Art and Culture

Private Sector Moves to Partner NIWA to Complete Lokoja River Port

todayJuly 5, 2022

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Ibrahim Oyewale in Lokoja

The private sector in Kogi State and the management of the Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) are mulling a partnership arrangement between them that would lead to the completion of the Jamata River Port in Lokoja, the state capital.

The call for the completion of the River Port that was first awarded in 2012 by the federal government through a private partnership arrangement was made yesterday when the Organized Private Sector, made up of Shippers Council of Nigeria, Shippers Association, Manufacturing Association of Nigeria, Nigeria Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI), Kogi State Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, and a high-powered management staff of Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority visited the port for a facility tour.

The General Manager, Marine Services of NIWA, Mr. Joseph Ororo, and the General Manager, Ports and Environmental Services, Agbalu Fidelis, were among other top management staff of NIWA at the facility tour.

While the private sector lauded the efforts of the government thus far, it decried the slow pace of work on the port, pointing out that if the port is operational, it would help reduce cost of doing business.

The private sector said the location of Lokoja and the River Port cannot be overemphasised, lamenting that travel time, loss of many hours, and dilapidated nature of the state of Nigerian roads have made it very important to complete the Lokoja port.

The stakeholders identified adequate budgetary funding as factor that has slowed down the pace of work since it was first awarded in 2005 and later in 2012.

While pointing out that following the 2012 flooding that was witnessed in the state, which led to a call for a variation of the contract, the sector lamented that it took many years until 2021 when it got an approval for variation from the earlier N4.1billion to N6.4billion.

The private sector team led by Okolue A. Ify, director, North Central Zone of the Shippers Council, and Edwin Ignatius, director-general, Nigeria Shippers Council, Kogi State chapter, led the passionate appeal to the federal government to ensure the completion of the Jamata Inland River Port located in Lokoja, pointing out that the economic benefits which are enormous for the country remains unquantifiable.

The various representatives of the private sectors pointed out that following the benefits that would accrue the country when completed, and called the government to seek a private sector partnership arrangement that would see to the completion of the port.

Speaking on behalf of the NIWA team, Ororo, general manager, Marine Services of NIWA and Fidelis, GM, Ports and Environmental Services, disclosed that the Jamata Inland River Port is at 59 percent completion, expressing optimism the main quay structure would be ready by the end of the year.

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