The Lagos State Government is seeking Public and Private collaboration in water transportation to foster growth and investment in the sector to impact traffic congestion in the state.
Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu the Lagos state governor disclosed this during the maiden edition of Lagos Waterways Investment Summit organised by the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) in collaboration with Future Cities Nigeria (FCN) in Lagos on Thursday.
The theme of the event was “Lagos State Transportation: Transformation and Investment Opportunities”.
Sanwo-Olu listed areas of investment in Lagos open to the private sector as water transportation (passengers, car, and cargo), construction of infrastructure and management, technical partnership and consultancy, financing, and provision of logistics.
He said Lagos State covers 1,171 square kilometers of Nigeria’s landmass, 40 percent is water, with lagoons and creeks covering 22 percent.
The governor who was represented by Mr. Ope George, the Special Adviser, Office of Public-Private Partnership, said that a successful partnership with the private sector in waterways would bring positive change to the state’s socio-economic status.
The governor noted that the state government has made some interventions in the waterways sector, which would further enhance the enabling environment for the private sector to thrive.
According to him, that the Lagos State Ferry Service (LAGFERRY) ferried members of the national soccer team, the Super Eagles, to Porto Novo on March 26, bears a bold testimony to the vast potential of the sector in the state.
The Special Adviser on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Investments to Governor Sanwo-Olu, Mrs. Solape Hammond, said the state promised to identify and promote genuine and specific foreign direct investment on waterways in the state.
Hammond said Lagos State would always serve as a ‘business ombudsman’ that helps investors and the local business community navigate government bureaucracy.
She noted that the state would also act as a one-stop shop for investors intending to invest in Lagos State, thereby promoting private, civil, and development sector partnerships.
Hammond said it was an incontrovertible fact that Lagos derived its age-long excellence in significant measure from the worthy contribution of the private investment to its socio-economic development.
“We assure our potential investors that your investments are safe-Fitch international just improved our rating from AA+ to AAA long term for fiscal red pins,’’ she said.
The General Manager of LASWA, Mr. Damilola Emmanuel, highlighting the achievement of the state government in the waterways, said it has accessed 15 of the 20 local governments via the waterways.
Emmanuel said the purpose of the investment opportunities in the waterways was to provide an alternative public transportation service that was accessible and affordable to all sections of the state.
“The investment opportunities will therefore complement the effort of the present government to combat traffic congestion on the Lagos roads.
“It will also reduce the amount of time it takes for citizens to commute especially during the peak period.
“In addition, this will also assist in poverty alleviation through increased economic activities from the provision of safe, cheap and reliable transportation,’’ he said.
Emmanuel said LASWA has adopted a ferry operator licensing framework, prioritised routes have been approved and it also has a route licensing template for private investors to thrive in the waterways transport sector.
The Managing Director, National Inland Waterways Authority, Mr. George Moghalu, urged the state government to collaborate with the Federal Government on waterways development in the state.
Moghalu said that the partnership should be in the area of safety, sensitisation campaign for boat operators, and security of waterways users.
He said the state government should also partner with NIWA in the area that would not lead to multiple taxations on the part of boat operators.
The managing director said NIWA’s doors were open to collaboration and partnership with key stakeholders to ensure that the waterways are attractive to investors and users in the sta