Ibadan Dry Port And Rail: Unlocking The Treasures Of Oyo - Report

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...The current administration in Oyo State should see this new wave of economic fortunes falling on the state as an avalanche of opportunities. There is no other time to kick-start an economic revolution in the state but now; .......

In this report by Mujib Dada-Qadri, Esq, published by The Nation Online, the writer revealed how Oyo State is accommodating infrastructural investment that is worth over N500 billion, read below:

SIR: After over 13 years of snail-speed, the federal government in collaboration with other critical stakeholders approved N43.24 billion for the construction of Ibadan Inland Dry Port otherwise known as Inland Container Depot (ICD) in July 2020. Ibadan is also anticipating the completion of the long-awaited Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail which has gulped $1.6 billion (N458bn) coupled with the newly reviewed Lagos-Kano standard gauge line of which Lagos-Ibadan serves as the first part of the new 2,733km Lagos-Kano gauge line.

According to Glory Onojedo, Director, Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), the proposed Industrial Park near the Ibadan Inland Dry Port will be the biggest ever in Nigeria. Undoubtedly, 2021 is a year of reawakening of fortune for Oyo State. Lagos-Ibadan rail line is expected to be completed, other critical infrastructures like the inland dry port and Lagos-Kano standard gauge line will also be kick-started.

Oyo State is therefore not just about to milk more from the “golden cow” of Lagos State but is luckily “having the largest share of the buffet” which Ogun State had solely enjoyed for over 10 years leading to splashes of Industrial cluster areas in Sango-Otta, Agbara, Mowe, Ibafo, Sagamu etc. Unlike the minimal share of Lagos fortune that Oyo State used to have, the state is attracting over N500 billion worth of Investments. To be more specific, Oyo State is accommodating infrastructural investment that is worth over N500 billion.

With the rail revolution having its strong presence in Ibadan coupled with maritime trade advantages, Oyo State government should be ready to apply “tactical aggression”. The bite must be furious and the state should prioritize urban renewal, industrialization, agro-revolution and housing development. First, agro-revolution which is its biggest comparative advantage should be explored. Citizens will need “infrastructure loans” to strategically target Oke-Ogun/Ibarapa for industrialization and limit rural-urban migration and unemployment. These loans should be used in constructing “Oke-Ogun/Ibarapa light rail” which will connect the rail lines and cover “Ido/Omi-Adio” strategically. These infrastructure loans should also be used to advance “farm settlements” into agro-processing parks and another agro-processing industrial park strategically sited at Ido, Oyo State. These loans must also target rural-urban roads.

The industrialization drive capturing Oke-Ogun/Ibarapa zones through agro-revolution should be complemented with more rapid Industrialization in the capital city, Ibadan. About 80 percent of the approved free trade zones in Nigeria are dormant as no business activities are going on in them, the Africa Free Zones Association recently reported. In light of the above, Oyo State Government through proposed infrastructure loans and PPP should  construct an industrial park with proximity to the Ibadan Inland Dry Port, adequate facilities and not just “tax reliefs” remain the secret of unlocking Free Trade Zones.

Also, the real estate advantages that will spring up from this rail revolution and infrastructural development should not be allowed to be “monopolized” by the private sector. The government should mastermind the construction of new cities nearing the rail lines in form of massive low-cost housing projects with flexible mortgage options. It is advised that most of the suggested infrastructural projects should be subject to “Infrastructural/concessionary loan agreement”. This implies an agreement of “concessioning most of these projects” to ease the state of the burden of loan servicing and repayment but a “self-paying loan model”.

The current administration in Oyo State should see this new wave of economic fortunes falling on the state as an avalanche of opportunities. There is no other time to kick-start economic revolution in the state but now; the current administration should count itself the luckiest at this time.

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