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Problems of water transportation in Nigeria

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By Timothy Akintola

There are various challenges for water transportation affecting development.

Transportation is one key factor for the social and economic development of every country. Immense efficiency, effective and adequacy in the transportation networking makes it easier for the the accomplishment of economic inputs. Whether by road, sea, air or rail, these transportation systems serve different purposes economically and contribute to the development of every country. In Nigeria, these transportation modes have not undergone significant development and in truth, it is impossible to quantify the impact of a functioning transportation system. Thus, it is important to envisage the Nigeria’s water transportation mode and the challenges that it is faced with.

Over the years, observers and researchers have found numerous discrepancies, most of which have continually affected the country’s water transportation mode. One of this challenges is the evident poor dredging. Despite the inland waters perfect for transportation, as well as the numerous canals, rivers, creaks and lagoons, the dry season poses imminent threats to this phenomenon, making it impassable as a result of the poor dredging. As a result of this challenges, Nigeria has lost the charge on numerous monetary opportunities and Nigerians living around the watersheds have been increasingly affected.

Maintenance of the navigation channels also pose another challenge.

Incompetent managers has been another factor crippling the development of the water transportation in Nigeria. Competency is one major challenge that has ravaged Nigeria across all sectors. Nigeria’s water transportation is also faced with intense management incompetency and complacency. The lack of education as regards the field systemically cripples the efficiency of the sector. The lack of berths for boats to stop, stay and sail off have also contributed to the underdevelopment of the water transportation in Nigeria.

The lack of maintenance of the navigation channels. In spite of the numerous linking rivers that can be exploited as a means of sailing to other countries, the inability to maintain these navigation channels have restricted the enactment of this policy. Goods cannot be transported by water as a result of this problem, remotely contributing to the hike in the price of imported goods. Also, the Nigerian government and private sector’s neglect of these inland waters for a preferred air or road transportation system have caused it to be of utmost unimportance.

Lack of professionals workforce contributing to the system’s inefficiency.

Moreover, some wrong water transportation policies have also contributed significantly to the underdevelopment of this transportation system. The policies that concern regulation and infrastructural development have been immensely cumbersome to achieve and the policy on the procurement of license provided operators with a difficult ambience for operations. Piracy has also been a prevalent issue ravaging the water transportation, as it brigs insecurity to the transportation mode. Pirates operations make cargos hugely unsafe for transporting passengers.

If is important to again point out the obvious lack of workforce as another factor affecting this industry. In truth, the water transportation requires a huge workforce. However, professionals are immensely lacking in this industry, which contributes to the overall inefficient output that the industry scores. The operational challenges in ports also pose another problem. With Nigerian ports being restricted, the operational standards of ports in Nigeria becomes increasingly ineffective unlike the ports of neighboring countries. In that case, those who depend on water transportation for exportation and importation of their goods rather use ports from neighboring countries.

Adequate funding required for water transportation improvement.

Inadequate funding poses as a very important problem that has decimated the growth of the water transportation industry in Nigeria. Adequate funding for a more efficient realization of efficient operation is very crucial. Without funding, most of the challenges listed above can not be salvaged. The waters for instance, cannot be dredged or security paradigms provided for without adequate funding of the water transportation system. Thus, while water transportation is very important for economic development, the inherent problems that it faces have contributed greatly to its underdevelopment and importantly the federal government must shape designs to help curb these challenges.

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