BusinessDay

Lagos seeks PPP to grow investment in water transport

The Lagos State government has called for an increased public-private partnership (PPP) to grow investment in water transportation and reduce traffic congestion in the state.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who made the call during the Lagos Waterways Investment Summit organised by the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) in Lagos recently, said the state needs investment in the provision of passenger and cargo boats, construction of infrastructure and management, technical partnership and consultancy, financing and provision of logistics.

Speaking on the theme, ‘Lagos State transportation: Transformation and investment opportunities,’ he said the state has 1,171 square kilometres of Nigeria’s landmass, which 40 percent is water while lagoons and creeks cover 22 percent.

Represented by Ope George, the special adviser, PPP Office, Sanwo-Olu said successful partnership with the private sector in waterways would bring positive change in the socio-economic status of the inhabitants of the state.

The governor noted that the state government had made some interventions in the waterways, which would create an enabling environment for the private sector.

“Lagos is the most populous and the engine-room of Nigeria’s business and commercial activities. It houses many giants in the financial and industrial sectors. This is the time for those interested in investing in our waters to see the huge opportunities in the sector,” Sanwo-Olu said.

Solape Hammond, the special adviser on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Investments to Sanwo-Olu, said the state promised to identify and promote genuine foreign direct investment on waterways.

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According to Hammond, Lagos would also act as a one-stop shop for intending investors, thereby promoting private, civil, and development partnerships.

“Lagos derived its age-long excellence in significant measure from the worthy contribution of the private investors. This has helped it to be the single largest market in the world. We assure our potential investors that their investments are safe – Fitch international just improved our rating from AA+ to AAA long term for fiscal red pins,” she said.

Damilola Emmanuel, the general manager, LASWA, highlighted the achievements of the state government in the waterways, which include building access to 15 of the 20 local governments through the water.

Emmanuel noted that this was to ensure that water transportation worked efficiently in the state.

He said the purpose of the investment opportunities in the waterways was to provide an alternative public transportation service that was accessible, affordable, and would help to curb traffic congestion in the state.

“It will also reduce the amount of time it takes for people to commute especially during the peak period. This will also assist in poverty alleviation through increased economic activities from the provision of safe, cheap, and reliable transportation,” he added.

George Moghalu, the managing director of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), urged the state government to collaborate with the federal government on waterways development in the state.

Moghalu listed the possible areas of partnership to include a safety campaign for boat operators, security of water transport users, and putting an end to the payment of multiple taxations by operators.