The Federal Government has said it will prioritize the development of inland waterways to move cargo by barges.
The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo gave the assurance during an interview session with Journalists at the 2022 Ministerial Retreat in Uyo, Awka Ibom State.
“We want to make sure that Inland waterways transportation is developed in such a way that movement of containers and other cargoes by barges from Lagos through the intra-coastal routes to hinterlands will become the new normal,” Sambo said
According to the Minister, to make that possible, it will involve clearing the waterways and fortunately, the Ministry has found a company that is ready to do that sometime in November, this year.
“We have a dream in the Ministry to move containers from Marina in Lagos to Onitsha in Abambra State and even to Baru in Niger State. That will entail channalization and channel management of the routes from Lagos through the intra-coastal routes to land rivers up to Onitsha along the river Niger up to Bro,” the Minister informed.
On the issue of the Costal Railway line that should run from Lagos to Calabar, the Minister said what is stalling it is funds as the China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC), Contractor handling the project is unable to provide the 85% of its counterpart funding while Nigeria is to provide 15%.
He, however gave the assurance that the Ministry has identified an investor that is willing to provide the funds and the Ministry is in talks on how to share the works between the investor and CCECC the initial contractor.
On the importance of the Coastal line, Sambo notes: “The Coastal line is a very important line because it connects all the port cities of Nigeria. If you connect all the port cities by rail, you will then be able to open up the Eastern Ports as well so that goods that come from the ports will naturally go upland”.
Answering a question on how to deliver the National Development Plan 2021-2025 as regards transportation, the Minister said: “The plan that we have under the 25 years Railway Modernization Plan is to connect every State capital by rail”.