By Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Dr. George Muoghalu, has called for more investment in Waterways Sector to boost the country’s economy.
Muoghalu made the call on Friday when the Chairman of Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Federal Capital Territory (FCT) chapter, Hajia Mariam Sanusi, led a delegation to his office.
He stressed that when he came on board, he realized that NIWA was under-reported and most Nigerians didn’t even know the agency was under Ministry of Transportation, adding that he set out on that trajectory to ensure that the narrative was changed.
Muoghalu said that his wish for the waterways was to make water transportation become the best means of transportation by the time he leaves office.
He stated: “If for example, 200,000 or 1 million containers are going to the South-east, the simple implication is that the same number of trailers will be on our road. If it is 1,000 containers, 1,000 trailers will be on our road, if it is 1 million containers, 1 million trailers will be on our road. There is no way our road can be designed to carry such weight, bulk cargoes are moved by water or by rail.
“Fortunately for us as a country, we have over 10,000 kilometers of waterways that transversed through 28 states. It is only that at the moment, we have just o er 3,000 kilometers that is all year round navigable.
“But ordinarily, we can reach 28 out of 36 states by water in this country. Which means if we make more solid investment in the waterways sector, it is going to impact positively on our national and economic life.”
He assured that NIWA would partner NIPR organisation, adding that he believed in training and capacity building of his staff in order to justify the investment government is making on them.
The NIWA boss also appealed to Nigerians to spread the message of unity in this country.
According to him, “I want to use this opportunity to appeal to us as Nigerians using the platform of NIPR to bring the message of unity in this country, to market it, because if we are not United we can’t achieve our desired objective. Government is doing its best, what we need to do is to encourage them. I don’t quarrel with criticism, but let it be constructive. If you think I’m not doing this right, what do I do, how do I do it to achieve the same objective, if your intentions are honest, if not just to bring me down.”
Earlier, Sanusi noted that there was need for collaboration between NIWA and NIPR in areas that were mutually beneficial.
“If you partner with us, you can send us your staff for training and they will come out as the best,” she added.