The Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), George Moghalu, says the economy can be boosted if the over 8,530 free coastal lines are developed for the movement of goods and services.
Moghalu, who stated this in Abuja when a House of Representatives committee visited the agency’s Abuja office on an oversight function, also assured the lawmakers that the Authority was making practical efforts to tackle the challenges of waterways accidents across the country.
He said, “The effort and plans of the National Assembly to lay strong emphasis on the need to develop the waterways sector is a commendable one. The potential in the blue economy, if properly harnessed, will be so massive that we won’t be talking about oil again.
“There is a lot of movement on our waterways. We have over 8,530 kilometres of free coastal lines in the country and if developed, it will be beneficial and impact positively on the economy.
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“We are doing everything to ensure that we prevent water transportation accidents including following due process to ensure proper regulation. We are very unhappy over road mishaps, but a good percentage of the accidents on our waterways were consequences of human error, especially overloading and bad weather,” he said.
Earlier, the committee chairman, Afam Victor Ogene, had expressed concerns that the agency was underutilised in the face of the transportation difficulties Nigerians are going through due to the removal of fuel subsidy.