THE Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, has given 18 months ultimatum to owners of Inland Container Depots, ICDs, across the country to commence work at their various sites or face sanctions, even as the Executive Secretary of the NSC, Hassan Bello, disclosed that ICD project in Jos, Plateau State is 65 percent completed.
Bello, who disclosed this in an exclusive chat with Vanguard in his office, said that government is very serious about the development of these facilities not only because of its capacity to bring development to their area of operation but also the ability to creation jobs for the army of unemployed youths in the country.
He explained that as a result of the importance of the ICDs to opening up of the economies of the states where they are located, the minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, is working seriously to ensure that these projects come on stream as soon as possible.
The NSC boss said that all is set for the commissioning of that of Kaduna, explaining that the state government has approved the construction of entrance and exit roads leading to the ICD.
He pointed out that the Council is working closely with all the relevant bodies, the Nigeria Customs Service, NCS, the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, and others to ensure that the facility operates as a full port when it starts receiving cargo.
According to him, “Agreement for the the one at Isialangwa has just been signed with the technical partners from Canada in the presence of the Abia State governor.
“All the ICDs concessionaires are working very hard, including Funtua, including Kano. They are working very hard to see that they start. You know the mistake of Shippers’ Council was that we wanted all the facilities to work together but we have realized that it cannot work that way.
“Now, we identify a place where there is seriousness and we encourage them.
The concessionaires for Isialangwa are very serious people, so also are the ones for Funtua, so also the one in Kano.
“We expect all of them to work at their own pace. Some of them have challenges with their state government and that is outside our scope. We can only intervene by encouraging the state government to support them, so they cannot be at the same level.
“But we have also issued a warning that if any of them is not able to compete within the period of 18 months, then the concession agreement is threaten. For all of them but for some like Jos, you cannot say 18 months because they have achieved 62 percent.
“What is even more important is the interest and enthusiasm with which the minister of transportation has shown on these projects, you could see him going everywhere to inspect these projects because the minister is concerned about the employment content of these projects,” he noted.