By Taiye Elebiyo-Edeni
The Federal Government has expressed its commitment to establish dry ports or Inland Container Depots (ICDs) in the country to create jobs for unemployed youths and diversify the economy.
The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi said this on Tuesday during the final inspection of the Kaduna Inland Dry Port.
“We are doing everything possible to create jobs. Whatever we need to do to get the port running, we will do it.
“The rail will soon start running before the end of the year, which will be used to deliver goods at the port.
“Everything is set for commissioning because we have the land, warehouse and all but we want to wait for the completion of the roads.
“We want to wait for more activities in the dry port before we get the president to commission it.
“I have visited Jos and they are doing a good job and they promised to be ready by June. I have visited Kaduna and what I have seen is commendable,“ he said.
Amaechi commended the Kaduna State Government, saying “the job it is doing is very good’’.
He said the contributions from the government were high, adding the support was appreciated.
The Gov. Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State said that the initiative was from the previous administration.
He said that the state government would provide the necessary infrastructure needed to implement the initiative.
He said that the government would fix the roads leading to the port and create more exits to avoid the congestion being experienced at the Apapa port.
“We inherited this project from the previous administration and we thought it was a project worthy of our support and we did everything we could to make sure it works.
“We tried to do whatever we could to ensure that the infrastructure that is required to make the project a reality is done.
“The road will be reconstructed with concrete pavement and we realised that we do not want to replicate the problem of Apapa port because it only has one exit and one entry,“ El-Rufai said.
The governor, however, urged the company to employ the indigenes and talented youths of the state to reduce the challenge of unemployment.
“We want to support this work because 85 per cent of the population of Kaduna State consists of young people below the age of 35 and our biggest challenge; and our economic policy focus on creation of jobs.
“So, I appeal to you to make the best use of the facility.
“The Kaduna State Government will be a partner and we will direct all the companies that we are attracting to Kaduna to use this facility.
He appealed that the local people should be used for them to benefit from the project rather than “importing import people from other states’’.
“Kaduna State has talents. We have young people here and we expect you to give preference to them,“ he added.
Speaking earlier, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Mr Hassan Bello, appreciated the state government and the Federal Government for their support for the project.
He said that among all states where inland dry port was located, Kaduna gave the highest support in ensuring that the project was completed.
Bello, however, appealed to the state government to construct accessible roads and provide proper infrastructure for the importation and exportation of cargoes.
He said that the Kaduna Inland dry port could be used for imports and exports to and from all over the world.