The Managing Director, National Inland Waterway Authority, NIWA, Dr. George Mohgalu, has said that the operations of the Onitsha River Port will commence in due course. This is because the concessioning process for the effective take-off is about to be concluded.
He said this in Onitsha, during the 2nd Sensitization Seminar of Stakeholders by NIWA within South East Zone, themed, “Reforming the Maritime Sector in Onitsha Priority Areas, Potential Projects and the Way Forward, held at C.J. Patterson Hall, All Saints Cathedral Onitsha, Anambra State.
Dr. Moghalu stated that the present administration will in few months conclude the concessioning process for the effective take-off of the Onitsha River Port, adding that the Federal Government is equally committed to assisting genuine investors to access the Cabotage Vessel Financing Funds in order to boost investment in shipbuilding and repair.
He also said that NIWA has signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, for the provision of modern life jackets to ensure the hazards in maritime transportation is reduced to the barest minimum.
“The Federal government is 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 the development of the Baro River Port and Lokoja River Port .
“Government’s interest in ensuring the safety and security of the nation’s waterways, informed the repositioning of NIWA to partner with the Nigerian Navy and other relevant security agencies in addressing security challenges especially in the Gulf of Guinea.”
Describing water transportation as the most environmentally friendly and most cost-effective mode of transportation, Dr Moghalu, called on shipping practitioners and other relevant stakeholders to invest more in water transportation, assuring them the enabling environment to boost coastal trade.
“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.”
The NIWA boss however regretted the spate of abuse of the waterways, including erecting structures along waterways, vowing to put an end to such abuses.
“We will be constituting a task force later in the day that will be saddled with the responsibility of pulling down illegal structures along the waterways.
“People should stop creating opportunity for us to destroy their property. The law is very clear on the consequences of abuse of waterways.”