By Zakaa Lazarus
Kano state governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has revealed that the Economic and Diaspora investment summit which will take place in May will create a huge investment Opportunity for the diaspora community to tap in the rich business potential of Kano state.
The Governor also revealed that the state is set for a huge economic transformation and as well take its rightful position as the centre of commerce in West Africa sub-region when the Dala Dry port commences operation.
Ganduje, further claimed that the ancient city of Kano had exited as a commercial hub in pre-colonial Nigeria and explaining that the first Airplane that came into the country landed in Kano.
He disclosed that the state also produced first generation billionaires like Alhaji Alhassan Dantata who was in the pre-independence Nigeria, the richest man in West Africa followed by Isyaku Rabiu.
The Kano state governor revealed this during the unveiling of the logo of Dala Dry Port and Kano Economic and Diaspora Investment Summit on Monday in Abuja.
He explained that Kano has always had a very large commercial settlement even more than Lagos, arguing that even when the colonial masters arrived the country through the sea, they were able to identify the economic potential in Kano and did not hesitate to build a railway line up to the state not deterred by distance.
“The first airplane that came to Nigeria, dropped in Kano, the pilot did not identify any settlement in Lagos. There was a large settlement of people already in Kano.
“The richest man in Africa then, Dantata was from Kano and the second richest, Rabiu was also from Kano. In-fact, Kano existed before Nigeria was carved out. Kano was able to trade with the world in the pre-colonial era.
“When the colonial masters came in through the sea, they built a railway line from Lagos to Kano because of the degree of commerce already in place, you all can remember the groundnut pyramid.
“When oil was discovered, everything went upside down but the Buhari administration came in and said that it will no longer be business as usual and they are reconstructed the railway line.
“Today, Kano is the largest producer of Rice in Nigeria and one of the highest processors of Rice in West Africa” Ganduje said.
The governor said that with the upcoming Kano Economic and Diaspora investment summit which will take place in May, will create an opportunity for the diaspora community to tap into the rich business potential in the state. promising to support and provide free land to any member of the diaspora community willing to invest in the state.
Earlier in his Keynote Address Minister of Transportation, Hon. Chibuike Amaechi stated that the dry port project will reduce the cost of haulage and bring shipping facilities closer to the hinter land.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, Amaechi said, “a State with sizable number of textiles and agro-allied industries, a Motor Assembly Plant, hides and skin industries and several manufacturing plants deserves an Inland Dry Port”.
Amaechi explained that the Dry port will among other things: “bring shipping activities closer to shippers in the hinterland and increase cargoes throughput; act as a catalyst for improved trade flows; boost inland trading, revitalize export of agricultural products thus leading to multi-product economy; create employment opportunities that would ultimately stem rural urban migration and act as source of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to the host state as well as revenue source to the Federal Government”.
While assuring the business community and intending investors that that the Federal Government is committed to linking all Dry Ports with rail lines for optimum utilization and efficiency, adding that the Dala Inland Dry Port in Zawachiki would be linked to the Lagos-Kano Standard Gauge Rail line under construction as well as the Narrow Gauge already in existence.
In his goodwill message, Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Addo-Bayero frowned at the speed at which the project was going. He said that the emirate has already constituted a committee to work with the state government and ensure that the Dala Dry Port project is achieved soonest.
Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council, Emmanuel Jime in his remarks said that the “Dala Dry port” which is among the six Dry port projects being executed by the present administration, “will give Nigeria a competitive edge in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
He disclosed that Kano state government has already released the sum of N2.5bn which was utilized in the provision of access road, electricity, perimeter fencing, provision of water facility etc. at the project site.
Director General, Dala Inland Dry Port Ahmad Rabiu, said the unveiling which is prelude to Kano Economic Investment summit will showcase the Dala Dry Port as a major transport infrastructure and other sector like the Kano economic city that will stimulate industrialisation and commerce.
“The Dry port will make Kano a hub of domestic and international trade, thereby diversify the economic base of the country”, he said.