By Steve Agbota
The Governing Board of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) on Tuesday, lamented that the agency’s Lagos Area Office is becoming too small for it’s operations, assuring that efforts will be geared towards improving facilities at the disposal of the Area Office in Lagos. Addressing newsmen after an on-the-spot inspection of NIWA Lagos Office facilities, Chairman of the NIWA Governing Board, Senator Binta Masi-Garba, said that the Lagos Office of the agency is due for a change in facilities and amenities.
According to Senator Binta Masi-Garba of course, there is need for change in the NIWA Lagos Office.
“As the Area Manager told us about the IGR that they have been able to generate over the years into the Federal Government coffers, then there is need for comfort for the workers at the Lagos Office of NIWA,” she said.
She added that If an Area brings in more funds, the onus lies on the agency to ensure that such Area’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 this workers, we need to attend to their needs.
“They raised issues like more operational vehicles, patrol boats, provision of Skip-Way for vessel repair, generator amongst other things. 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, they should prioritized their needs and the MD will look into them. From N600million 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,” she added.
Also speaking during the tour, the NIWA MD, Dr. George Moghalu explained that the agency will grow stronger after it’s departure from the Federal Government Integrated Payroll and Personal Information System (IPPIS).
In the words of the NIWA MD, “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 amongst 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 realised 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.”
In her welcome speech to the Board, the Lagos Area Manager of NIWA, Engineer Sarat Braimah said that despite being located in the centre of business in Lagos, the Area Office is due for a remodel.
“The Lagos Office of NIWA is due for a remodel. Also, our generator is over 20yeats old and due for a change. We also need more security to man our jetties.
“We also need 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 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 this places. We only have in Marina, Tin-Can, Apapa and Mariko. That is all that we have. We need more jetties in areas where we currently lack presence,” Engineer Sarat Braimah lamented