Many years after it was conceived, the Zamfara-Sokoto-Kebbi-Tahoua cross border trade routes have finally become a reality with its official inauguration.
The event, which was held at the Sokoto State Government House on Tuesday, was attended Governors Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, and Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State, as well as Abdulrahman Musa of Tahoua region of Niger Republic.
In his remarks, Tambuwal said that inauguration of the trade corridor was another landmark achievement for Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission, aimed to ensure growth and economic development of the two countries.
He said the initiative would positively redress several obstacles being experienced by the country’s cross-border traders such as road harassment, multiple and sometimes illegal check points, unnecessary delays and unlawful charges at the borders.
According to him, such illegalities hinder agro-pastoral business in the borders and deter their collective efforts toward achieving regional economic integration.
Tambuwal, therefore, enjoined all stakeholders to ensure faithful implementation of the project so as to ensure full realisation of its primary objectives which included serving as catalyst for free flow of goods.
This he noted could also boost trade transactions within the corridor of both countries.
He said the Sokoto State Government, in collaboration with the Federal Government, would establish and upgrade some infrastructure and institutions in the state that would support the corridor.
“Such infrastructure include establishment of the Illela International market which will promote high level commercial activities in the area, and the planned extension of rail service from Kaura Namoda to Sokoto and the Niger Republic border as well as establishment of Truck Transit Park,” he added.
Others are business information centre and inland dry port at Illela to ensure effective import and export of products to and from Nigeria.
Tambuwal said that the state government had embarked on the construction of some important Trunk A roads that linked Sokoto State with Niger Republic.
The roads projects, according to him, started during the last administration in the state and were presently being executed with renewed vigour by the present administration.
The roads include Ruwa Wuri-Niger, Tsululu-Kuya junction and Wauru -Kadadi-Rafin Duma-Galmi.
In their separate remarks, Bagudu and Musa expressed optimism that the trans-border trade between the zone and Niger Republic would increase economic activities and would be of benefit to the citizens of both countries.
Diplomats from the two countries and their Foreign Affairs Ministries also witnessed the event. (NAN)