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Hydrographic studies and charts are crucial for efficient water transportation — Mu’azu Sambo

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Mu’azu Sambo, the minister of transportation, has stated that an integrated and functioning multimodal transportation system, whose main pillar was relied upon accurate and timely hydrographic studies and charts, are crucial for a well-developed and efficient inland water transportation system.

The navigational chart project, he added, had the potential to alter the very dynamics of the nation’s development. He was speaking at the launch of the lower River Niger navigational charts on Thursday in Abuja.

In order to support President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration’s efforts to create and run an effective and secure transportation network, Sambo said the initiative was in line with the legislative obligations and goals of the Ministry of Transportation.

The project’s goal is to establish direct marine connections between African nations and within Nigeria in order to take advantage of the continent’s expanding GDP, attract foreign direct investment, generate much-needed employment, and increase intra- and inter-African trade.

He said: “The United States economy today is supported by revenues worth over 70 billion dollars from 600 million tonnes of cargo transported through its inland waterways.

“It created hundreds of thousands of jobs, building industrial communities along the waterway channels and thus spreading economic prosperity throughout the length and breadth of these waterways.

“The United States of America’s waterways and multimodal transportation network provide a competitive edge in global markets.

“No wonder its corn and soybean farmers are the most efficient in the world”.

Mr Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, said there was a need to get back the mode of transportation on the inland waterways to re-engineer or recreate the trading activities that used to exist along the river Niger and Benue and save the lifespan of roads.

He said the successful execution of the project locally had saved the country huge foreign exchange, adding that all the charts in the past were done by foreign firms.

“But today we can beat our chest and say that our Nigerian Navy has provided the platform that is necessary for the chart.

“What this charting has done is that it has created an infrastructure or a process that eventual exercises of capital dredging or maintenance dredging will be guided.

“It is important that we realize that whichever government takes over from President Mohammed Buhari, it must continue the trajectory of creating an intermodal transport system for this country.

“About a month or two ago, the Federal Executive Council approved a contract worth N1.9 trillion through the tax credit scheme for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of our roads.

“That is important but as long as you do not provide an alternative means of transportation that will carry heavy-duty goods, you would not be able to save the lifespan of your roads. “

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