Osinbajo Rallies Investors For Transit Parks, Inland Dry Ports

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By CHIMA AKWAJA and YUSUF BABALOLA, Lagos

The federal government has urged investors to key into the immense opportunities inherent in the Inland Dry Ports (IDP) and the proposed Truck Transit Parks (TTP) being promoted by the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) which would be built, managed and owned by investors.

Speaking yesterday at a breakfast meeting tagged, Financing Transport Infrastructure: Inland Dry Ports and Truck Transit Parks organised by the Nigerian Shippers Council, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) said the nation’s transport infrastructure possess huge opportunities that everyone should come together to develop a strategy to take advantage of it.

The Shippers’ Council is partnering with the private sector to build nine Truck Transit Parks at N4.8 billion each. The TTPs would be built in Mararaban-Jos, Kaduna State; Lokoja, Kogi State; Jebba, Niger State; Ore, Ondo State; Ogere; Ogun State; Obollo-Afor, Delta State, Onitsha, Anambra State and Porto Novo, Lagos State.

The vice president who was represented by Senior Special Adviser to the VP on Infrastructure, Kolade Sofolahan said the nation’s infrastructure deficit is a huge opportunities that must be tapped into.

“We have infrastructural opportunities not a problem in Nigeria. It’s a huge opportunity that everyone should come together to develop a strategy to take advantage of. It is described as crisis, problem but I see it as an opportunity. We have to think about how to grow our roads, TTP and IDP in a way that it is integrated to diversify our economy,” the VP stated.

Also speaking, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi disclosed that the federal government has approved the establishment and concessioning of six Inland Container Depots across the geopolitical zones. He also said that the FG has identified the TTPs as priority projects and provided institutional and legal framework for the establishment of TTPs by the National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan 2014-2043.

He said “government has approved and concession the establishment of six Inland Container Depot across the geo-political zones at Erunmu, Ibadan in South West; Isiala-Ngwa, Aba in the South-East; Futua, Katsina and Zawachiki, Kano in the North-West; Heipang, Jos in North Central and Jauri, Maiduguri in North-East.

“Construction work at the recently concession Kaduna ICNL Inland Dry Port has been completed and awaiting commissioning for full operations. The inland container Depots are port of Origin for exports and origin for imports and will see Transportation of cargoes to the hinterland and even landlocked neighbouring countries” he said.

The Minister said the ICDs has been designated as consolidation centres for export of non-oil agricultural commodities and solid minerals products. “I intend to very soon direct the Nigerian Shippers’ Council to open talks with the Nigerian Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA) to obtain export processing zone status for the ICDs.

“In the ICDS, there are great opportunities for investments (Added Values) including warehousing, commodity processing, and packaging among others. With the concession of the six Inland Container Depots across the country. TTPs known variously as Rest Stops, Rest Area in other jurisdiction will be inevitable since road transportation account for over 90 percent of all freight and passenger movements in the country” Amaechi said.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Stock Exchange has stated its resolve to mobilise private sector for the funding of the TTPs and IDPs. Speaking at the breakfast meeting, the Chief Executive Officer of NSE, Oscar Onyema said attracting private sector funds is the only way to bridge the finance gap in the nation’s infrastructure.

He said, “given that the national budget is approximately $24 billion, and the required annual investment in transportation infrastructure is approximately $25 billion, it is obvious that attracting private sector fund is the only way to bridge the finance gap. The financial participation of the private sector in building infrastructure can take a number of forms, including public private partnership (PPP) and full privatisation.

“A good example is the Lekki-Epe expressway toll road concession project, Nigeria’s first ever PPP for this project, the Lekki Concession Coarm financing to the tune of N50 billion for the construction phase of the project, with participation from several local and international financial institutions on terms which were regarded as groundbreaking in Nigeria.”

“From our perspective at the exchange, we are committed to exploring and developing innovative ways of financing the nation’s transport infrastructure in order to accelerate the growth of key sectors of the economy” Onyema stated adding further that the Nigeria Infrastructure Debt Fund (NIDF) which is billed to raise N200 billion is the ideal investment vehicle for TTP and IDPs.

“Over the years, the NSE has implemented far reaching transformational policies aimed at providing products that are aligned with investors’ requirements increasing market access and ensuring a fair and orderly market. Recently, the capital market witnessed the birth of the Nigeria Infrastructure Debt Fund (NIDF) which us billed to raise N200 billion.

“The Fund which has its core investment focus on traditional infrastructure sectors, primarily transport, is an ideal investment vehicle for the planned Truck Transit Parks and Inland Dry Ports. We believe that these achievement improve investors’ confidence and will go a long way to support Federal Ministry of Transport (FMOT) and Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) in their quest to unlock the private sector investments required for financing the transport infrastructure gap.”

On his in part, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council, Barr. Hassan Bello said the two project would bring ripple effect on the economy. “The economic implication is, first of all, employment of our people, sanitizing us to be a country, a modern country. You just come in and there is truck Transit Park, you go there and park and then you never see anything like that on the street again.

“That shows we have modernized our infrastructure. Then, revenue for the investors and the state governments as I told you, employment content because last time we said about 3,000 direct employments and some even 3,000 more indirectly, collating to that. Don’t forget that all the restaurants will have people who are going to work there, all the hotels and hostels; they are going to have people working for them and many other facilities. So, that is the economic implication.

“Also, there will be tracking of all the goods taken from the port. We’ll be able to track where these goods are. So, there will be delivery, fast delivery of goods, there will be no delay. You know what these drivers do is, they have comfort zones in all those areas. They spend five days enjoying themselves.”

Present at the breakfast meeting include, private sector operators, ECOWAS Bank for Investment, NEXIM Bank, the publisher of LEADERSHIP Newspaper, Sam Nda-Isiah; Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka; Kebbi state governor, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu; Rep, Governor of Sokoto State, Prof. Bashir Garba and Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dakuku Peterside.

Others are Corp Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC), Boboye Oyeyemi, Chairman, Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Senator, Ahmed Rufai, Chairman, house committee on Port, Harbour and waterways, Hon. Bart Asadu, Managing Director, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Committee (ICRC), Chidi Izuwa and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation,  Sabiu Zakari.