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Barely one week after the leadership of the South East Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (SECCIMA) cried out after a meeting in Anambra over the official delays in just naming a concessionaire for the long refurbished Onitsha River Port, the Federal Government has again, assured that in no distant time it will be functional.
Recall that similar assurances were handed down to South East Business Leaders during the 2015 presidential campaign by President Muhammadu Buhari, during the stakeholders’ meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo during the 2019 presidential campaign and during the visit of Minister of Minister of Transportation within the period under review, but nothing has come out of all the promises.
The official delays in activating the largest Africa’s River Port after those on River Nile in Egypt, has forced many importers in the region to buy-in to the fake news that Buhari administration is suppressing the region’s economy because he did get enough votes from the region in both presidential elections.
However, speaking during the 2nd Sensitization Seminar of Stakeholders by National Inland Waterway Authority (NIWA) within South East Zone, themed, “Reforming the Maritime Sector in Onitsha Priority Areas, Potential Projects and the Way Forward, the Managing Director, Dr. George Moghalu assured again, that the present administration will in few months conclude the concessioning process for the effective take-off of the Onitsha River Port.
The event held at C.J. Patterson Hall, All Saints Cathedral Onitsha, Anambra State, saw the presence of business leaders, shippers and importers and exporters who had been losing fortunes on highways while using distant Lagos ports to do business.
Business Hilights recalls that Onitsha River Port was built in 1983, renovated and commissioned in 2012, by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
However, it has not become operational even though all relevant equipment and structure have been provided at the Site but for naming of a concessionaire for the past eight years. Continuing, NIWA boss noted that “The Federal government was committed to pursuing the expansion of the nation’s river ports system through the development of other river ports to be driven by the private sector, including development of Baro River Ports and Lokoja River Ports.
“Nigeria’s coastline of about 853km offers opportunity for high economic activities for cargo and passenger transport as well as fishing activities.
“Government is equally committed to assisting genuine investors to access the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund in order to boost investment in shipping building and repairs. “Investments in agriculture, mining, solid mineral and manufacturing would bring about the required economic self-reliance,” Dr Moghalu added.
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