The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has charged the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency build expand and strengthen the country’s trade and commerce infrastructures.
The Director, Policy and Advocacy Centre, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Olawale Rasheed, made the charge at the Validation Workshop on the Report of Assessment Study of Dry Ports Operations in Nigeria held on Wednesday in Kaduna.
Mr Olawale who noted that the workshop which is designed to review a landmark report on dry port operations in Nigeria, said the subject matter of the gathering is pivotal to Nigeria’s short, medium and long term economic revival.
He said amidst recession occassioned by the global pandemic and oil market crash, building internal economic infrastructure is a precondition for COVID-19 recovery.
“When the wider context of African Continental Free Trade regime is taking into account, we realise the urgent need for Nigeria to expand and strengthen her trade and commerce infrastructures. This is especially so in the area of transportation and logistics” he said.
“With critical challenges at Lagos and Eastern ports , the strategic option is to develop a chain of inland container dry ports to ease congestion, fast track hitherland trading and reduce cost of doing business. That is why a study of where we are on dry ports logistics is a timely agenda which will assist the current administration in the onerous task of post pandemic recovery. We are in search of best practices and a workable model that can serve as a reference point for expanded development of dry ports in Nigeria” he added.
The Director further noted that the flagship project is a step that will not only expand trade opportunities but will enhance the capacity of Nigeria to diversify her economy by encouraging non-oil exports.
He commended the German Development Agency (GIZ) , the European Union and others for the support for the project.
“GIZ is specially recognised for her innumerable contributions to Nigerian policy development in several sectors of the economy” he stated.
“We should also use this occassion to congratulate Kaduna Inland Container Dry Port , a member of Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, for the honour of being the only functional dry port in the country. The Kaduna dry port is a trail blazer, hence her being used as a case study for this report” he added.
Also speaking, the Managing Director of the Kaduna Inland Dry Port, Rotimi Raimi-Hassan said that although the establishment of inland dry port was to decongest seaports and create economic activities within the Northern states, they however faces some challenges and called on the Federal Government to intervene.
One of the challenges, according to Raimi, was that shipping companies were yet to key into the dry inland port business and the lack of functional rail system.
Although he commended the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari(retd) and the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi for their efforts in trying to see that the rail function, he lamented over a functional rail network from Kaduna to Port Harcourt and even Lagos.
A functional rail, he said, would reduce transportation cost for exporters and importers in the Northern part of the country.
Raimi-Hassan stated this at one – day validation workshop on the report of assessment study on dry ports operations in Nigeria organized by the Abuja Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with Kaduna Inland Dry Port and the German Development Agency (GIZ which held in Kaduna on Wednesday.
The KIDP boss said, “our major problem now is the rail. Rail in Nigeria is not effective. Kaduna port is a port of origin and port of destination. It is the first in Nigeria. We are grateful to President Buhari in his effort in trying to see that our railway function, with a good railway, a lot of the problem we are having will reduce and rail with also reduced transportation cost.”