FG Plans In­te­grated In­ter­modal Trans­port Sys­tem

THISDAY - - BUSINESS WORLD - Chinedu Eze

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment has said that to max­imise the na­tion’s wa­ter­ways, it is con­sid­er­ing in­te­grated in­ter­modal trans­port sys­tem, whereby there would be a mix of road, rail and water trans­port sys­tem.

To this end, the Nige­ria In­land Wa­ter­ways Au­thor­ity (NIWA) is de­vel­op­ing the rivers, es­tu­ar­ies, creeks and others for safe and se­cure trans­port sys­tem and in­te­grate it with rail and road so as to re­duce the bur­den on the roads and also to pro­vide alternative means of trans­port for the peo­ple who live in river­ine ar­eas.

This was dis­closed by the Min­is­ter of Trans­port, Chibuike Amaechi, who said that the ma­jor chal­lenge is to pro­vide se­cu­rity at the wa­ter­ways. He noted that NIWA has gone a long way in de­vel­op­ing the wa­ter­ways from the in­land wa­ters, con­nect­ing them to River Niger and River Benue down to the Delta and Lagos ar­eas.

Ac­cord­ing to him, be­yond dredg­ing the River Niger and others, it is very im­por­tant to se­cure the wa­ter­ways so that peo­ple can move through the medium and busi­ness men and women could use the wa­ter­ways as means of mov­ing their goods with­out mo­lesta­tion.

Amaechi there­fore chal­lenged the pri­vate sec­tor to take ad­van­tage of the huge and un­tapped po­ten­tial in the mar­itime sec­tor and in­vest in the in­dus­try.

The Min­is­ter made this known recently at the 2nd In­ter­na­tional Con­fer­ence and Ex­hi­bi­tion (ICE) 2017 held at the Ori­etal Ho­tel in Lagos.

Ameachi de­scribed the theme of the con­fer­ence, ‘ Im­prov­ing Nav­i­ga­bil­ity and In­land Port Devel­op­ment for Sus­tain­able In­vest­ment on Nige­rian Wa­ter­ways’ as apt and very top­i­cal for the self suf­fi­ciency of NIWA, adding that de­lib­er­a­tions on the topic at the con­fer­ence would help to solve some of the chal­lenges fac­ing marine busi­ness.

He stated that the con­fer­ence would pro­vide op­por­tu­nity for Pub­lic Pri­vate Part­ner­ship (PPP), adding the huge po­ten­tial in the Nige­rian In­land Wa­ters had not been har­nessed, call­ing on pri­vate in­vestors to take ad­van­tage and in­vest in the busi­ness.

Amaechi pointed out that al­ready the Se­nate had passed NIWA Amend­ment Bill that would pro­vide a turn­ing point for the ad­min­is­tra­tion of in­land wa­ter­ways in the coun­try.

He also said that the bill when as­sented to, by the ex­ec­u­tive, would fur­ther help to shore up the rev­enue pro­file of the agency.

Also speak­ing at the fo­rum, the Chair­man, Se­nate Com­mit­tee on Marine Trans­port, Sen­a­tor Ahmed Ogembe, said that the con­fer­ence re­ceived the sup­port of the Na­tional Assem­bly be­cause of the com­mit­ment and se­ri­ous­ness of NIWA to be self-sus­tain­ing.

He added that ef­forts of the Red Cham­ber to sup­port in­land wa­ter­ways trans­port sys­tem can­not be over em­pha­sised, adding that NIWA is presently in good shape and called on in­vestors to tap into the po­ten­tial in the in­land wa­ter­ways and in­vest in them.

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