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10 years after: Any hope for Kano Dry Port?

A team of officials from the Federal Ministry of Transport on Wednesday visited Kano at the instance of the Minister, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi. Their mission…

A team of officials from the Federal Ministry of Transport on Wednesday visited Kano at the instance of the Minister, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi. Their mission was to assess the level of preparedness and to inspect facilities that are on ground for the take-off of the proposed Inland Dry Port in the commercial city.
After the team led by Mrs May Ozonweke, Assistant Director in the ministry toured and inspected facilities at the Dala Inland Dry Port site at Zawachiki, Kumbotso Local Government Area in Kano State it concluded its mission by saying: “Before we left Abuja a memo was already raised and it is being processed in respect of declaring Kano Dry Port a port of Origin and Destination. From what we have seen here we will report to the minister and get back to the concessionaire of the project-Dala Inland Dry Port within time”
Head of the team, Mrs Ozonweke added that the Federal Government was interested in the actualization of the project given the economic status of Kano and its importance in the effort to diversify Nigeria’s economy. “When operational this project will improve the internal revenue of Kano State and also create job opportunity” 
The Federal Executive Council during president Olusegun Obasanjo in 2006 approved the establishment of six Inland Dry Port and Container Depots in the six geo-political zones of the country: Isiala Ngwa, Jos, Maiduguri, Ibadan, Funtua and Kano under Build Own Operate and Transfer (BOOT) agreement. It was tagged Federal Republic of Nigeria official Gazette No 30, volume 94 of 21st of May, 2007.
Dala Inland Dry Port Nigeria Limited was appointed in 2003 among others as concessionaire for the Kano Inland Dry Port for 35 years. However, 10 years after the agreement was signed government was yet to declare it a port of Origin and Destination.
Other problem the concessionaire cited was that bankers and the foreign technical partners that are interested in the project have refused to commit their resources to it except it was declared a port of origin and destination and the certificate of occupancy issued to it by federal government. 
However, recent visit to the project site in Kano by government officials appears to have once again raised hope of the state government, concessionaire, individuals and organisations that have been waiting for the past 10 years for the federal government to come up with a definite action plan on the project.
According to the Chairman, Dala Inland Dry Port Nigeria Limited, Alhaji Ahmad Rabiu “What happened today in respect of the dry port project has given us more hope on two accounts. Firstly, on the caliber of people that came here to represent the minister, their understanding of the project and commitment to actualize it. The present administration is not like the previous ones. We believe they will keep to their promise on the project and this has really given us hope that it will soon become operational.
We started the project in 2002 and in 2003 we were appointed among others as concessionaire. We got the approval to build and operate the Kano Inland Dry Port in our name -Dala Inland Dry Port for 35 years. The agreement was signed in 2006. At that time we were expected to be given certificate of occupancy, a declaration and approval but it was not given and we were not declared as port of Origin and Destination up till now. We have gone through the processes from technical to financial. We have our management office we are only awaiting declaration by government to commence operation as port of origin and destination.
If such declaration is made today, within six months we would put equipment and whatever is require d for full operation on ground.  The only thing that will make the dry port to be recognized as a port and for goods to be consigned to it from any location across the world and be duly recognized by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development is for it to be declared a port of origin and destination.
The Kano dry port has a 20,000 teu capacity and it was said to have more economic advantages than the five others in different locations in the country based on the commercial viability of Kano and its closeness to rail lines. If approved the dry port would be sitting on 200 acres of land donated by the state government.
Alhaji Rabiu added that“.Our neighbouring states and countries are prospective customers to the facility when it becomes fully operational. The 20 and 5 per cent equity stakes of the state government and the Emirate Council, other high -network persons and organisations in the dry port makes it a project to beat”.
When officials of the federal government on the project visited the state’s Ministry of Commerce, its Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Muhammad Yusuf Danduwa said the state government was worried that 10 years after the project was approved it was not declared a port of Origin and Destination. He however expressed optimism that the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration would see to its actualization.
The Magajin Rafin Kano, Alhaji Shehu Muhammed Dankalede who represented the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sunusi said the Emir was very happy over the project and was ready to give it all the necessary support it required.” Given the economic position of Kano not only in Nigeria but in Sub-Saharan Africa the Emir is interested in the actualization of the dry port project in Kano,” he said.

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