By Godwin Oritse

The management of the National Inland Waterways Authority, NIWA, has expressed concern over the use of obsolete vessels on the nation’s inland water transportation, attributing prevalent incidences of boat mishaps to this situation.

Senator Olorunimbe Mamora

Speaking when he received members of the Association of Marine Engineers, AME, led by its President, Engr. Adeyinka Okunola, on a courtesy visit at the NIWA area office in Lagos on Monday,  Managing Director of the NIWA, Engr. Olorunibe Mamora said the agency would partner members of AME to ensure that vessels plying the nation’s inland waterways are up to standard.

According to Mamora, ‘‘some of these vessels are outdated and should have relevance in the museum.’’

He stated: “They ought not to be on the waterways. We need that partnership in terms of ensuring that the right vessels ply our waterways and the ones that should not be there are taking off. The competence of operators themselves is also important before they can ply the waterways.”

Mamora also decried the dilapidated state of jetties across the country stating that the agency is working towards constructing modern jetties as part of efforts to boost water transportation.

The jetties, he said, would be constructed on a Public-Private-Partnership, PPP, initiative due to the limited resources of the Federal Government.

He stated further: “Some of our jetties are not in good shape and they constitute a danger to all and sundry. We even need to break some down completely and put up a fresh one. We have them all over the place but we may not be able to fix these jetties on our own and that is why we are going with Private partnership option. We want investors to come in and where they need to construct new ones, let them go ahead and do that.

‘‘We need to allow people who have the resources come and invest and built the jetties.  The government has the responsibility to provide the right environment for businesses to thrive.’’ Earlier in his address, Okunola lamented the dearth of competent marine engineers and surveyors in the nation’s maritime sector, a deficiency he noted is also affecting NIWA.

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He pointed out that the lack of professional input in the implementation and execution of maritime policies and initiatives is one of the major contributors to the decline of the industry.

He expressed the association’s readiness to work with NIWA to ensure vessels operating on the nation’s inland waterways are of standard and also ensure the competence of the operators of the vessels.

He said, “We are conscious of your effort to revamp the fortunes of NIWA to fulfil its statutory purposes and we want to let you know of our readiness to support your effort. We are able to help in the development of the human technical capacity of your organization, including mentoring. We can work with you to ensure that standards of vessels operating on the waters and the competence of the operators.

“We are able to work with you too as you strive to make full use of our vast maritime resources in transportation, job creation, economic diversification and the exploitation and water transportation of the national solid minerals to provide the necessary alternative to crude oil.”

The AME president said he is confident that NIWA, under the current administration, will regain its rightful position to become one of the parastatals positively driving the economy.

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