The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Chibuike Ameachi flagged off the of the maintenance dredging of the River Niger from Ajaokuta to Onitsha and commended the Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) Boss Gida Mustapha for looking inwards.
Mr. Amaechi while while flagging off the maintenance dredging at Julius Berger Jetty in Ajaokuta on Friday 28 April 2017 said NIWA was making progress by maintaining the channel in-house, thereby saving the country some billions of Naira.
“This is the best form of administration you can get being ingenious because we don’t have money to pay any contractor. I asked if they have the capacity to do the dredging, why then did we have to commit over N40 billion and we pay N34 billion. Imagine if we mobilize N10 billion for NIWA to do it with its staff, that would save the country N24 billion.
“That amount can build the road from Abaji to Lokoja. That has to do with the management of resources so I must commend the Managing Director of NIWA for his initiative” he said.
Amaechi promised to ensure that NIWA was fully empowered to continue to carry the regular maintenance dredging with bigger and more standard dredgers if he remained the minister.
He said the River Niger was extremely important in terms of economic activities in the North, adding that it was the major river that links the North to the South which will ensure life is brought back in terms of navigation.
He stressed that he hoped to see the full Concession of the Onitsha River Port before the end of the year, completion of the Lokoja River port and supply of cargo handling equipment at Baro River Port.
“These I believe will complement activities at the Lokoja River Port and crest multiple benefits with attendant multiplier effects on the economy, particularly in promoting multi-modal transport and cheaper coastal services across 28 States of the federation.
“With this, National Inland Waterways Authority is now poised to improve the navigability of the waterways, increase the value of water fronts and generate economic activities along the River banks as well as the riverine communities” he said.
He promised that the National Inland Waterways Authority would make their efforts and other Waterway users seamless as possible by further deepening the channels and ensuring that the Ajaokuta-Onitsha route was navigable all the year round.