Uche Usim, Abuja
Hopes of establishing a Truck Transit Park (TTP) in Obelle-Afor, Enugu State, brightened yesterday as the Nigerian Shippers’ Council NSC) received the project’s Outline Business Case (OBC) compliance certificate from the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) in Abuja.
Speaking at a brief ceremony held at the ICRC headquarters, the Executive Secretary of NSC, Hassan Bello said the time has come for the country to see infrastructure deficit not as a challenge but an opportunity to grow exponentially.
He said the Council was championing the development of TTPs across the country because trucks currently litter major highways in the country, wreaking havoc and hampering free movement of good and persons.
He said Obelle Affor TTP is an $8.5 million investment rated four star and sitting on 16.1 hectares of land allocated by the Enugu State government.
He said: “We’ve had stakeholders engagement with NATO, AMATO, RTEAN, NURTW, among others.We want them to be fully part of it. We’ve signed an MoU with FRSC to ensure drivers use these facilities. In Germany, drivers and trucks are monitored to ensure they observe the mandatory rest.
We need to all come together as agencies to synergize to straighten out all legal issues and other requirements” he said.
Bello added that the NSC will work hard to sustain and cement the partnership it has with ICRC, towards aggressively tackling infrastructural challenge in Nigeria.
According to him, the NSC remains determined to improve transport infrastructure because the sector remains the main driver of the economy.
He said: “Unless we address it transport sector infrastructure deficit, we won’t move. Once we get the rail right, it’ll be a game changer. So also is the road, sea, and and air. We are talking about intermodal transport system. It’ll bring about national integration and economic growth. We must also push for other infrastructure like the TTPs, Inland Container Depots and all that. TTPs will change the face of haulage transport.
“When investors see how we park our trucks indiscriminately, they won’t be encouraged to come in here. It defaces the country and lead to several issues including squabbles.
“Again, we won’t have a TTP that is not speaking with an ICD. There must be that connection and again, we need regulation to blend them.
“For investors to come, there must be incentives for them. Some seek tax holidays, pioneer status, access to forex etc. There are 164 projects captured by the government to help boost the Nigerian economy, TTPs account for seven and rated four star. They’re becoming constituency projects but must not focused on politics but on economic considerations”, the NSC boss explained.
He said the NSC will continually seek State governments’ support towards revamping transport infrastructure.
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“Aside the Enugu governor supporting the Obelle Affor project, we saw the same interest by Kogi State for the Lokoja TTP. We want the governor to pay compensation so we move in. We’ve ICD in edo, Kebbi, etc and we hope they’re viable and made private sector driven.
The acting Director General, Nigeria Infrastructure Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Engr Chidi Izuwah in his remarks on the way forward for Truck Transit Parks (TTPs) in Nigeria said the agency was determined to provide TTPS and ICDs.
“Trucks scattered all around the country constitute serious danger. More than 90% freight transportation is by trucks. No well-built truck facilities anywhere in Nigeria. They park on major roads and thus block the economic arteries of the country.
South Africa trying to have a legislation to force drivers to observe rest. We can do same here.
“NSC and Road Safety should run campaigns that will encourage the use of TTPS to boost safety and revenue. $42 is earned from TTPS in the US.
You can link TTPS to ICDs. You can mix it with the railway or integrate it with warehousing.
“We are ready to work with NSC to change the clogging of our highways into economic opportunities” Izuwah said.
The Transaction Adviser, Lai Are, whose firm Catamaran Nigeria Limited was handling the project urged the government to ensure all players operate within the rules of engagement.
“Projects of this type are bankable but we need to critically look into standard and enforcement” he said.