by Christiana Gokyo, Jos
Plateau State is said to be known hub for solid mineral resources, such as tin, platinum, zinc, iron ore and so on, and the temperate climate of the State supports certain agricultural produce.
This statement was echoed by Minister of Transportation, Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, in Jos on Friday, at the official commissioning of the Nigerian Shippers Council North-Central Coordinating Office Complex in Jos, Plateau State.
He said, “These resources need access to both domestic and international markets. In addition to its other uses, the Dry Port in Heipang Jos will provide such access and implore the good people of Plateau State to put it to optimal and beneficial use when completed.”
He explained that the Federal Ministry of Transportation, through the Nigerian Shippers’ Council’s activities, highlights the benefits of the maritime sector as the best alternative for economic diversification, adding that, “The transportation sector has the potential for employment, investment and growth of our nation’s international trade.
“With the support of the Ministry of Transportation, the Council is facilitating the development of Inland Dry Ports such as the Dry Port at Heipang, Jos, which we visited earlier today.
“The strategic location of the North Central Coordinating Office is to ensure delivery of Council’s services in the North Central Zone.
“Our vision is to re-engineer the economy by establishing modern transport infrastructure that will strengthen the nation’s logistics value chain and support the development of the non-oil sector,” he said.
Hon. Amaechi further explained that, the Maritime Resource Centre that the Council is promoting is a project with tremendous economic potentials for the state in terms of employment, tourism, and intellectual development, among others.
He noted that, the Resource Centre will have huge socio-economic impact on the state and, urged the Plateau State Government to partner with the Council in actualizing this project.
He assured that the Federal Ministry of Transportation and its agencies are here to partner with the great people of Plateau State to achieve its potentials.
Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, said, the proposed Maritime Resource Centre is a laudable project, as it will not only impact on the socio-political economy of the State but will also put Nigeria on the World Tourism Map.
According to her, the Plateau State Government and Federal Ministry of Transportation Nigerian Shippers’ Council need to immediately set up a Working Group for the actualization of the project.
“This day will be remembered as it marks the beginning of another milestone in the history of Nigerian Shippers’ Council and, indeed, the Federal Ministry of Transportation,” he stressed.
Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, appreciated the transportation ministry for citing the North Central Coordinating Office in Jos, which will add a lot of value to the general plan for development of Inland Container Terminals across the nation and also facilitate more economic activities in the hinterland.
According to him, “Plateau State has been a centre for economic and socio-political activities in Nigeria right from colonial times. Because of its serenity, centrality, easy access, good weather, mining and agricultural endowments, hospitable people and a lot of tourist attractions, the State becomes the natural choice for the development of inland shipping business in the nation.
“This development is coming at the time when the Federal Government is reviving the railway line right from Port-Harcourt through many cities, including Jos. In addition to this, the Yakubu Gowon Airport Heipang is selected as one of the four new Cargo Airports whose work will begin soon.
“This is a great mix that makes today’s event very timely. Earlier this morning, we were at the Inland Container Depot at Heipang to inspect the facility,” he said.
“Although, this facility has been on ground for some time, it is very promising that the time has come for it to come into use; we have the assurances of the Federal Ministry of Transport towards achieving this objective.”
The governor noted, too, that, “Another very exciting part of this event is the visual presentation of the Maritime Resource Center, which will be developed under a Public Private Partnership (PPP). This is a very laudable initiative that my administration welcomes with great excitement.”
According to him, he was told that, the Resource Centre when operational will have many facilities, including Research and Administrative Building, Library, Conference Centre and Multi-purpose Hall with sitting capacity of over two thousand five hundred people and other meeting rooms.
“In addition, I understand that there will be a 4-Star Hotel with 150 rooms, Mixed Shopping Malls, Gaming Arcades, Food Courts, Five Aside Football Pitch, Basketball and Tennis Courts, ATM Galleries, Swimming Pools and Water Park, among others,” he said.
“This is an investment that will not only boost the economic fortunes of the State, but also create job opportunities for many of our teeming youths, which is coming at a time when there is greater demand for hotel accommodation, entertainment centres and tourist attractions to cope with the demand of the local population and the high number of visitors to the State,” the governor said.
Governor Lalong stated stressed that, to make investing in the State easier, his administration has established a One-Stop-Investment Centre to give investors access to all services under one roof, adding, “This is in addition to continuous development and upgrade of our infrastructure and other services to support the growing economy.”