The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, has said that Nigeria’s inland waterways system is grossly underfunded.
Mamora who stated this in an address during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among the agency, Nigeria Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) and Sealink Consortium recently submitted that the development had robbed the nation the benefits of the potentials offered unlike a number of developed nations that had utilised their inland waterways as the mainstay of their industrialisation and economic prowess.
He noted that for too long, the Nigerian economy had been dependent on oil and its derivatives, adding that the nation’s agricultural produce had been mostly landlocked whilst the vast mineral resources had remained untapped until lately when attention was being paid to solid minerals.
He recalled that efforts had been made in the past to dredge Nigeria’s inland waterways but was quick to add that such efforts had not been far reaching enough as other necessary infrastructure that would open up the vast inland waterways had been neglected.
“The event of today marks another major step in the journey to reverse the dependence of our economy on oil and to open up vast untapped opportunities that the inland waterways can offer. The realization of the inland waterways transportation will not only ensure safer roads, but will ensure that the huge sums of money spent on road maintenance can be diverted to other areas of needs including health, education and job creation.
“NIWA’s endorsement of this Memorandum of Understanding with NEXIM Bank and Sealink Consortium is an eloquent testimony of the viability of the inland waterway transportation network in Nigeria. We will work with these two great partners to ensure that the full potentials of our economy is realised by harnessing the untapped resources that will add to our GDP in no small measure”, he said.