Lagos – A boat designer, Mr Ndukwe Azunna, has urged Nigerians to invest more in water transportation to ease the pressure of moving humans, goods and services on the roads.
Azunna, the Managing Director, Talia Watercrafts Company, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Lagos.
He said that if government at all levels and private investors invested in the industry it would help to harness fully the opportunities inherent in using modern boats to support the transportation system.
Azunna said that it would boost economic activities along the coastal areas, create more jobs through their operations and ease the pressure on the roads.
He said that investments in modern boats which could be done locally by supporting professional boat designers would encourage more people to travel and move their goods through water.
“We have a lot of small groups building boats, but they basically use the mould of the ones that have been made since early times when boat building started.
“However, the vast coastal areas of Nigeria can be fully utilised to boost economic activities if the boats are modern and more people are encouraged to travel and move their goods by ferries.
“The industry can be turned around if the boat designing sector gets support to design and have the artisans build them locally.
“It is just about vision to grow the sector, especially as the free trade zones are coming up,” he said.
Azunna said that it was sad that financial institutions could not support the sector, noting that many banks lacked requisite understanding of the workings of the sector.
“Banks are not familiar with the sector, so, the loans are just not given, except if you can prove that you will make money from the business immediately.
“It means you must have started the business already and started making profits before the banks can assist.
“They need to know that Nigeria’s transport sector is wide and most times the roads have been over stretched. The ferry system can do a lot more with modern boats,’’ Azunna said.
On safety, the boat designer said that modern boats like the catamaran were more stable since they had double hauls. (NAN)