The German government has expressed its willingness to assist Lagos State develop a virile water transportation system, the German Consul-General in Nigeria, Ingo Herbert has said.
Herbert who stated this when he paid a working visit to the State’s Commissioner for Transportation, Ladi Lawanson in his office, said his country has a robust transportation system that subsidises transportation fare for the people in order to enlist their continued support for public sector transport system.
He said the consular office would assist in ensuring appropriate dissemination of the opportunities in the transportation sector in Lagos State and sensitise German investors to begin to look in the direction of the state.
Herbert, who was accompanied on the visit by the Deputy Consul-General Alexandra Herr and other Consul officials said his country is excited at the opportunities that Lagos State is presenting by looking towards its direction for developing a very viable water transportation system.
Germany, he said, is a major player in the transportation system, and has helped several countries of the world, both within and outside the European Union (EU), to build, operate and activate their transportation systems.
He said Lagos State, with its vast waterbodies is a mine that could be exploited for massive transpottion opportunites that would take pressure away from the roads and encourage more people to patronize water transportation.
“Germany have a tremendous amount of competence in the transportation system, especially in the water transportation which the state government intends to incorporate in its intermodal system that is just evolving and we would be willing to share these competence with the state government.
He said Germany would be ready to build, develop and transfer technical competence and help train officials to manage the water transportation system.
Earlier, Lawanson said the government is willing to collaborate with the German government in helping to develop a robust water transportation system.
This, he said, is necessary to complement its giant strides on the other modes of transportation especially road, where it is experiencing landmark transformation. He said water transportation would be a major complement to transportation mix and help achieve the vision of the Akinwunmi Ambode led government to make more people patronize public transportation.
He said Lagos being the most strategic economy in Africa, is looking towards Germany which is a leading economy in the EU to benchmark its strides and investments in the transportation sector, adding that with Germany’s competence, would rub on positively on the state’s water transportation system.
Lawanson while presenting an information slide on the state’s mission, objectives and vision for the sub-sector to the visitors, said the state government would be looking forward to Germany coming up with long term low interest lending to develop the sector, among others.
He added that the government has identified four major and economic water routes which it is currently dredging to flag-off its water reform masterplan. These routes according to him are the Ijora, Ikeja, Oke-Afa and Tolu, Ajegunle, all within West and Central Lagos, in order to promote a new culture of water transportation in the state.
“We would specifically be interested in tapping into your competence in this sector, exploit affording funding and provision of passenger friendly vessels as well as the construction of world class jetties around all border points in the state.”
Part of the plan to further decongest the roads within the state, according to him, is to explore the opportunities presented by the water bodies by ensuring that importers can pick up their containers at any of the state’s jetties that would dot the border posts thereby reducing the inflow of traffic into Apapa Ports for such transactions.
He urged the Consul General to facilitate good bilateral relationship between Germany and Lagos, being the most critical state in the country. In the area of training, Lawanson said government would be looking forward to Germany providing scholarship opportunities to middle and high level officials of the ministry to familiarize themselves to the German system to fast track the domestication of same in the state.
“Our decision to look towards the waterways is further improving the livability index of the state. We want to pull many more cars off our roads, encourage the patronage of public transportation and in this wise, complement the world class transformation on the roads.”
He said while 2018-2019 has been set aside to update all feasibility studies on available options to developing the sector, while 2020 -2023 would witness massive transformation and investment within the water transportation in the bid to give back to the people a water system that works for the masses of the people.