The Speaker, House of Representatives, Rep. Yakubu Dogara, has urged the Federal Government to complete the dredging of Nigeria’s inland waterways to unlock the country’s mining and agricultural potential.
A statement issued by Dogara’s Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Turaki Hassan, said that the speaker made the call in Lagos on Friday.
Dogara said this when he declare open a two-day retreat “The Maritime Sector and the Nigerian Economy”, organised by the House Committee on Ports, Harbours and Waterways and the Federal Ministry of Transportation.
According to him, the transport sector is key to the diversification and growth of the Nigeria’s economy.
Dogara commended the efforts of the Federal Government in the rehabilitation and revitalisation of the rail infrastructure as disclosed by oversight reports.
“The scheduled train operation between Abuja and Kaduna is particularly gladdening,” he added.
The Speaker opined that the Nigerian Ports and the Maritime industry have the potential to sustain the economy of the country and that the present administration was doing a lot to reposition the sector.
According to him, more efforts should be made in unlocking the huge and untapped potential in our coastal and inland waterways.
“The Nigerian Inland Waterways have potential of providing 28 out of our 36 states and the FCT with cheap, secure and affordable means of moving bulk cargo and personnel from one end of the country to another.
“Operationalizing and maximising the inland waterways transportation and associated trades is inevitable if our mining and agricultural sectors are to reach the heights we all desire as alternative revenue sources for the nation.
“The multi modal dream we all share for our transport industry requires that our waterways, airways and our beleaguered roads must develop at the same pace and complement our rail network,” Dogara said.
The speaker promised that the parliament would expedite action on all important Transport Sector Reform Bills pending before the National Assembly.
“This include the Port and Harbour, Nigerian Railways Corporation Act amendment, the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarders, Act Amendment and the National Transport Commission.