Abuja, Nigeria — The Federal Government has announced that hopefully and very soon too, commercial vessels will start berthing at the Onitsha River Port in Anambra State.
Breaking the news while speaking with State House correspondence, after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja, the Managing Director, National Inland Waterways Authority, NIWA, Chief George Moghalu, said movement of cargo from Lagos to Onitsha will soon commence when all concessions are completed.
President Muhammadu Buhari receives briefing from Managing Director/CEO Nigeria Inland Waterways Authority, Dr George Moghalu at the State House, Abuja.
He said that discussions were ongoing for the concession 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.
According to him, “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.
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“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.”
Asked when big ships are expected to berth on Onitsha the 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.”