Growth of Commercial Sector Infrastructure (VI)
Continued from last Monday
Airport and cargo terminal:
Ilorin International Airport Cargo Terminal
Ilorin International Airport has been upgraded with a new terminal building and other modern facilities. A recently completed cargo terminal at the airport allows investors to import and export goods via air. The facility gives Kwara State a significant competitive advantage over other areas in Nigeria. The terminal has been built especially to export agricultural produce from the state but it will also cater for the rest of Nigeria’s cargo needs.
It is indeed on record that the cargo terminal in Ilorin is the only one in the country equipped with a wet-station purposely built to ensure effective transit-storage of agro-products from our Commercial farms situated here in Kwara State
The Kwara State Government wants to establish the state as a cargo hub, competing directly with Lagos. More than half the goods arriving in Lagos are not destined for Lagos itself but for the rest of the country. Because of Kwara State’s central location, goods can now be directly brought into Ilorin, and trucked to other parts of Nigeria, saving importers time and money. Customs clearance at “Ilorin is also much quicker than Lagos with officials on standby 24 hours a day.
During a trial run using a temporary cargo shed, the New Nigeria Farmers at Shonga brought in 800 Jersey cattle from South Africa. The airport has also received a load of cargo from Dubai. One of the state’s major industrial concerns, furniture manufacturer Kwara Ethnix Designs, has recently indicated it is working towards exporting goods directly to Europe from Ilorin International Airport, utilising its cargo handling facilities.
A flyover in the center of the state capital has greatly reduced congestion
Kwara State’s road network has seen great improvements in recent years. Most of the major roads in the state have been upgraded, although this is a work in progress. In Ilorin, the major arterial roads have also been improved and a new flyover in the centre of the state capital has greatly reduced congestion. The Kwara Traffic Management Authority ensures the smooth flow of traffic in Ilorin, especially along certain roads that have been identified as highly prone to congestion.
Kwara State has numerous banks and financial institutions that are ready to assist investors and businesspeople. Most major banks have branches in Kwara State and investors have access to most bank services. The Kwara Microfinance Bank complements the activities of existing microfinance banks to provide credit to small businesses and cooperative groups.
The recent opening of the Ilorin branch of the Nigerian Stock Exchange is evidence of Kwara State’s growing importance in the country’s financial-services sector. Since the opening of the branch, a number of stock-broking firms have also set up shop in the state.