From right: Executive Secretary/CEO, Nigerian Shippers Council, Hassan Bello, Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, Governor of Plateau State, Somon Lalong and others during the commissioning of the councils North Central Zonal office complex in Jos, recently.

The Nigerian Shippers Council NSC, has said that its decision to build its North -Central coordinating office complex in Jos, the Plateau State, which embodies an international resource centre is in line with efforts to boost international trade and commerce not only in the state but also across the zone. The complex is estimated to cost ₦15billion.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Transport, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi has assured that the Federal Government has identified the maritime sector as the best alternative for economic diversification and would therefore do everything possible to develop it.

Executive Secretary/CEO of the council, Hassan Bello, who spoke at the official commissioning of the N15billion complex, said the facility, which will serve the interest of the private sector comprising members of Chamber of Commerce, manufacturers associations importers, exporters, shippers- farmers, processors, miners, transporters, wealth creators in the state, is dedicated to uplift international trade, shipping and transport.

It was gathered that the complexwould comprise a five- star hotel, shopping mall, restaurant, multipurpose halls, conference centre (automated) with a capacity of 2,500 people and is expected to be delivered through Public Private Partnership PPP and supported at all times by the NSC.

According to Bello, the zone, the state and the Jos city deserve no less than this, assuring of the support of the Federal Ministry of Transport, Plateau State Government and the private sector.

The NSC-boss expressed his profound gratitude to Governor of Plateau State Barrister Simon Lalong and the Minister for their support to the council so far, especially in terms of revitalising the Jos Dry Port.

He said: “I welcome the Governor Lalong, whose economic pursuit was never lost to the NSC. Lalong was the first governor to visit the NSC office to discuss the development of the Jos Dry Port. He is frank, patriotic and scientific. He believes in strong economic pluralism of his state. He believes that the Jos Dry Port is an economic investment, a catalyst for employment and an avenue to place the state on the global map of export.

“Lalong is an economy friendly governor. He is a friend of the council.

His doors are always open to us; I have the privilege of having unfettered access to him, especially in Abuja. I am humbled to enjoy sharing his vision, his dream for Plateau State and Nigeria.

“The product of these discussions, sometimes presided over by the Minister of Transport is that the Jos Dry Port will be revitalised and energised. We sincerely hope that it would be completed by the first quarter of 2022.

“The Minister and the governor are close friends, political allies, and I dare say economic collaborators. They think alike, professionally. They are both resourceful and patriotic. They have this appetite for building infrastructure and creating opportunities for employment. Governor Lalong I thank you, I welcome you”.

While also commending the minister Bello said: “I invited the Minister of Transport to this event and he readily accepted. He has always been like this. He has a 6th sense of spotting economic ventures and sticking to them. Of course, the minister is the poster boy of this administration. The rail revolution will have a profound impact on the economic ambition of this country. For Shippers’ Council, we have a friend, an ally and a consummate broker of ideas”.

“I recall three years ago, a most frightening journey I undertook, bringing the minister to inspect the dry port at Jos. We hired a bus and just after few kilometers, I realised we had made a mistake. The bus was rickety, it was sputtering and proofing, climbing the steep gradient of the plateau, my heart was in my mouth. I was full of trepidation and anxiety; suppose the bus broke down.

“The Minister and I arrived Jos two hours behind schedule. But he never complained or made a remark and when we were going back, he insisted on riding with us back to Abuja in the same bus. The Nigerian Shippers’ Council’s growth as an economic regulator was all through the support of the minister”.

Bello also commended the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, whose administrative support is key to the success of any agency. Also in attendance was the Gbong Gwon Jos and chairman of Plateau State Traditional Council, His Royal Majesty Da Jacob Gyang Buba, who was represented by His Royal Highness Da Edward Gyang Bot. The Gbong Gwon Jos was a onetime Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service.

The minister had while speaking at the event said that the transport sector has the potential for employment, investment and growth of Nigeria’s international trade. He also said that with the support of the ministry, the council facilitated the development of Inland Dry Ports such as the Dry Port at Heipang, Jos which was visited earlier in the day.

“The strategic location of the North Central coordinating office is to ensure delivery of council’s services in the North Central Zone. Plateau State is known for solid mineral resources, such as tin, platinum, zinc, iron ore and so on.

“The temperate climate of the state supports certain agricultural produce. 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. I implore the good people of Plateau State to put it to optimal and beneficial use.

“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”, the minister assured.