presentation, the Chairman, Dala IDP, Abubakar Bawuro, informed that Niger, Chad and Cameroun have indicated the desire to use the facility, noting that the Dala IDP will further boost the trans-Saharan trade for which Kano was once a hub.
In addition, the Chairman disclosed that the narrow gauge from Lagos-Kano is fully connected to the facility and neighboring countries importing through the seaports can complete the second leg from Kano to Niger or other parts via road.
Singled out for commendations were the former Minister of Transportation, Kema Chikwe, under whose stewardship, approvals for the IDPs were granted, the erstwhile Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, for persevering on the Inter-Ministerial Standing Committee of Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission to fast-track delivery date of the Dala IDP and the former Executive Secretary, NSC, Hassan Bello, who it was disclosed has been providing the Dala group, professional technical advice at no cost.
It is hoped that the official commissioning of the Dala Inland Dry Port will be performed by President Muhammadu Buhari, in September this year.