By Tunde Johnson, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has inaugurated the Kaduna Inland Dry Port and warned the Nigeria Customs Service and port officials against frustrating the effective use of the facilities.
In his remarks while inaugurating the facilities in Kaduna on Thursday, President Buhari said the Customs and the port officials must make the facilities work and not to frustrate business, commercial and industrial enterprises with unnecessary bureaucracy.
He lamented that the hinterland business community has waited for too long for such facility that has tremendous potentials to ease the way of doing international business for the interior based importers and exporters.
According to him, “It remains for Customs and ports officials to make these facilities work and not to frustrate business, commercial and industrial enterprises with unnecessary bureaucracy and inflicting on them delays and hardships, thereby defeating the object of the whole exercise as has happened in the past.”
He said that the development of Inland Dry Ports was an important factor in the nation’s economic development efforts and stressed that they should make these facilities work this time..
“As Ports of origin for exports and ports of destination for imports, the Inland Dry Ports will accelerate the implementation of our economic diversification policy.
“The concept of Inland Dry Port has gained widespread importance with the changes in international transportation as a result of the container revolution and the introduction of door-to-door delivery of cargo.
“It provides importers and exporters located within the nation’s hinterland, especially industrial and commercial outfits, access to shipping and port services without necessarily visiting the seaports.
“It also enables them to process clearance of their import cargo and take delivery of their raw materials and machinery close to their places of business.’’
President Buhari also said that the Dry Port would provide exporters the much needed facilities to process, package, consolidate and forward their exports to their customers all over the world without having to physically be at the seaports.
According to him, this replicates the port economy in the various centres where the Dry Ports are located inland thereby generating employment and contributing to the ease of doing business.
He said in addition to the Kaduna Inland Dry Port, six other Inland Dry Ports in Ibadan, Aba, Kano, Jos, Funtua and Maiduguri, which had also been gazetted, were at various stages of completion.
He congratulated the Kaduna State Government, the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Nigerian Shippers’ Council as well as the hinterland importers and exporters on the inauguration of the facilities.
The President also commended the initiative of Nigerian Shippers’ Council towards promoting the provision of these modern transport infrastructural facilities.
He, however, urged the Concessionaires of the other six Dry Ports to emulate the Concessionaires of the Kaduna Dry Port by accelerating work on theirs so as to ensure speedy completion of the projects.
He said that with the full complement of the seven Dry Ports, congestion at the seaport and traffic gridlock in the port complex would be eliminated.
“Consequently, the cost of transportation and cost of doing business will be reduced,’’ he said.
He lauded the efforts of the Kaduna state government for facilitating the establishment of Kaduna Inland Dry Port.
According to him, the provision of access roads and other utilities to the Dry Port by Kaduna State Government is worthy of emulation by the other Dry Ports host State Governments.
He urged relevant stakeholders across the public and private sectors, particularly Nigeria Customs Service, Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Shipping Companies and Agencies, Seaport Terminal Operators, Clearing and Forwarding Agents, Road Haulers and importers and exporters to utilize the facility optimally.