The Nigeria Shippers Council, (NSC) is seeking the Support of Kogi State Government for the actualization of Vehicle Transit Project in Kogi State which is worth about N200 billion.
The project which is first of its kind in Kogi State is expected to create over 50,000 direct and indirect jobs for teaming youths in the State.
Speaking during a meeting when officials of the Nigeria Shippers Council alongside other partnering agencies met with members of the Kogi State House of Assembly, the Coordinator, North Central Zone of NSC, Mr. Bestus Philemon said more internally generated revenue will come into Kogi State.
“What we need from the Government is support. They have done one of the major things which is compensation. The activities that are supposed to follow need the support of the Government but it appears that they are foot dragging. Like when we called a conference for bidders, they are supposed to come but we didn’t see them.
“It actually discourages people that want to invest in this project. At the end of this, we didn’t see many investors coming in as much as we thought. It is just that we want their cooperation. We are not asking anything more than this.
“It is just for them to be involve, partner with us as the project is being developed. It is a state project. When we finish it, we will hand it over to them, and they will be working with the concessioner, and not the Shippers Council. It is a project that we believe is good for this place, particularly this State. Why because, the volume of articulated Vehicles that passes through this State daily.
“You can imagine if these vehicles were supposed to park in this designated place and given all the things they required to make them comfortable and safe. If every trailer enters this place for rest, there are fees they will pay. This will generate revenue on a daily basis for Kogi State. The project is a modern vehicle park that has almost all facilities that will give the drivers and owners of vehicles a rest place.
“There will be hotels, mechanic workshops, police stations, banks, sale of spare parts, shops for food and drinks, and restaurants, so that if you come to the place you will be comfortable. We brought this concept, because a long lorry does not drive fast. A long lorry who is going to Lagos for two or three days, sometimes they are tired and they need rest. But if they give themselves that rest, then they can drive safely, and prevent accidents.
“That is where this concept is coming from, because we protect cargoes either by air, land and many more. We make sure that they get to the door step of the owner of the goods. You know, that there are places that they park on the road. Sometimes, this causes accidents. That is why we are saying let us pull them away from the road and be in a place that is comfortable for them. We want to pull them out to avoid accident,” he stated.
Philemon noted that when completed, Kogi state will be a business hub among the comity of states, stressing that the project will generate much revenues for the development of Kogi state.
The Coordinator commended the Kogi State House of Assembly for their continuous support to the organization, adding that they are presenting this because of the ability of the House to add value to their proposal as they are an important agency to ensure the success of the project in Kogi State.
He re-emphasized that Kogi State will become the highest exporter of goods to other countries.
Also speaking, the Lokoja Area Officer, Nigeria Shippers Council, Ignatius Edwin stated that the agency will be delighted for the truck transit park, Kogi industrial export processing hub and Kogi state trade fair to see the light of the day in 2023.
He hinted to the lawmaker that the Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello has approved 41 hectares of land for the Nigeria Shippers Council to execute the gigantic project that would attract investors from far and near.
Edwin, who also averred that the agency has made tremendous progress in the actualization of the said project, appealed to the Kogi State House of Assembly to bring up legislations that would promote commerce and to ensure that what is established in the state serve as a template for other states and the world to emulate.
He added that the lawmakers should come up with documents showing to the world that Kogi State is ready for business.
He re-echoed that the project will bring tremendous job opportunities in the state, revamp the economy and generate much revenue that will make the State self-sufficient.
Speaking on last year Kogi Trade Exhibition, he maintained that the State has been lagging behind on these areas, stressing that aside from what was achieved in 2022, with little support from the government, international companies declined coming to Kogi State due to negative publicity.
The President, Kogi State Shippers Association, Comrade Rajan Suleiman in his address explained that the organization is committed towards ensuring that Kogi State produces goods in large quantities which will be exported to other countries.
Suleiman requested that the government should provide 70 hectares of land along Ajaokuta road for the Shippers Council to bring in investors as there would be great economic benefits that would impact positively on the people of Kogi state.
On why it should be located around Ajaokuta axis, he averred that this was chosen because of the industrial layout as it has road, rail and water transportation network that will boost the economic growth of the business since Kogi is bordering about 10 other states in Nigeria.
Adding his voice, the Director General Kogi State Chamber of Commerce Industry Mine and Agriculture (KOCCIMA), Samuel Enejoh lamented that the last year trade fair failed to get the full backing of the government.
Enejoh seized the opportunity to appeal to the Kogi State Government to give the agency all the needed support for the conduct of this year’s trade fair which is slated later in the year.
He said the business community will benefit as it will expose goods produced in Kogi State to the international community.
The Deputy Clerk of Kogi State House of Assembly, M.A Ndagi said the House has the power to issue a resolution for the Government to raise the proposed money for the project.
Ndagi expressed his concerns over the enthusiasm of the government to increase the revenue of the state as he explained that this is an avenue to generate money for economic development of Kogi State.
Responding to their appeals, the member representing Lokoja l State Constituency in the Kogi State House of Assembly, Hon. Bin- Ebayya Shehu Tijani promised that the Assembly will look out into the issues raised by the Nigeria Shippers Council, assuring that it will be urgently looked into for the development of Kogi state.
The lawmaker said the Assembly will pursue the project to a logical conclusion, promising to lobby each of the government officials and other lawmakers to key into the laudable project.