From Emma Elekwa, Onitsha
National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has assured importers and exporters of conducive business environment as part of government’s efforts in the development of water transportation.
Its Managing Director, Chief George Moghalu stated this in Onitsha at a stakeholders’ meeting on the viability of Onitsha River Port, reassuring them of government’s determination to make the country’s waterways navigable to facilitate marine transportation across the country.
He said the government had embarked on revival of waterways to make them navigable.
“In view of the growing transportation needs, particularly moving bulk commodities, containerised produce into the hinterland, our country needs to focus on the development and harness the benefits of inland waterways.“
Presently, Onitsha River Port is nearing congestion, as you can see. This is indication of the volume of cargo expected to be hauled on inland waters. The port is currently undergoing continuous improvements, the route from Onne seaport to Onitsha River Port is also undergoing similar improvements,” Moghalu said.
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Earlier, Area Manager of NIWA, Onitsha, Queen Uba said government had developed Onitsha River Port to provide alternative means of carrying cargo into the hinterland.
She urged stakeholders, including captains of industries and the business community to patronise the port to make the dream a reality.
President, Onitsha Chamber of Commence, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Chris Ukachukwu was optimistic that the commencement of the full activities at the Onitsha River Port would boost economic activities, especially trade and commerce as well as create employment for the youths in the area.
He was elated that exporters, importers and manufacturers have shown high preference for the port.
Representative of the business community in Onitsha, Chief Godwin Okeke commended President Muhammudu Buhari for ensuring Onitsha River Port was operational, as well as construction of the second Niger bridge, Akanu Ibiam International airport among other projects in the South-East.