• Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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NIWA reserve N6.6bn to boost waterways, says 70% not navigable

NIWA promises to protect investments on waterfront with approvals

The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has proposed N6.6 billion as capital projects to make waterways safe and accessible.

The Managing Director of NIWA, George Moghalu, who stated this when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Marine Transportation on Tuesday in Abuja, said Lagos would also witness massive dredging of water hyacinth and debris in 2021.

According to him, 65 percent dredging of water hyacinth was carried out in Lagos in 2019 while much more would be done in 2021.

Besides, he said over 70 percent of the waterways in Nigeria could not be navigated.

He added that over N2 billion project was being carried out in Lagos through Public-Private Partnership (PPP).

Moghalu told the Governor Danjuma Goje-led committee to provide legislation that would aid the mandates of the agency.

He said, “In line with the economic recovery growth plan of President Muhammadu Buhari, the authority reiterates its determination, now more than ever, to upscale the development of Inland Water Transportation in Nigeria.

“I, therefore, seize this opportunity to appeal to the Senate to use your good offices to ensure and facilitate a conducive financial and legal environment that would provide the boost needed for NIWA to achieve its full potential.”

Moghalu lamented that the budget performance of the agency in 2020 was very poor owing to delay in capital releases occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He told the panel that the focus of the N6.6bn capital budget was the completion of ongoing projects with over N737 million earmarked for personnel.

*I, therefore, seize this opportunity to appeal to the committee to ensure and facilitate a conducive financial and legal environment that will provide the boost needed for NIWA to achieve its full potentials,” he said.

Answering questions from journalists, Moghalu said the federal government was incapacitated to so more on the waterways because of a shortage of funds.

He said, “Only 3,000 km of the 10,000 km waterways in 28 states is navigatable. Left for me I will make all of them navigatable so that it can reduce pressure on our roads.

“Bulk cargoes are moved by rail or water, this is why our roads don’t last. We are committed to ensuring our waterways are safe.”