The Federal Government may have finally concluded arrangements to complete, commission and concession three river ports in the country which construction is either completed or on-going to private firms. The concession plan, according to the Minister, is to ensure that the necessary investment is made to drive the ports’ operation.
The river ports are those in Onitsha, Anambra State, Oguta in Imo State, Baro, Niger State and Lokoja in Kogi State.
The Minister of Transport, Senator Idris Umar gave this indication at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, during the just concluded 13th edition of the National Council of Transport (NCT).
“I would like to highlight that the process for the concessioning of the Onitsha River Port which was commissioned by Mr. President in 2012 is in progress. Upon the completion of the Baro River Port in Niger State, Oguta River Port in Imo State and Lokoja River Port in Kogi State next year, they will all be concessioned out to private operators”, he concluded.
He had told participants of the highest advisory body on all transport matters in Nigeria that the ministry would also ensure that things worked better this time around.
Umar disclosed that the project would be complimented by enviable maintenance dredging of the Lower River Niger channel as an ongoing initiative that would suffice, after the completion of capital dredging.
“I am happy to report that the processes for the award of contract for the dredging of the Lower River Benue and construction of Makurdi Port will be concluded before the end of the year”, he said.
The minister noted that part of the effort of the Federal Government to develop a robust National Dredging Programme, was on to ensure an effective collaboration between the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), the Nigerian Army Corps of Engineers and the private sector respectively.
“The national dredging programme is also expected to address the challenges of flooding”, he stated, even as he revealed that his ministry was equally focusing on building human capacity/development by empowering government agencies such as Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Institute of Transport and Technology (NITT), Zaria and Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron for policy formulation and administration”, he further stated.
The senator highlighted that the NCT, a body saddled with the nation’s responsibility on all transport matters, would continue to explore options before it, including the resolutions of the meeting, in a bid to chart a vibrant way forward.
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