Efficient Waterways Transport: LASG engages Consultant, seeks stakeholders’ input

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Determined to enthrone effective and efficient waterways transport so as to encourage maximum patronage of the sector by the residents of the state, the Lagos State Government has engaged the services of Data Home Research and Communications Limited.

The Consulting firm is to provide a focused discussion on water transport in Lagos on behalf of the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) as well as turn in report that will engineer action from the state government to put in place proper system in the water transport since the incumbent governor, Akinwumi Ambode wants to promote the usage of the water transport in the state.

Recall that Lagos State is battling with road traffic congestion and so, the governor wants open up traffic situation in Lagos through water transport.

Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting with members of the Association of Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transport of Nigeria (ATBOWATN) held recently in Lagos, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Data Home Research and Communication Limited, Mr. Richard Emmanuel said that the meeting was two-legged, first with the boat operators while the second would be with the passengers adding that at the end of the meetings,” we will now aggregate their views, put them in a comprehensive report, submit it to the state government that will now motivate it to act on the water transport.

Emmanuel however described as untrue, insinuations from the boat operators that government was seeking information from them in order to enable it establish and run its own ferry services and thereafter run them out business, even as he said that government wants to work with them as well.

“There is no way government can just bring in someone who doesn’t know anything about the business to come and run it. Government at least to the best of our knowledge has no intention of doing so. What government wants to do is to see areas of intervention that will require it to act, so that it can encourage the usage of the water transport and by working with these people, the system will be better because government can’t do it alone and it can’t just without having the knowledge of how the place is now, government can’t just begin to put things in place, it is not possible. But government wants to work with them, it is not discarding them, he will get ideas from them and then work with them to make the place better”, he said.

The Data Home boss who expressed satisfaction on the turn out of the participants at the meeting and on the outcome of the engagement however hinted that the second leg will start immediately after which the report of the two engagements would be ready in two or three weeks.

On whether the firm’s assignment goes beyond fact finding and reporting to implementation, he retorted,” Except government wants us to take it further to implementation, our job is to research into the problem using the views of the stakeholders, once we prepare the report, we analyze the data, this one and the second one we are conducting, once we do it, we submit our report, our job ends there. But if government wants us to implement some of the recommendations on its behalf, if it asks us to do so, we will do so”.

Issues like fear of job loss on the part of the boat operators, water hyacinth, navigational signs and lighting, floating fuel dump, new jetties, rescue operations, life jackets, security on waterways among others dominated the discuss even as the operators praised the Lagos state government for interventions made so far on waterways adding that there was more work to be done.

They however warned that the outcome of the meeting should not be swept under the carpet like others before it begging the government to carry them along at the implementation stage so as to avoid mistakes of the past.

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