NIWA, LASWA end 10-year rift, brace for tourism, other investments

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu (left), and Managing Director, National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Sen. Olorunnimbe Mamora, signing the cooperation between the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) and NIWA in Lagos…Monday

In a move that will enhance private investments in ferry services for tourism and leisure, among others, the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) and Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) have ended their battle over the control of inland waterways, and will henceforth jointly handle regulatory obligations, including safety and tariffs.

The resolution of the over 10-year old rift, which the NIWA Managing Director, Sen. Olorunnimbe Mamora, has been championing since he came on the saddle last year, was achieved just as he was about leaving office, having just been cleared by the Senate for ministerial position following his nomination.

Signing the pact for Lagos State, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said a harmonious working relationship between NIWA and LASWA would unlock investments in water transportation, adding that the agreement has boosted his administration’s drive to harness the state’s water tourism potential, having removed the impediments to investments in the sector.

“This is the progress we have made to promote ease of doing business, and as regulators, we must always find a way to close our differences in order to convince investors and the private sector. Transportation is one of the cardinal objectives of this administration. We have plans to introduce a comprehensive inter-modal transportation system, which will cover rail, roads and waterways.

“A critical component of this objective is what this agreement just enabled for us. It means we are prepared for investors and partners who have shown interest in waterways transportation to move our people from one part of the state to another.

“We are assuring investors that issues around regulations between these agencies governments have eased out. They don’t have anything to fear again. The safety of people that will be using ferry services for tourism and leisure is paramount. This is one of the things the agreement has addressed.”

On his part, Mamora, a former Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, disclosed that the previous administration in the state prepared the groundwork for the truce, adding that it was in good faith and in the best interest of the people, and will lead to increased surveillance on waterways, harmony in tariffs and regulations.

“We don’t need the court to intervene in ensuring safety on waterways and protecting the rights of our people and avoiding multiple taxation, which discourages investors,” he noted. “These are the areas we are partnering on. This agreement shows that we care for our people, particularly the users of the waterways.

“This agreement means better life for our people. What we have signed today will promote better working relationship and collaboration for the good of our people. Our desire is to see the possibility of settling out of court, because this disagreement has been on for over 10 years.

“The most important thing is that, once we have this understanding, we won’t have issues. Investors, too, would be free to come in, since they know there is no friction and restrictions again.”

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