The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has identified infrastructural development and proper funding as ways of making the nation’s inland waterways attractive.
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, NIWA, Dr George Muoghalu said there was a need for a regulatory framework aimed at actualising these benefits.
Muoghalu stressed the need to ensure the development of infrastructural facilities for a national inland waterways network that would connect the creeks and the rivers with the economic centres using the river ports as nodal points for intermodal exchange.
“The huge opportunities that abound in the nation’s inland waterways can only be maximized if concerted efforts are geared towards the development of infrastructure and proper funding to make the waterways attractive and competitive to players, hence the need for a regulatory framework aimed at actualizing this, which ultimately will take the cost of providing infrastructure on roads to water at relatively cheaper cost.”
The NIWA boss said that the agency had licensed several companies for the transportation of cargo across the waterways in Nigeria, especially, from Lagos and Onne ports to the hinterlands and vice versa.
“To achieve more of these, the authority is poised to continuously ensure the development of indigenous manpower as well as providing navigational aids, river training works, wreck surveys and removal, the establishment of river gauges, construction of jetties, capital and maintenance dredging, the establishment of search and rescue stations, river-craft certification and training of boat drivers and crew, as well as continuous safety sensitization campaigns.”
According to him, “The vision of the Authority is to make Nigeria, the leader in inland waterways transportation, development and management in Africa.”