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As part of drive to deepen private sector investments in Nigerian waterways, the Nigeria International Ports and Terminal (NIMPORT), a port and terminal promotion body, has expressed support for the repositioning of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA).
The new deal, according to experts will enable NIWA deliver on its mandate of developing inland waterways for easy navigation and as alternative mode of transportation for evacuation of cargoes.
Managing Director of NIWA, Mr. Boss Gida Mustapha who was paid a courtesy visit by officials of NIMPORT at its headquarters in Lokoja, said efforts are currently in top gear to reposition the agency for improved performance.
In his remarks, chairman, NIMPORT, Fortune Idu said his group was at NIWA for preparations on their future programmes and how it will be captured in the development and promotion plans of NIMPORT 2017 exhibition which is scheduled to hold in August 2017 in Lagos.
NIWA in the past years has been faced with several developmental challenges; from reduced revenue allocation from the central government to indiscriminate usurping of its duties by some other agencies and state governments leading to unregulated activities within and around the corridors of Nigerian waterways.
Lack of funds has made the agency unable to embark aggressively on the dredging of the rivers for safer navigation and increase transportation usage. While uncontrolled development within the corridors of Nigerian waters has continued to have negative impacts on channel blockage and has increased water pollution.
Statistics provided by the General Manager, Public Affairs at NIWA, Mr. Tayo Fadile show that Nigeria has four river ports development projects, which have not met their expected objectives. For instance Baro, a port that is already developed is not linked to any access road therefore hindering easy evacuation of the cargoes received into hinterland.
Explaining more, Mustapha added that NIWA will have greater powers to regulate inland water navigation, set standards and enforce compliance for improving waterway safety and also open more opportunity for profitable investment in inland water transportation.
NIWA boss further assured to introduce a new NIWA that will deliver to the Federal Government a maximum yields on operations within the nations rivers and inland waters for; transportation, logistics, agriculture and tourism.
Business Hilights recalls that NIWA had continued to prevail on the federal government to complete the concession process of Onitsha River Port so that the country can gain from the construction of the port which cost about N4bn more than five years ago.
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