Kano State Government has restated its commitment to partner with Shandong Province of People’s Republic of China in boosting commercial activities in the state.
Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje gave the assurance on Friday night at a dinner with Business Community and high level delegation from Shandong Province, People’s Republic of China, held at the Afficent Event Center, Kano.
The governor was represented at the occasion by his Deputy, Dr. Nasiru Gawuna.
According to Ganduje, considering the vast commercial opportunities and endowments which the state is blessed with, government will not hesitate on its effort to encourage investors to come and invest.
“We have many areas of investment opportunities that our investors can properly harnessed for mutual investment benefits which include leather industry, Textile industry, Agro Allied industry and Solid minerals among others,” he explained.
Ganduje said that he personally led a delegation to Shandong Province during which he signed an MoU on behalf of the Kano State Government with the Shandong Province on mutual investment relationship.
According to him, it is part of the visit agenda that the high level delegation from Shandon Province would meet with business community in Kano to discuss issues on commerce and investment for the benefit of the two sister states.
“Our gathering here is for the delegation from Shandong Province to meet with the representatives of Kano business community operating in the private sector.
“They are very resilient and full of determination to partner with any willing investor either in Greenfield or Brownfield investiment.
“In trying to actualize this relationship between Shandong Province and the State investors, the present administration will contunue to lend its support and encouragement to see that our noble dream on investiment comes to reality,” he added.
Ganduje also expressed optimism that the visit would be translated into reality by concretizing all investment offerings and negotiations.
Earlier, the leader of the delegation who is also the President of Shandong Provincial Committee, Mr Fu Zhifang who spoke through an interpreter, expressed appreciation to the people of Kano for the great hospitality accorded to them during the visit.
“We have been to some historical sites of the ancient city of Kano and some commercial centers; from what we have seen, there are a lot of endowments on investments which will soon be established between the sister states,” he said.
Zhifang assured the governor that their visit to Kano would give room for investment relationship between Shandong Province and the state.
According to him, the relationship would be beneficial to the present and future generations of the People’s Republic of China and Nigeria.
The delegation visited the Northster SME industrial cubicles at Sharada which is a ready-made cluster for any interested Chinese Company, the Emir’s Palace, Kofar Mata Dye pit and Gidan Dan Hausa, among others.
Institute calls for port decongestion
Mr Caleb Okoye, Life Patron, Nigeria Institute of Shipping (NIS), has called for urgent actions to decongest Nigerian ports and re-establish a national carrier for faster development of the shipping industry.
Okoye made the call at the Nigeria Institute of Shipping’s 9th Annual General Meeting and Awards held on Friday night in Lagos.
According to him, the country does not have a national carrier since the demise of the Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL).
He said that almost all the containers to and from Nigeria were carried by foreign shipping lines.
He also regretted approval of tank farms near the ports without due consideration of the road traffic implication to the ports.
“I am alarmed by the situation of our ports. Apart from oil, over 80 per cent of cargoes coming to Nigeria are now containerised.
“The container traffic started in Nigeria in 1966 when NNSL and two UK shipping lines formed African Container Express; they made arrangements with the Nigeria Railway Company to transfer containers from Apapa to Kaduna container terminals.
“The rail link between Lagos and the North was then running smoothly. Today that is history,” he said.
He claimed that Federal Government had not made any good investment in uplifting the port facilities especially Tincan Island and Apapa ports.
He also said that the military government made a mistake in authorising testablishment of sugar, wheat and cement factories inside the ports.
Okoye said that it would have been appropriate to site only factories for goods meant for export at the port.
He, however, said that the plan to open the Lekki Deepsea Port and Dangote Refinery on the Lekki-Ajah zone was a bold step by government, urging road or rail connections to the facility.
Cpt. Anthony Onoharigho, the National President, NIS, said that the major challenge of the institution was inadequate finance.
He said that NIS was determined to have a shipping house and be chartered.
According to him, NIS has been advocating that the cabotage funds be used to buy a ship for the country’s shipping line to run.
“If we can get one ship to be running in the industry, people would get jobs; you know 90 per cent of our crude oil is being lifted by foreign vessels.
“This emanted from foreign companies, by portfolio brokers who just collect 10 per cent and run the vessel on Free On Board, but now we want to run the vessel on Cost, Insurance and Freight,” he said.
As regards the institute’s Charter Bill, he said it had gone up to the second reading before legislative issues came up and stopped it.
“But now it will be back on line again,” he said.
On traffic congestion on roads leading to the ports, the NIS president said that there was the need to properly plan movement of articulated vehicles on the roads.
“Government should develop other ports; if cargoes are segregated, those going to Port Harcourt will go there; Lagos, Warri and Calabar will do same.
“We should not drop all cargoes in Lagos as this is part of what is causing the congestion.
“There is the need to make all ports that are not functioning to function again as the concentration of cargoes in Lagos is the major cause of the congestions,” he said.