By Joshua Yousouph
The Governing Board of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has called for improved welfare and efficiency in the operation of its Lagos Area office. This is even as it lauded the giant revenue strides recorded by the area office.
Addressing journalists during a working visit and inspection of the NIWA Lagos office facilities on Tuesday, Chairman of the NIWA Governing Board, Senator Binta Masi-Garba said the Lagos Area Office is becoming too small for its operations, adding that is due for a change in facilities and amenities.
She lauded the giant strides recorded by the Lagos Area Office, noting that it has been able to improve on its Internal Generated Revenue (IGR) over the years
She however stated that there is need for encouragement for the workers at the Area Office and that efforts will be geared towards improving facilities in Lagos.
While calling on the agency to step up its game as regards exploring the potentials of multimodal transportation and effective policing of the waterways, the Board Chairman thanked the Managing Director of NIWA; Dr George Moghalu for putting down some structures to enhance the status of the agency and making the staff happier than they used to be. According to her, this will improve their level of productivity for the benefit of the agency.
In her words: “There is need for change in the NIWA Lagos Office. If an Area Office brings in more funds, the onus lies on the agency to ensure that such Area Office’s needs are taken care of. In our meeting with the workers, they told us many challenges that they will like us to help them fix. Even the office that we sat in is becoming too small for them. If we want to continue to get the best from these workers, we need to attend to their needs.
“The joy that I have is that NIWA is now autonomous. They can now raise revenue to take care of themselves and also give a fraction into the Federal Government coffers. I want to thank the NIWA MD for putting some structure down that is enhancing the status of NIWA and making the staff happier than they used to be and that will make them do more for the agency.
“Whatever they need should be prioritized and the MD will look into them. From N600 million revenue, they have exceeded the N1billion mark in Lagos. We are now trying to see whether we can go into the N2billion range. Definitely, they should be encouraged.” Masi-Garba said.
On his part, the NIWA Managing Director, Dr. George Moghalu noted that the agency will grow stronger after its departure from the Federal Government Integrated Payroll and Personal Information System (IPPIS).
Moghalu noted that leaving the IPPIS’s challenge is an avenue for the agency to work harder and make more money. He stressed that the marine environment has many potentials that the agency needs to key into in order to expand that aspect of the economy.
The NIWA MD also informed that there are several Public Private Partnership with other agencies and companies to provide improved jetties and boats for more efficiency on the waterways. He also stated that adequate trainings and sensitization is currently going on to prevent future ugly incidents such as flooding and mishaps on the waterways.
“Our leaving the IPPIS is a basis to work harder and make more money. This is because we are now going to pay ourselves. If we want to starve, then we will starve. If we want to get our salaries, then we’ll work harder to get our salaries. I think we have taken a strong position and before we took the position, we have agreed among ourselves; management and staff that this is the time to move forward.
“We in NIWA believes very strongly that the marine has many potentials that we need to key into to be able to expand that aspects of our economy. We are doing everything we can to be able to achieve that. We realized that the resources available to do that will not be able to meet up. We have opened contacts with agencies and companies that are interested in working with us” Moghalu said.
Speaking earlier in her welcome speech, the Lagos Area Manager of NIWA, Engineer Sarat Braimah decried the current infrastructure of the Area Office noting that they are due for a remodel.
Engr. Braimah stressed that the Area Office needs more operational jetties, patrol vehicles and boats for effective policing of the waterways amongst others. She also commended the governing board for approving an increment in salaries of the workers.
“The Lagos Office of NIWA is due for a remodel. Our generator is over 20 years old and due for a change. We also need more security to man our jetties and more operational vehicles, because naturally, people don’t want to pay tax. You have to chase them around to ensure they pay. So, we need more operational vehicles and boats to do this.
“We also need a slip-way. We currently don’t have any in Lagos, and that’s why most of our marine boats are not getting adequate repairs. The slip-way we are currently using is owned by a client, but we need our own slip-way.
“We also need to establish our presence in Ikorodu, Epe, Badagry and Agbara. We currently don’t have jetties in these places. We only have in Marina, Tin-Can, Apapa and Maroko. That is all that we have. We need more jetties in areas where we currently lack presence” Braimah pleaded
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