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Stakeholders Seek Conducive Business Environment On Waterways by oluyinkapeter: 6:51am On Mar 14, 2020
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Some maritime and tourism experts on Friday in Lagos held a stakeholders’ forum on enhancing a more conducive business environment on Nigerian waterways.

The stakeholders meeting was attended by tourists boat operators, maritime experts and officials of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA).

Tarzan Balogun, President, Association of Tourists Boat Operators and Water Transporters of Nigeria (ATBOWATON), said that the association had suffered business setbacks due to multiple taxation and changes in government policies.

He urged NIWA to wade in to guide against discouraging and driving investors out of business prematurely.

“As a boat operator conveying over 1000 people on waterways daily, I am quite discouraged because of the issue of multiple taxation which we have been suffering from for years now.

“I used to have so many boats but left with few now, this is as a result of the effect of multiple taxation and changes in government policies, we want this to be looked into,” he said.

Balogun urged NIWA to encourage the use of locally made boats and make sure they were also certified for use like the imported ones.

He said this was the only solution to encourage local production of boats which could also be exported for revenue generation.

Mrs Margret Orakwusi, a maritime lawyer, decried a situation whereby the potential in inland waterways remained highly untapped, urging NIWA to create an attractive atmosphere within the waterways to attract more investors.

She urged NIWA to create partnership with the private sector in order to effect some safety measures on the waterways.

She said there should be some rescue missions and ambulances which would attend to emergency cases because life remained precious and should be treated as such.

Prof. Adebayo Otitoju, a member of ATBOWATON, urged NIWA to create avenues for boat operators to access loans for boat acquisition.

He said most people who loved to embrace a business on waterways were financially constrained to do so.

“People find it difficult to acquire boats for this business, we as association want NIWA to create avenue whereby we can access funds to improve on our businesses on the waterways,” he said.

Mr Kunle Folarin, Chairman, Nigeria Port Consultative Forum, appealed to NIWA to improve safety on waterways and work on the shortage of manpower.

He commended NIWA for the stakeholders meeting which he said should be held often.

In his response, Dr George Moghalu, Managing Director, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), said that safety on the waterways had been of great concern to NIWA and other security operatives.

He said there were ongoing discussings with relevant security operatives on ways to beef up security on the waterways.

“The Inspector General of Police has really tried and had promised to increase our manpower and provide some other security gadgets.

“We have just signed a memorandum of understanding with an American company to supply life jackets to all jetties across the federation, this is to improve safety measures,” he said.

Moghalu said that the operation of a driver who had not been certified had been criminalised and vessels not certified would no longer be allowed to operate.

He said that consultations would be made to see how funds could be made available to stakeholders to further invest in different forms of waterways business.

He called for the complete list of dredgers and their status in order to standardise the process of dredging in Lagos.
Re: Stakeholders Seek Conducive Business Environment On Waterways by Lawgod247: 7:48am On Mar 14, 2020

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