The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and the Republic of Bangladesh have agreed to collaborate to enhance activities on the waterways of both countries.
The agreement was reached when the High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Nigeria, Masudur Rahman visited the Managing Director of NIWA, Dr. George Moghalu in Abuja.
Rahman said Bangladesh has about 800 rivers with 52 international rivers from India, China, Nepal with a huge mass of delta areas, adding that one of the things the country had done was to devise means of turning its challenges due to excess water into opportunities. The Trumpet Gathered
According to him, both countries have similarities and could engage in versatile areas of cooperation from food security, agriculture, digital technologies, textile and health, among others.
“I have seen that there are more rivers in the southern part of Nigeria and they can be a huge source of marine resources that can give huge resources and create job opportunities, if the waterways can be better organised.
“The rivers can also act as sources of connectivity between Nigeria and different regions that have huge opportunities to generate revenue and employment. In Africa, I think no country is as close to Nigeria in terms of its popularity and acquaintance with Bangladesh.
“And so, there is huge potential and the High Commission will give all possible cooperation in terms of collaborations needed in dredging, river training and creating river-bed economic fishing practices,” he said.
Rahman further pointed out that Bangladesh has the capacity and capability, which could be win-win collaboration between both countries, adding: “We need to work on the synergies, get ourselves moving and I
look forward to ideas for us to collaborate and promote our bilateral relations.”
Responding, Moghalu restated that the maritime sector possessedenormous potential that could contribute greatly to the development of the country’s economy and should, therefore, not be ignored.
His words: “If the waterways can be properly developed, it will trigger growth in the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Through the waterways, one can reach 28 of the 36 states of the country.
“We have over 10,000 kilometers of waterways, but presently only about 3,500 kilometers are navigable all year round, but the remaining 5,600 or 5,800 can still be opened for navigation.”
Moghalu noted that the authority would be glad to also collaborate in the areas of dredging and boat building as it would help develop capacity.
“I believe that we need to open up our waterways so that we can decongest the pressure on our road infrastructure. This is because all over the world, major cargoes and bulk cargoes are always moved by water
or by rail, because the roads are not designed to carry such weight.
“Therefore, anything that can be done to ensure that such cargoes are removed from the roads and conveyed through water or rail to get the pressure off the roads and ensure effective use of the waterways system,” he added.
Click on The Trumpet and follow us on our Twitter page for more