Reps probe how N4.6bn approved for Onitsha River Port was spent •Summon NIWA MD, Ministry of Transport Perm Sec

Posted by Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha | 24 September 2019 | 346 times

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The House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee investigating why eastern ports are not put to maximum use by shippers, importers, exporters, among others, has vowed to probe how N4.6 billion earmarked for the Onitsha River Port in the 2012 budget was expended.

To facilitate the probe, the committee has invited the Managing Director of Nigeria Inland Water Authority (NIWA), Permanent Secretary Ministry of Transport, and Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council to appear before it at National Assembly tomorrow, to answer questions on the disbursement of the funds.

The committee recently visited the Onitsha River port where it inspected facilities before moving to Archbishop Patterson Auditorium, All Saints Cathedral, Onitsha, for public hearing with stakeholders like maritime industry operators, Customs, trade associations, market unions, traditional rulers, and government officials.

Chairman of the Committee, Yusuf Baba Yakubu, at the public hearing commended member representing Idemili North and South Federal Constituency, Ifeanyi Ibezim, for moving the motion that prompted the House to set up the committee to look into the poor utilisation of eastern ports amid huge budgetary allocations.

“We were told N4.6 billion was spent on Onitsha River port so we are investigating while the port is not working and we will come up with the result of what we have found,” said Yakubu.

“We are doing this to ensure that our ports are put to use, and once it is in use, it will create jobs for youths, increase the revenue base of government for the infrastructure development.

“We have visited the Onitsha port which is almost not operating; we have seen skeletal operations, but it is not really substantial enough. We have ruled that Managing Director of NIWA and permanent secretary ministry of transport will see this committee on Wednesday to give us answers on the issue of Concession and dredging. The committee is going to look into the expenditure of N4.6 billion on Onitsha port in 2012,” Yakubu stated.

Part of the problem why the port has not picked up is the because of the concession process which has not been completed.

The committee has assured that it would work to ensure that the process is completed as soon as possible. (Daily Sun)

Source: News Express

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