The National Assembly Joint Committee on Marine Transport has urged the Federal Government to pay adequate attention to developing the National Inland Waterways (NIWA).
The Co-Chairman of the joint committee and Chairman House of Representatives Committee, Ports Harbour and Water Ways, Rep. Asadu Patrick made the call when the Minister of Transport, Mr Rotimi Amaechi presented 2019 Maritime budget on Monday.
He said it was disheartening that only two per cent of the sector’s budget was given to NIWA in spite of its potential to compete with revenue generating agency like NPA.
He said: “the transport sector is a key sector in the economy. What troubles me I the neglect of the water transport industry on the budgeting process.
”I have been advocating that there should he a needs assessment in Nigeria before budgets are drawn.
“Year in year out we come here and hear the large budget and we appreciate what you are doing with railways but we also believe we God has blessed us with a natural ways and l we needed to do was enhance it especially in terms of moving cargo.
“No government can do it all. I plead that we do something about Nigeria Inland waterways.
“I know what is happening in Central Europe and America about the mode of transport not being totally land based.
“A budget where 95 per cent is to railway and the rest is split to the maritime sector probably because the suspicion is that Nigeria Ports Authority may be self funding but that is not true of NIWA and others.
“Until we are able to move our cargoes off the road, we are going to have all those big trucks spoil our roads.”
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