The High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Nigeria, Masudur Rahman, has said Nigeria can build a multi-billion naira economy from its inland waters with huge employment opportunities if the industry is well structured.
He made the assertion during a courtesy call on the Management of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) in Abuja.
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He said Bangladesh had been able to leverage its inland water resources to deepen its growth, grow its GDP and create employment opportunities for its citizens, adding that Nigeria could leverage that as well.
He noted that his country was willing to cooperate with Nigeria on developing the inland waterways, building ships, deepen agriculture, textile and information technology.
“Bangladesh builds ships and it leverages its waterways for about 50 per cent of connectivity and haulage on waterways,” he said.
He further said Nigeria could utilise its rivers as a huge source of fish and the banks for vegetable farming.
Responding, the Managing Director/CEO of NIWA, Mr George Moghalu, said the agency appreciated the enormity of the contribution the maritime sector could make in the development of an economy such as Nigeria’s.
“We also believe very strongly that if we develop our waterways, there will be an economic advantage, and it will impact heavily on the GDP of our country,” he noted.
He said by water, one could reach 28 states in Nigeria out of the 36 states.
“We have over 10,000 kilometres of waterways. Yes! But only over 3,500 kilometres are all year round navigable. But there’s potential to open up the other sites, the remaining 5,600 or 5,800 thereabout can still be opened for navigation,” he said.