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Bigger Cargoes to berth at Onitsha port soon – FG

Posted on April 24, 2023

The Federal Government has assured that big cargoes will soon berth at the concessioned Onitsha River Port in Anambra State

The Managing Director, National Inland Waterways Authority, (NIWA), George Moghalu made the disclosure while speaking with State House Correspondence, after a private meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja.

He explained that discussions were ongoing for the concessioning of Baro Port and as well as the Oguta and Lokoja ports that are still under construction in order to reduce pressure from the government.

Moghalu, “For Onitsha river port, we have successfully concessioned and handed over to Universal Elysium, it is a company that is partnering with Port of Antwerp for the next 30 years.

“Now, because of limited resources and to reduce pressure on government, we opened up discussion with other interested organizations, unsolicited proposals have come for the concessioning of Baro, for the concessioning of Oguta and Lokoja though still under construction.

“So, we are discussing with them. The advantage here is that it will reduce pressure from government, these people own this port, complete the port, put the port to use and pay royalty to government. So, it has a lot of advantage. And we’re working conscientiously on that.

“Before I came to office, Oguta River Port was not on the budget for quite a while, but we eventually brought it back to the budget.

“As we speak, we have finished fencing of the Oguta river port. And we’re doing little by little, depending on resources available to put in place some basic infrastructure that is required for a port to operate.

“Same is applicable to Lokoja. So we’re taking it from two perspectives. Completing the building by government and concession or concession it so that the new concessionaire can complete the ports and put it to effective use.”

On when big ships are expected to berth on Onitsha port, he said, “Very soon. What I did before the concession was that I was able to do a test run, move cargo between Onne and Onitsha and now we are concluding movement of cargo from Lagos to Onitsha and that will be a clincher as far as I’m concerned.”

Asked how much resources have been set aside for dredging this year, the NIWA boss said: “All the resources, all the money available for NIWA this year is not all dedicated to dredging or to opening up of channels. There are other issues that take up resources; human capital development, development of infrastructure, building new jetties, building new ramps across the country and then getting vessel also and putting them to effective use.

“So what we’re doing is as much as we have, we try to prioritize, but the important thing is that the key aspect of it is the human, the Nigerian, what affects them more, of what gives us opportunity for more benefit.

“So we look at that primarily, the Nigerian is the key here. So we addressed that primarily and the interest of the average Nigerian comes before every other interest, as far as it has to do with our own planning and our operations.”


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