Thursday, 30 October 2014

FG Approves N25.9 Billion Contract for Dredging of River Benue

THE Federal Government has approved N25.9 billion contract for the dredging of River Benue.

Awarded to Messrs Oyins Oil and Gas Limited, the contract is designed to enhance critical parts and construction of River training walls along the channels of River Benue and has a completion period of 36 months and a required depth of 2.5 metres and width of 100meters.

The development is coming one week after participants at the 2014 National Council on Transport (NCP) meeting held in Enugu State urged the Federal Ministry of Transport to develop a national minimum standard framework on safety and security in the nation's inland waterways "for the safe transportation of persons, goods, equipment, navigation and navigational aids and related matters".

Information obtained by The Guardian yesterday revealed that the dredging of River Benue is expected to complement operations of River Niger and boost water transportation along the axis.

According to the Federal Government, River Benue has a lot of economic value and "has been used in the past for transshipment of fertilizer from Onne in River State to Garua in Cameroon and also for the transportation of bulk Agriculture produce like Yams, Cassava, and Beans among others along major towns such as Umaisha, Loko, Bagana, Makurdi and Lokoja".

The National Council on Transport meeting with theme: "Providing Safe and Secure Transportation: Building Stakeholders Confidence' was declared opened by Enugu State Commissioner for Local Government, Okey Ani on behalf of State Governor, Sullivan Chime.

The meeting was presided over by the Minister of Transport, Idris Umar and had in attendance the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transport, Commissioners of Transport, Permanent Secretaries and Chief Executive Officer of Ministries Department and Agencies (MDAs) in the transport sector and other stakeholders.

A communiqué issued at the end of the meeting urged Federal Ministry of Transport (FMT) to expedite action on the National Transport Policy (NTP) and facilitate the passage of the Ports & Harbour Bill to guide the development of the sector.

NCT also urged FMT to ensure that Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and NIWA's Search and Rescue (SAR) Centres are fully functional to enhance safety and security in the nation's waterways.

The communiqué directed all relevant agencies in collaboration with other stakeholders to embark on extensive and sustained nationwide safety- awareness campaigns to stem the incessant occurrences of boat mishaps in the nation's waterways.

According to the participants, there is need for Federal, States and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to adequately fund infrastructure, dredging, Safety & Security of water transportation.

It was unanimously resolve that the Federal Government in collaboration with the States should ensure that dredging of the nation's inland waterways in all States is accelerated and sustained to effectively develop inland waterways as an important mode of transportation.

Part of the resolutions read: "Council directed relevant Agencies to ensure effective enforcement of existing Laws on pollution to abate and stem environmental pollution in the nation's waterways.

"Council urged Federal Ministry of Transport to ensure that NIMASA, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and NIWA in collaboration with the States and other Stakeholders' to regularly remove wrecks and derelicts in the nation's waterways.

"Council advised the Federal Ministry of Transport to ensure that NIMASA, the authorized receiver of wrecks establishes facilities for breaking, recycling and processing of wrecks for wealth creation and employment generation.

"Council urged States, FCT and other Stakeholders to provide an enabling environment for rapid and sustained development of inland water transportation in the Country.

"Council urged Federal, States and FCT to provide the necessary infrastructure for effective integration of water transportation and other modes of transportation to enhance seamless movement of persons and goods.

"Council urged all levels of Government in collaboration with the infrastructure bank and other relevant financial institution to provide funding (loans, grants, among others) to service providers in the water transport sub-sector for the development, modernisation and expansion of their fleet and other facilities in order to promote water transportation as an important mode so as to reduce pressure on the nation's roads.

"Council urged the Ondo State Government to collaborate with the Federal Government and expedite action on the take-off of the Alape River Port in Ilaje Local Government in view of its potential transportation and empowerment generation in that State.

"Council urged all levels of government and other Stakeholders to continue to fund and subsidize mass transit operations.

"Council directed all States to ensure that all vehicles used for commercial purposes, including those owned by Corporate Organizations, companies, and Small Enterprises are so registered as commercial vehicles and a total enumeration of such vehicles is carried out periodically to enhance safety and security.

"Council approved a Stakeholders' committee headed by the Federal Ministry of Transport with membership drawn from the States including FCT, Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, and other relevant stakeholders to standardize the following:

The classification of Drivers' License;

regulation of driving schools;

Structuring of pre-License theory and practical Tests for Learners;

Issuance of Permits to Driving Schools alone;

Structuring of Training; and

Pre-License Tests of Riders of Motorcycles and Tricycies as it obtains for Motor Drivers among others.

"Council directed all States including FCT, Local Governments and relevant transport regulatory agencies to ensure that motor parks, jetties, ports, railway stations, terminal operators and service providers, install, maintain and effectively utilize CCTV and other security gadgets for sustained and effective security surveillance.

"Council urged States and FCT to develop 'End of Life Vehicles Management Policy and Regulations".

"Council urged States that are yet to participate in the Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP) to partner with Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to take advantage of the programme.- Seeks adequate security along waterways

"States are encouraged to equip the Vehicle Inspection Office (VIO) for effective and efficient performance.

"States should discourage the use of commercial motor cycles as a means of public transportation.

"States and Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) are enjoined to collaborate to properly regulate public transport around and within the vicinity of the Airport for the purpose of safety and security.

"State Governments are strongly advised to establish Ministry of transport to enhance their transport management system.

"Federal Government is advised to collaborate and liaise with States on projects and programmes located in the States.

"States and FCT should establish a public transport system that ensure strict regulation of the operation of public passenger transportation system through a well-articulated management system for enhanced safety, security and effective and efficient service delivery.

"Council urged States to develop Master Plans for the deployment of Intelligent Transport System (ITS), facilitate the development and management of their transport operations in line with emerging trends and global best practices.

"Council urged all Stakeholders to take full advantage of existing training facilities in the transport sector for regular training and sustained capacity building to enhance performance and delivery.

"Council urged Federal Ministry of Transport to ensure that the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) effectively implements its mandate to among other stem the tide of illegal collection and touting in line with its mandate

"Council advised States and FCT to implement the National Policy on Vehicular Emission Control Programme (NVECP)

"Council urged Ministry of Petroleum Resources to collaborate with States in ensuring that Local Governments are integrated into the framework for surveillance of pipelines passing through their domains or corridor as the areas with Programmable Logic Control (PLC) to effectively monitor all pipeline corridors, among others.

"Council directed States and Local Governments to adopt and sustain the implementation of the National Counter Terrorism Strategy (NACTES), developed by the Office of the National Security Adviser, to effectively reduce and curtail violent extremism, insecurity and unsafe transportation nationwide".

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