NIWA thrilled over arrival of commercial barge in Onitsha
Managing Director of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), George Moghalu, has expressed delight over the arrival of commercial barge in Onitsha, Anambra State.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja yesterday, he said the ports would be decongested when the country’s inland waterways become operational.
Moghalu, a governorship hopeful in Anambra State on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), restated NIWA’s commitment to the movement of cargoes and passengers through the country’s waterways.
He said effective use of the waterways would tackle infrastructure decay in the country, adding: “Presently, I am doing everything I can in NIWA. For example, in 42 years, the Onitsha Port was designed and built, but the first commercial barge arrived under my administration.”
Speaking further, he said: “And we are doing everything we can to ensure that our river ports under construction are completed and become functional, because I believe that the only way we can address ports congestion and infrastructure decay is to make our waterways functional.
“Globally, bulk cargoes are either moved by water or rail. Our roads are not designed to carry the kind of pressure they carry. If the waterways are functional, over 60 to 70 per cent of the containers arriving Lagos and Onne ports today have their final destinations either in Onitsha or Aba.
“So if we can take the ones going to Onitsha and move them by water, if we take 50,000 containers out of the roads and move them by water, we would have removed 100,000 trailers from the roads.”
Listing his achievement since he assumed management of NIWA last year, he said the authority under his watch had built new jetties and in some places bought crafts, placed orders for dredgers, improved sensitisation process, as well as addressed navigational challenges and accidents on the nation’s waterways.
“We are going to deploy accident ambulances to our various area offices and we have improved the morale of our staffs. As we speak, there has been salary review, we have done a lot of training, some training are ongoing and the beautiful thing about our training programmes is that they are not limited to management staff,” he added.