300 LGAs to Benefit from Edo Inland Dry Port

Godwin Obaseki

Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City

About 300 local government areas (LGAs) across the country would benefit from Edo State Inland Dry Port when it becomes operational, Atlantique Marine and Engineering Services Limited, promoters of the inland port, has said.

Consequently, Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki called for synergy between states and the federal government to curb waste of resources and manpower in project execution.

The Managing Director of Atlantique Marine, Dr. Charles Akhigbe gave the figure yesterday when he received a delegation from the Federal Ministry of Transportation, at the project site in Benin City.

At the project site, Akhigbe said the dry port would also drive socioeconomic conditions of people living within and outside Edo State.

The managing director, who commended the federal government through the ministry of transportation, called for more support in ensuring the project becomes a reality.

He said the aim of this project “is to add value to the economy. And over 300 Local Government Areas will be greatly impacted economically. We are closer to the end of the tunnel than when we started.”

On her part, Magdalene Ajani, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transportation commended the management of the dry port but noted that there was still a lot of work to be done.

He said the gap analysis that was done by the consultant had been delivered to them.

She said: “We ‘ve advised them to work on those identified gaps. By the time those things are on ground, then we shall be returning to confirm the status.

“Members of the project delivery team are members of the ministry of transportation, the AMES group, and stakeholders in Edo State will work together to put in place some technical things.”

Meanwhile, Obaseki noted that the states and the federal government “are not communicating and collaborating as they should.”

Obaseki stated this when he received the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation and Chairperson, Project Steering Development of AMES-Edo Inland Dry Port, Dr. Magdalene Ajani and members of the Nigerian Shippers Council at the Government House, Benin City.

Obaseki reaffirmed his administration’s commitment “to creating and enabling environment for business to thrive,” but noted that “for a country that was in a hurry to develop, six years to incubate a project like this is just too long.”

According to him, the country is now officially in recession; this is the time to do whatever we can do as Nigerians to accelerate all the plans we have in place.

“The federal government and the state governments are not communicating as they should. Edo is strategic due to its unique location and it hosts a lot of federal institutions, particularly transport infrastructure.

“I know you have developed a transport master plan but the plan should be co-owned with the state. This is important to enable the state to relate and link with the plan of the federal government. If we knew we could have an Inland Port instead of logistics hub that will have saved us two years.

“We must communicate a lot more to ourselves. As a government, we are very pro-investors and pro-investment; we try to create an enabling environment and provide support.

“In that Ologbo axis, we have 55 MWTs plant built in less than 18 months; it is an Independent Power Plant (IPP). We supported the investors and will continue to encourage and support our investors. There is also a modular refinery there.

“We want to share in the Federal Government’s master plan, to explain the opportunities here which we are currently developing.

“In this country, we have transportation assets but have not been able to optimise and link them to get the best of assets.

“The assets in TinCan Island and Apapa have been over stretched; we have waterways here; why can’t we push the containers here and allow people to evacuate them either from the East or North?”

In her response, Ajani, commended the governor for creating a business-friendly environment, saying a periodic and final inspection would be undertaken by the Federal Ministry of Transportation’s project delivery team to ensure that the objective of a functional Inland Dry Port was achieved.

She said the port was part of the solutions to alleviate the problem of hinterland inadequate access to seaports and remove frequent congestion, which resulted in loss of cargoes in transit, carnage and accidents on roads.