NASS, NIWA move to boost water transportation

In a move to transform Nigeria’s water transportation system, the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and the National Assembly, have joined forces to chart a new course for ferry transportation.

Vanguard reports that the move aims to boost efficiency, accessibility, and safety in the country’s waterways, promoting a shift toward greener transportation options and alleviate the burden on dilapidated roads.

The move was known made when the Managing Director of NIWA, George Moghalu, hosted members of the House of Representatives on a fact-finding visit, on Monday, in Abuja.

Speaking on the development, Dr. Moghalu, highlighted the importance of water transportation and its potential to ease traffic congestion and reduce carbon emissions, emphasizing that investing in ferry transportation would not only benefit commuters but also contribute to achieving Nigeria’s sustainable development goals.

He said water transportation if properly harnessed, can help Nigerians access about 28 states of the 36 states in Nigeria.

“If all our channels are open, you can access 28 of our 36 states by water. When I came into office, I made it a point that there is every need for us to open up our waterways so that we can move people and cargo by water. Our road infrastructure is not designed to carry the weight they are carrying.”

“If for example, you take the statistics you will know that 60 percent of the containers that arrived in this country, either in Lagos or in Port Harcourt ends in the Southeast, and what that means is that if for example, we have 2 million or 3 million containers coming and going to the Southeast, what that translates to is that 6 million trailers will be on the road: 3 million carrying their container and 3 million carrying empty and our roads are not designed to carry such weight.

“And the earlier we remove this burden on our roads and move them into the water, we save our road infrastructure and save resources that could be used for something else. So, the idea, the initiative, the effort of the National Assembly, to lay a strong emphasis because for the National Assembly to have created an ad hoc committee to look at this issue goes to show the importance you attach to it. There is a need to develop that sector.”

Earlier, the Chairman of the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee Investigating Failures of Federal Mass Transit Schemes, Hon. Afam Victor Ogene, among other things, said the need to develop waterways transportation was informed by the need to reduce the current economic hard realities occasioned by the removal of the fuel subsidy.

“Any responsive and responsible government knows that when you tamper with the price of a major commodity like petrol or petroleum products generally, in a country such as ours, you will have to find a way of ameliorating the sufferings of the working people of the country and the residents of the country and so the government in its wisdom, began early enough to tinker with palliatives to bring about easing the pains.”

Source: Vanguard

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