From Agaju Madugba, Katsina

President Bola Tinubu, yesterday, commissioned the Funtua Inland Dry Port in Funtua, Katsina State.

“This port, strategically located in Funtua, Katsina State, is the third to be completed and commissioned among the six legacy inland dry port projects spread across our nation’s six geo-political zones,” Tinubu said, describing it as a pivotal component of the nation’s port infrastructure.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume, represented Tinubu at the ceremony and read the President’s address.

According to Tinubu, “Today marks a significant milestone in our nation’s journey as we gather to commission the Funtua Inland Dry Port.

“It is imperative to acknowledge the long-awaited anticipation from our hinterland business communities for such essential facilities.

“The Funtua Inland Dry Port holds immense potential to enhance the ease of conducting international business for interior-based shippers, both importers and exporters. In line with the Renewed Hope agenda of my administration, this development aligns with our commitment to diversify the economy towards non-oil exports.

“The concept of inland dry ports has gained prominence globally, particularly with the container revolution and the advent of door-to-door cargo delivery.

“This port grants importers and exporters located within our inland cities, as well as neighbouring hinterland countries, such as Niger, Chad, Northern Cameroon and Central Africa, access to shipping and port services without the need to physically visit seaports.

“Moreover, the Funtua Inland Dry Port offers importers the convenience of processing cargo clearance and receiving raw materials and machinery closer to their places of business.

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“For exporters, it provides essential facilities for processing, packaging, consolidating, and forwarding exports worldwide.

“This infrastructure is integral to our administration’s commitment to promoting export business across Nigeria, thereby achieving trade balance and creating employment opportunities for our youths.

“Currently, extensive rehabilitation and upgrade works on roads, rail and waterway infrastructure, are being scheduled.

“These efforts are to facilitate trade, reduce costs, and enhance the ease of doing business across the nation.”

Earlier in his address, Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, described Katsina as the nation’s largest producer of cotton, second largest producer of sorghum, and it also produces 13 percent of Nigeria’s sugarcane.”

Moreover, according to Oyetola, the presence of several manufacturing industries in Katsina not only makes it suited but most qualified to host an Inland Dry Port.

He said: “The inland dry port projects were conceived as part of the Federal Government’s ports reform programme designed to, among others, decongest the seaports, while also taking shipping and port services closer to importers and exporters in the hinterland. “Subsequently, in March 2006, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) granted approval for the establishment of this critical transport infrastructure at chosen locations across the country to be concessioned to private sector operators on a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) basis.

“Additionally, as part of efforts to further decongest the ports and increase their efficiency and optimisation, we are embarking on ports’ rehabilitation and modernisation.

“The Funtua Inland Dry Port will no doubt further unlock the economic potential of Nigeria and facilitate trade with the landlocked countries, like Niger and Chad Republic.”