The Lagos State Government is seeking both Public and Private collaboration to foster growth and investment in the waterways transportation thereby reducing traffic congestion in the state.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu made this disclosure during the Lagos Waterways Investment Summit organised by the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) in Lagos recently.
The summit was the maiden edition put together by Future Cities Nigeria (FCN) and LASWA on behalf of the state government with the theme, ‘Lagos State Transportation: Transformation and Investment Opportunities’.
Sanwo-Olu said that areas of investment required by the private sector included the provision of water transportation (passengers, car and cargo), construction of infrastructure and management, technical partnership and consultancy, financing and provision of logistics.
He noted the state with 1,171 square kilometres of Nigeria’s land mass, 40 per cent was water, with lagoons and creeks covering 22 percent, adding that this was why his administration cannot ignore waterways transportation.
Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by Mr. Ope George, the Special Adviser, Office of Public-Private Partnership, said successful partnership with the private sector in waterways would bring positive change in the socio-economic status of the inhabitants of the state.
“Please, permit me to mention that on our waterways lies great potential for private sector investment. That the Lagos State Ferry Service (LAGFERRY) ferried members of our national soccer team, the Super Eagles, to Porto Novo on March 26, 2021 bears a bold testimony to this vast potential.
“It was an opportunity for our compatriots and those interested in investing in our waterways to see the huge opportunities of the sector. The players saw the alluring beauty of our country and countryside as well as the majesty of Nature – such a seductive spectacle that only the waterways could have exhibited,” he said.
On her side, the Special Adviser on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Investments to Sanwo-Olu, Mrs Solape Hammond, said the state promised to identify and promote genuine and specific foreign direct investment on waterways in the state.
“The state would always serve as a ‘business ombudsman’ that helped investors and the local business community navigate government bureaucracy.
“We assure our potential investors that your investments are safe – Fitch international just improved our rating from AA+ to AAA long term for fiscal redpins,” she said.
However, the General Manager, LASWA, Mr. Damilola Emmanuel, highlighting the achievement of the state government in the waterways, said it had access to 15 of the 20 local governments in the waterways.
He said: “The investment opportunities will therefore complement the efforts of the present government to combat traffic congestion on the Lagos road. It will also reduce the amount of time it takes for citizens to commute especially during the peak period.
Meanwhile, the Managing Director, National Inland Waterways Authority, Mr. Goerge Moghalu, urged the state government to collaborate with the federal government on waterways development in the state.
Moghalu said the partnership was in the area of safety, sensitisation campaigns for boat operators and security of waterways users.
He said the state government should also partner with the NIWA in the area that would not lead to multiple taxes on the part of boat operators.