The Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority, NIWA, has announced that it will reduce tariff across the country’s inland waterways as parts of its contribution towards the recovery of the economy badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The Managing director/Chief Executive Officer, of NIWA, Dr George Moghalu disclosed this in Lokoja during an interactive session with members of the Kogi state council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ.

This is just as the agency has approved the review of the Lokoja River ports contract from N4B to N6B.

Dr Moghalu said, “Apart from putting measures in place to improve patronage of the country’s waterways, the reduction in tariff will serve as our own contribution to efforts of the Federal and state governments in revamping the economy, suffering as a result of the rampaging COVID-19.

“We are considering a reduction on tariffs payable on our waterways to encourage patronage and serve as our own contribution towards efforts to improve the economy after the COVID-19.

“The country’s waterways is grossly underutilised as only three thousand out of the ten thousand waterways in the country are being put to use.”

Dr Moghalu stated that NIWA will continue to strive towards putting all waterways to use to reduce pressure on Nigeria roads and airports, “We want the rivers transportation to be the number one transportation system on the movement of cargoes and passengers post COVID era.

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“The damage done to our roads through the movement of large cargoes is alarming. If those cargoes are moved through the water, it will make the roads last longer.

“We want to put more ferries on our waterways, open up the channel, and trade. NIWA will play a key role in ensuring the effect of the pandemic on national lives is reduced to the barest minimum.”

On the Lokoja port located at Jamata, Moghalu said the contract has been reviewed from N4,112,346,572.26 to N6,405,698,402.62 with the same contractor to handled; promised that the agency will complete the port as scheduled.