The Managing Director of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Senator Olorunibe Mamora, has promised to do his best to maximise Nigeria’s inland waterways potential to support economic growth in the country.
Mamora, who made this known in a statement, said the authority would attempt to bridge the infrastructure gap and provide an alternative mode of transportation for evacuation of economic goods and persons on the nation’s Inland Waterways.
On the authority’s partnership with SEALINK Limited, he said the project, would establish a maritime shipping line which would provide cabotage, passenger services and goods haulage among the countries of the Joint Development Zone (JDZ).
He added that the project was aimed at reducing the cost of moving cargoes among the countries of the JDZ and increasing maritime and trade activities among them.
According to him, “The project, when completed will reduce the cost of moving cargo and increase maritime and trade activities by ensuring payment of duty only on goods delivered to the ports of final destination, improve frequency of maritime services as well as improve private sector initiative through the provision of efficient sea transport services by giving competitive edge to exporters and importers.
“Others are to reduce transportation costs, eliminate the need for cargo trans-shipment and Increase trade volume and improve efficiency in transportation in the Sub-region and boost economic growth and development for Nigeria.”
Mamora said the authority would collaborate with the organisations to harness the untapped waterways resources that would add to the nation’s GDP in no small measure.
He said: “NIWA’s endorsement of this MoU is an eloquent testimony of the viability of the Inland waterway transportation network in Nigeria. This marks another major step in the journey to reverse the dependence of our economy on oil and to open up the vast untapped opportunities that the inland waterways can offer.
“The realisation of inland waterways transportation will not only ensure safer roads but ensure the huge sums spent on road maintenance is diverted to other areas of needs in the economy.’’
According to him, the collaboration was a novel public-private partnership framework that is primarily designed to attract private sector investments under government agencies facilitation support at no cost to government.
Chairperson, Sealink Implementation Committee, Mrs Dabney Shallholma, in the statement commended the management of NIWA in its effort toward the Sealink project.
Shallholma said the Sealink Project were quite exemplary and typical of the roles of Export Credit Agencies all over the world.