Hope rises for South-East and South-South importers and exporters, just as Federal Government expects increase in revenue, as National Inland Waterways Authority, NIWA, vow to make Onitsha River Port functional.
NIWA also promised that it will do everything possible under the law to recover its properties and investments in wrong hands and channel them to revenue generation ventures for the Federal Government.
This was disclosed by the Managing Director of NIWA, Chief George Moghalu, during his visit to NIWA Area Office, Onitsha, Anambra State, as part of his nationwide tour of the investments and facilities of the federal government agency.
Chief Moghalu who also paid a courtesy call on the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe, expressed displeasure that years since 2013 the Onitsha River Port was commissioned, it is yet to be made functional, thereby making importation, exportations activities, and revenue generation for government impossible.
“If Onitsha River Port is made functional, importers and exporters particularly from the South East and South-South geo-political zone, and the federal government will benefit through attendant economic and commercial activities and revenue generation for Nigerian government.”
“There is no gainsaying the fact that crime rate will also be drastically reduced due to availability of job opportunities that will come with it.
“The waterways transportation holds the potentials to reduce the pressure on Nigeria roads and infrastructure, it will reduce waste of man hour and the load in the Ports that are currently by Nigerians, particularly, Apapa Port, it is going to be a win-win situation for the people and the country.
“There is need for a critical national asset like Onitsha River Port to function optimally, apart from the fact that it must generate revenue, the project has economic impact on the immediate environment and national economy to make.
“I have seen a lot of developments on our right of ways, most of them are neither documented nor in our records and that is not good for our economy, they are revenues that are wasted, so we will do everything within the law to recover all NIWA investments and put them in proper use, so that revenues can be generated from them
“I want to warn those who are illegally occupying NIWA property that whoever builds on sand should also be aware that there is no how it will stand, certainly you will run into problems if you build on sand.
“If you are on NIWA property and your records are straight, your books are clean and you are doing the right things, I do not think you have anything to bother about, what am saying is you must document any property of NIWA you are occupying and pay the right fees.”