“Mr President is coming next week to be able to commission this project,”
Nasarawa State Government has established the Nasarawa Transport Company, just as the state government concessioned the N3.1bn mega bus terminals newly constructed in Karu and Lafia.
The state government achieved the feats through the signing of two joint venture agreements with a private firm, Diamond Stripes, during a ceremony at the Government House, on Thursday.
With the agreements in place, Diamond Stripes, a major player in the transport industry, will take control and manage the N1.9bn Karu Mega Bus Terminal, as well as the N1.2bn Lafia Mega Bus Terminal.
The company is expected to run the two facilities in collaboration with key stakeholders in the transport business, such as the National Union of Road Transport Owners and National Union of Road Transport Workers, among others.
Speaking shortly after the signing of the agreements, Nasarawa State governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, said the signing of the agreements was in fulfilment of the desire of his administration to introduce innovations in the business of governance.
“We came with a dream to do things differently and I think this is one of those things.
“We have now completed the terminus and Mr President is coming next week to be able to commission this project,” he said.
An excited Governor Sule added that, with the signing of the two agreements, the two facilities will commence operation once they are commissioned, unlike in the past when it may take months for such facilities to be put to use.
He explained that it has become necessary to concession the terminus to a private company because it has been proven severally that government is not a good manager of business enterprises.
Engineer Sule said it is only through such arrangement that government can be able to get returns on its investment and to be able to channel the proceeds towards other development initiatives.
While appreciating the presence of key stakeholders in the transport sector such as NURTO, NRTW, VIOs, the governor expressed satisfaction that critical partners are also involved in the consession arrangement.
With the chairman of the Diamond Stripes from Karu Local Government Area, the governor said his administration was able to kill two birds with a single stone.
“We are able to bring a reputable organisation that can do this. And we are able to get local people to be involved so that when are getting ready to employ people who will manage this company, we look forward to somebody like the chairman to make sure that local people are actually employed,” he stated.
The governor disclosed that the Karu Mega Bus Terminal has captivity for 900 vehicles while that of Lafia can contain 240 vehicles.
Engineer Sule used the opportunity of the ceremony, to assure both NURTO and NURTW of adequate space to accommodate their vehicles.
To this end, he urged officials of the two transport unions to collapse all other bus stops within Lafia and Karu into the two new facilities.
Earlier in a remark, Chairman of Diamond Stripes, Pharmacist Victor Terra, appreciated the Nasarawa State Government for its venture into the transport sector.
Terra said the signing of the agreement gave birth to the new special purpose vehicle, the Nasarawa Logistics and Transport Company.
He expressed the determination of his company to partner with stakeholders in the transport business, for the optimal use of both the Karu and Lafia terminus, especially that they have bought into the project.
Terra announced that his company will flag off activities at the two terminus with 100 buses, which will be increased to over 200 within six months. Already, some of the buses have arrived Lafia, the state capital.
The Diamond Stripes chairman disclosed plans to also extend similar facilities across each of the three senatorial districts in the state.
In a welcome address, MD/CEO Nasarawa Investment Development Agency (NASIDA), Ibrahim Abdullahi, was the vision of the governor towards industrialization of Nasarawa State, as well as increased private sector participation.
Abdullahi said the event brought two gains for the state.
“One the one hand, you are ushering in a brand new Nasarawa Transport Company, that is private sector financed and private sector led.
“On the other hand, you are putting into use a critical infrastructure that you built. This is what we call the Nasarawa Integrated Transport Project,” he explained.