Need For Inland Container-Terminal In Onitsha | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Need For Inland Container-Terminal In Onitsha

Posted: Mar 16, 2016 at 1:18 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Princess Stella Oduah

A casual knowledge of Onitsha city, undoubtedly, brings to light an already known reality. It is really a given, that the city remains the biggest commercial hub in the Eastern Region. The age-long record of Onitsha playing host to the largest single market in Sub-Saharan Africa still stands to be broken.

Indeed, the natural position of the commercial centre in Anambra had attracted and continues to draw business-minded individuals to itself from far and near.

Of all three major cities in the State (Anambra) – Awka, Nnewi and Onitsha, the latter had been in the lead in terms of commerce and housing.

Be that as it may, after a close examination on the reality on ground, only the blind will say we have hit the highest point. Time and again, the defined area covering the popular Main-market has continued to undergo some necessary expansion to accommodate more commercial enterprises. Modern malls and plazas are being erected; uncompleted decks of stores and shops progressively completed, thereby adding to the overall capacity of the market. A welcome development it is. Obviously, such development has become quite obtainable in other major markets in and around the ancient city.

A drive through the heart of the town reveals the daring and ambitious nature of the traders who have achieved this tremendous growth in the different markets. This growth should not be seen as unprecedented, given the positive attitudes and potentials manifest in dogged efforts to meet up with the demands of survival and development. It is indeed readily supported by steady growing activities at these commercial centres.

Thus, the relevance of Onitsha as a highly positioned business hub can only thrive progressively, not otherwise. The dutiful input of the people is always a greater advantage in making the city, as a commercial area, an envious one.

Willing investors from various parts of Anambra and beyond have been drawn to the attractive business environment, which boasts of a good number of strong markets. Certainly, the growing addition to the commercial and enterprise capacities of Onitsha city is a welcome development. However, setting a perfect underlying background to it, remains even more relevant and indispensable for better results.

Despite these enticing prospects, the glaring fact, which still poses great challenge to the fast growing economic might of the area, is the absence of an inland container-terminal. As it were, Onitsha, which commands a fantastic commercial respect in the Southeast zone and beyond, is unfavourably handicapped by the lack of seaports, limiting the much needed freer and easier access to the international market, unlike in Lagos and Port-Harcourt which enjoy the great prerogative conferred by nature.

This environmental disadvantage owes largely to the landlocked nature of the ancient eastern town.

Commercial activities in Onitsha are replete with promising prospects for national growth, but over the years, they have been hampered by the lack of direct access to foreign industries. Hitherto, importation activities, relatively championed by individuals from the area, have been adversely affected by compulsive reliance on far-away Southern ports especially Lagos. This old trend, which presents us with more disadvantages than otherwise, has continued to shrink the limits of commercial growth for regional markets surrounding the sensitive area.

Furthermore, the risky hazards that have accompanied this socio-economic privation include [but not limited to]: transport accidents, unnecessary additional costs and anxiety attached to distance-related transactions, hijacking of goods, theft, robbery, etc.

In moving forward, therefore, the Federal Government, through the instrumentality of the Customs Service, should consider, as a national priority, making provisions for ultra-modern inland container-terminal in the commercial city of Onitsha. Indeed, the economic advantages it stands to avail the country cannot be overemphasized.