By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
The President, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Dr Al-Mujtaba Abubakar and stakeholders in the export business have called for declaration of a state of emergency to remove bottlenecks in the processing of non-oil exports in Nigeria.
Non-oil exporters in Nigeria raised the alarm over serious constraints facing them in the export business, describing the situation as constituting threats to government’s efforts to increase non-oil revenue earnings.
Speaking variously at the unveiling of study report on the operation of dry ports in Nigeria organized by the Abuja chamber of commerce and industry, the stakeholders cited multi-billion naira loss being experienced by exporters due to delay at the port, multiplicity of agencies, poor infrastructure and bureaucratic challenges in the processing of approvals for export.
The study report had listed several challenges militating against deployment of dry ports in the logistic chain, calling for urgent intervention to address critical weaknesses in the export chain business within the context of the African continental free trade zone (AfCFTA).
Opening the Public Private Dialogue attended by Agencies of the transportation Ministry, commodity Associations, Exporters and other staff holders, the ACCI President, Dr. Abubakar said, all hand must be on deck to ease the burden of export if Nigeria is to expand her revenue earnings and meet the demands of new continental free trade regime.
Abubakar who linked the achievement of huge export trade volume to strong hither-land logistics like ports and rail said the dry ports report provides opportunities for all stakeholders to declare emergency in the export sub-sector because of the complicated nature of problems confronting exporters in Nigeria.
He added that economic development is best escalated when multi-modal transportation model is the backbone of the economy adding that this is true of developed economy and even truer of developing space as Nigeria.
“This reality underpins the interest of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry to partner development organizations for the study and deployment of best practices and policies in various sectors of the Nigerian economy.
“As part of the ongoing processes, the Public Private Dialogue is a step further to intimate the relevant agencies of government and actors in the port space of the outcome of the assessment. Our goal is to sensitize the authorities to the critical importance of dry port as an expander and booster of hinterland economy. The gathering of several parties creates opportunities for considerations of best practices as Nigeria build up her networks of dry ports.”
The ACCI commended the German Development Agency (GIZ), the European Union and others for the facilitation of the assessment study. The partners support in the transport and other sector has tremendously assisted Nigeria to institute best practices in various sectors of her economy. We hope to proceed to partner further for the development of a National Policy on Day Port in Nigeria.
This assessment report is an invaluable resource material for all stakeholders in the dry port sub-sector.
The Director General, ACCI Victoria Akai in her opening remarks said, the Nigerian logistic sector is undergoing extensive expansion across transport, and logistic modes while saying that as Nigeria is expanding her Railway Ports, roads, Air ports and other infrastructures, Dry Port has emerged as a major focus along the logistic change, “creating necessary policy framework is therefore, a necessity and ACCI with her partners, is spear heading this move.
“A study has been conducted and conclusions have been reached. This is a major step towards creating a policy framework for the operation of dry port in Nigeria”, she said.
The Executive Secretary, Nigeria Shippers Council Hon Emmanuel Jime at the event said they are not unaware of the operational challenges of the Kaduna Inland Dry Port, which could be attested through the various initiative aimed at solving these problems and right now, a sensitization workshop is going on in Kaduna to enlighten stakeholders.
The ES represented by the Deputy Director Abuja Liaison office, Mrs. Rakiya Nuhu said one of the major policy initiatives of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council is the development of Inland Dry Port while saying that maritime infrastructure is the backbone to development and growth of the maritime sector and its sub-sectors in the littoral Countries across the world.
“Continuous investment in maritime infrastructure when pursued vigorously can lead to appreciable economic growth and development”, he said.
He stated the benefits of Inland Dry Ports amongst others as; bringing shipping services to the doorstep of shippers across the nation, assist in decongesting the seaports and making them more friendly, Provide the impetus to revive and modernize the railway as a primary mode for long distance haulage and assist in the reduction of over-all costs of cargo to hinterland locations as well as transit cargoes to landlocked countries.
The Managing Director, Kaduna Inland Dry Port, Mr. Ismail Adekola Yusuf in his address said, Dry Ports are normally considered for development at a location with various transport links such as highways, railways and inland waterways.
“Dry ports function as an integrator of various modes of transportation by encouraging intermodal transport operations. Intermodal transport is an integrated process where all parts of the transport process, including organizational and technological arrangements must be well connected and coordinated to produce significant proven advantages compared to single mode transportation.”
Mr. Ismail who was represented by the Mr. Chuka Offor said Dry Ports provide a range of services such as container handling and storage, container stripping and stuffing, break bulk cargo handling, customs inspection and clearance, container light repairs, freight forwarding and cargo consolidation services, inventory management and materials handling.
According to him, Dry ports are to enhance the maritime business and trigger regional economic development. The prospect of Kaduna inland dry ports is to accelerate national and international business. It promotes more investment in the region and increases cross-border transactions.
This will attract a lot of manufacturing companies’ site their factory around the dry port for ease and efficient logistics services thereby generating employment opportunities for teaming youth.
“Besides enhancing cross border transactions, it been performed as container consolidation and deconsolidation interface into some states which has no ports. Services such as customs services, client’s facilities, brokers, forwarding agents and transportation advises are highly required by the stakeholders.
“The presence of dry ports will assist the seaports to improve their effectiveness and efficiency in operations. Additional space and adequate multimodal transportation systems in dry port provide high relief to seaports and ease the container movement to and from seaport. It requires efficient transport facilities that move goods smoothly, safely and rapidly from door to door. Multimodal is a quality indicator of the level of integration between different modes: more integration and interconnectivity between modes, which provides efficient use of the transport system”, he noted.
Also speaking at the dialogue, the representative of GIZ, Mr. Legborsi Nwiabu said their partnership has taken them to a point where they were able to identify the challenges of Dry Ports in Nigeria thereby proffering solution on how to tackle it.
He said, they deliberately chose Kaduna Dry Port for the study while working on nine agricultural value chains in the Nigeria Competitive Project (NICOP) that gave them the understanding of the challenges of transportation as a hindrance to farmers.
“It is on that effect we commissioned a study to see how we can create awareness. Validation has been done before now but the report will help further. We are concern about the business environment and see how we can regulate and we want to join voices with ACCI to charge a way forward.”