• Takes delivery of seven ferries before year-end
The Lagos government yesterday wooed the private sector and investors with the latent opportunities in the state’s water transport system.
During a breakfast meeting organised by the Nigerian-Belgian Chamber of Commerce/Nigerian-Belgian Commercial Information and Documentation Centre in Lagos, the Commissioner for Transportation, Ladi Lawanson, reiterated that the state had in place the multimodal transport master plan that connects road, rail and water transportation.
According to him, the waterways as an emerging sub-sector and a component of the state’s multimodal transport policy, is an avenue to ease human and cargo pressure on the road in addition to good returns on investments when fully harnessed.
Assuring the citizenry that the rail project is on course, Lawanson noted that it would reduce stress-related illnesses and create new jobs for the residents.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr. Olufemi Salami, the commissioner identified five avenues for new investments namely water body cleaning; wreck removal; dredging; construction of jetties, and ferry operations.
To the Director, Corporate Services, Ikorodu Ferry Terminal, Amina Agboola, the pilot study at the facility had shown the prospects and challenges of water transport in Lagos.
She said the residential axis of almost one million population has about 60 per cent of ferries in operation, with only 140,000 travelling by the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) scheme.
Besides, Agboola stressed the issues of pricing, safety and location of the terminal, regretting that the facility was still under-utilised.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Lagos Ferry Service Company (LAG-FERRY), Paul Kalejaiye, noted that the state government had been unrelenting in developing the waterways since 2008, adding that a new set of seven ferries, costing over a billion naira, was due for arrival before the end of the year.
Managing Director of Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, disclosed that no fewer than two million people ply the waterways monthly, noting that the target was to ferry between five and 10 million passengers next year.
President, Nigerian-Belgium Chamber of Commerce (NBCC), Dr. Timi Austen-Peters, harped on safety and security.