CHALLENGES OF THE INLAND WATERWAYS
- Like most areas of our national life, challenges in doing inland water transport business are daunting. Besides the lack of infrastructures which literally is like a cracked record, the regulatory authorities have not lived up to their calling. Institutions like Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and National Inland Waterways Authorities (NIWA) which among other activities are to survey remove and receiving wrecks, dredge the waterways, design ferry routes, install navigational aids along the waterways, reclaim land within the right-of-way, provide hydrographic and hydrological survey, provide jetties and ports have not been forthcoming, thus making marine operations difficult.
Nigerian Maritime Administrative and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has not been successful in some of its regulatory activities, thus foreign vessels are still having field days in our inland waters, despite the Cabotage Act, while safety and insecurity have continued to pose serious challenges in the rivers. Provision of extra security has catapulted cost of providing marine services in the Niger Delta. However, with the alarming rate of insecurity in most parts of the country, a lot need to be done to achieve seamless transportation in our lonely waterways.
- Multiple taxation from all organs of government has been the order of the day.
- Funds for providing marine equipment remain a big challenge. Banks are rarely forthcoming and the Cabotage Fund is yet to make any impact in the industry while a percentage of all industry contracts remain ceded to the Fund thus raising serious concern.
In all of these, the need for government to partner with the private sector to develop the industry is obvious, while they concentrate in providing good governance, good infrastructures, security, stable policies and a general business friendly environment.