The Concessionaire of Funtua Inland Dry Port (FID) on Thursday said over 20 million dollars intervention fund would be needed to get the port operational within a year.
Mr Usman Iya-Abbas, the Managing Director of Equatorial Marine Oil and Gas Company Limited disclosed this during the inspection of the port with the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) in Katsina.
According to him, the port was concession to the company since 2006 and has made remarkable progress in terms of development.
He, however, said that the devaluation of naira against dollar over the years affected the progress and the total cost to get it operational.
Iya-Abbas said that the initial cost of the project was put at about three billion dollars, but with the current exchange rate it was more than that.
“Initially, when the project started the feasibility study that was done, then, the entire budget was three billion dollars but as it is today, the devaluation of Naira over the years,
“The cost has really gone up beyond what it was initially estimated; before Naira was 170 to dollar, but today we know how much Naira is to dollar.
“If you do that, you will realise that the prices has really gone up and that is why we are approaching ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development located in Lome.
“They have come to inspect and to see the possibility of extending the facilities for the operations. We are looking at facilities between 20 and 50 million dollars.
“It depends on what type of intervention they can make, based on their assessment, we are hoping that after the exercise they can give us between 15 to 20 million dollars,“ he said.
He, however, said that once they get the intervention within six to a year the dry port would commence operation.
“NSC has being very supportive to facilitate the work, the state government has being very cooperative; they have added some infrastructure to the port.
“They have also constructed the access road to the terminal and land acquisition.
“ Developing a port involves huge capital, cost from the purchase of equipment, to the infrastructure; we have spent a lot and we are ready to spend more.
“Initially, we had other investors like Golf Engineering Company in Germany; they indicated interest initially, with other local investors including the Chinese, and so we are hopeful.
“If we are able to get the financing between six months to a year, we will start operation because as it is now, the basic infrastructure has being laid, what is left is the trailer parks and ICT infrastructure.
However, the Director, North East Zone, NSC, Mrs Karimatu Othman, said that the Funtua dry port was one of the port that shippers council oversee.
She said that the inspection was carried out to check the progress of work so far, stating that the major challenge limiting the progress was funds.
According to her, the concessionaire is in discussion with other international investors to get the funds needed for the project.
Newsmen report that the Funtua dry port is one of the seven Inland Dry Port approved by the Federal Government to be established under Public Private Partnership.
Others are located at Isiala Ngwa in Aba, Erunmu in Ibadan, Heipang in Jos, Zawachiki in Kano, Zamfarawa in Funtua, Jauri in Maiduguri and ICNL in Kaduna.