Frontline boat operator on the Lagos waterways, Texas Connections, has lamented poor state of jetties on the state waterways even as it accuses the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) of collecting monthly dues from operators without doing anything to justify the collection.
The Managing Director of Texas Connection, Mrs. Modupe Lawale said this recently in a chat with Shipping Position Daily during a stakeholder’s interactive session organized by the Lagos Area Manager of NIWA, Engineer Sarat Braimah at Lekki.
“I also have complaints to NIWA issues like maintenance of jetties which they are not doing yet they are collecting monthly fees from us and we pay jetty fees because we are using their jetties but they don’t maintain anything we still come back to maintain from this little money we made we still give it back to NIWA and state government in Ikorodu”
She also decried the high rate of water hyacinth on the Lagos waterways, adding that the agency in collaboration with the federal and state government should do something to arrest the situation as it posses’ danger to the lives of passengers.
Lawale also fingered finance as a major challenge facing operators in the sector even as she beckoned on the traditional rulers to join forces with the agency to address the issue.
“One of the problems we face here in this sector is finance. Secondly why can’t the government whether the federal or state come together and arrest this monster called water hyacinth. It is a threat to safety of lives, the Captains are risking the lives of people driving into water hyacinth to embark or disembark passengers”
“The Kabiyesis you are aware, maybe your kingdoms are far from the jetties. You have to come with us to tell the government, NIWA and the state government that they should do something to remove water hyacinth permanently from the waters especially between September till December. They know how to do it and when somehow NIWA federal government especially know what to do they should do it and save lives”
“I am saying this so that you know what we are going through when you see our boats ion the waters please remember the owners that they are just doing these things freely for all of us whether you want to accept it or not. We know the owners so please think about us and help to; when NIWA hears Kabiesi’s voice they will change likewise LASWA. Please let them maintain their jetties”
The Texas MD, also decried multiple taxation among government agencies both state and federal operating on the waterways.
She said the situation has made many operators not able to afford new and modern boats to do the business.
“Lastly I want to talk about double taxation that is killing this business, from NIWA, LASWA, because we ply the boats on waters so we must pay LASWA, NIWA and for usages from what. So I think we should come together to resolve these issues this is also apart from FIRS and LIRS coming to disturb you”
“There are so many taxes please help us so that we can improve. Some of our members are suing canoe converted boats they are not happy for using such things, NIWA and LASWA have been threatening to remove them from waterways, they said they don’t want canoe like water taxis. But what can they do to get good boats, they want to also buy decent boats but they can’t afford it because of all these multiple taxations that government being represented are putting” she concluded.