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FG to commence River Benue dredging next year

Aiyetoro market,Epe: Governor Ambode must hear

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Anna Okon

The Acting Managing Director, National Inland Waterways Authority, Danladi Ibrahim, has said the dredging of the River Benue will commence fully next year.

He stated this on Monday at a press conference in Lagos.

According to him, the dredging of the River Benue will boost commercial activities around the two river ports of Onitsha and Baro, which will come on stream before the end of this year.

Ibrahim also said that NIWA would complete the ongoing construction of the Lokoja and Oguta River ports later this year.

He added that the agency was collaborating with countries in Europe and China on waterways development.

He said the Lokoja Port was already 75 per cent completed, while the Oguta Port in Imo State was 70 per cent completed.

Ibrahim stated, “We are looking at the Lokoja and Oguta ports to be completed in 2018. We have also completed one of our major ports in Baro.

“The two ports will be completed before the end of the year. As soon as the budget implementation starts, we will swing into action.”

Ibrahim, who also stated that the agency was going to buy equipment in batches to start moving cargoes from Lagos ports to Onitsha and Baro, noted that when the Onitsha, Lokoja and Baro River ports commence operation, they would create over 2,000 jobs.

He added that the maintenance dredging from Ajaokuta to Onitsha would be done as soon as allocation in the 2018 budget was released.

The NIWA acting MD said the agency had embarked on direct maintenance dredging of its channels, and that of Baro to Idah in Kogi State was recently completed.

“We are getting additional dredgers to enhance our capacity for in-house maintenance dredging of the channels,” he stated, adding that since the Onitsha Port had been given to a private operator as a concession, it would soon start operation.

…begins Federal Secretariat renovation through PPP

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita

The Federal Government on Monday started the process of renovating abandoned and dilapidated structures located within the Federal Secretariat Complex in Abuja, through a Public-Private Partnership arrangement.

The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Winnifred Oyo-Ita, inaugurated the process with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the government and a private firm, Alpha Mead Group.

The agreement covers the ground floor, Block A and parking lots of the Federal Secretariat Complex, Phase II.

Oyo-Ita said the decision was taken based on her conviction that if given a conducive working environment, workers would be encouraged to put in their best.

She regretted that over the years, some of the facilities at the secretariat had deteriorated, thereby making the complex no longer conducive for workers and visitors.

She said once the pilot scheme was successful, the arrangement would be extended to other government offices nationwide.

Oyo-Ita stated, “Over the years, it has been observed that facilities in most of these buildings have deteriorated due to lack of maintenance, while others have become obsolete. The state of the buildings is no longer conducive to workers and visitors and does nothing to project the government in a positive light.

“With the establishment of the PPP units in the MDAs in November 2012, the government had set the tone for collaboration between the public and private sectors on developmental programmes aimed at ensuring regular and proper maintenance of structures and facilities, while providing the much-needed funds through Internally Generated Revenue.

“It is hoped that on completion, this project will serve as a model for all federal secretariats nationwide and restore the good image and dignity of government buildings.”

Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Special Duties Office, Leon Aliboh, said the decision to put to optimal use all hitherto under-utilised, abandoned and dilapidating government assets nationwide was in line with the Head of Civil Service of the Federation’s Public Service Reforms Plan 2017-2020.

Aliboh explained that to fully accomplish the initiative in the face of paucity of funds, the office held consultations with the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission with a view to sourcing for funds from the government, which might not be forthcoming as expected.

He added that the modified design of the areas to be affected by the agreement had been subjected to scrutiny by professionals from the Federal Capital Territory Development Control Department.

He also expressed the conviction that the success of the pilot initiative would make it to be extended to other dilapidating government assets nationwide.

Representatives of the firm said the idea behind the agreement was to deliver quality work environment that could compete favourably with any work environment across the world.

They noted that the initiative would involve the provision of functional and modern fire system, integrated access control management system, visitor management system, car park management system, best-in-class work spaces, overall transformation of public assets as well as restoration of national pride.

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