The Federal Government has said it will link the country’s maritime with the rest of Africa to attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), increase the speed of output growth, create jobs and boost intra-African trade.

According to the Federal Government, this will be achieved through well-developed and efficient inland water transportation, which is necessary for an integrated and functional multi–modal transportation system, whose major pillar is dependent upon accurate and timely hydrographic surveys/charts.

The Minister of Transportation, Muazu Sambo, disclosed this at the unveiling of the Navigational Charts of the Lower River Niger from Lokoja in Kogi State to Burutu in Delta State at the NAF Conference Centre, Abuja.

The Minister said the United States economy today is supported by revenues of over $70 billion from 600 million tones of cargo transported through its inland waterways.

He said this is creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, building and growing agro-industrial communities along the waterway channels and spreading economic prosperity throughout the length and breadth of the US waterways network.

The minister said the US waterways and multi-modal transportation network provide a competitive edge in global markets, which is no wonder, its corn and soybean farmers are the most efficient in the world.

Sambo said the project, which is in tandem with the statutory responsibilities and objectives of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, would boost efforts which are aimed at the development and operation of an efficient and safe inland waterways transportation network.

He said Nigeria is blessed with an 800 km coastline and over 10,000 km of inland waterways that potentially confers it with such maritime power that in itself alone, can transform this country into a great and prosperous place on earth.

Sambo also affirmed the ministry’s commitment to the successful attainment of the overall objective of the navigational charts project in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision for the holistic and sustainable development of the maritime sector and the inland waterways in particular.

He commended the laudable initiative of Sealink Promotional Company Limited with funding from the NEXIM and African Export-Import Bank, the Nigerian Navy and the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), who jointly conducted the survey exercise, which ensured the successful execution of the project

Sambo further called for more of this effort to extend the hydrographic survey of inland waterways nationwide.