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Boat operators commend LASG on improvements in water transportation


By Idris Olukoya


Lagos   –      The Association of Tourist Boat Operators and Water Transporters of Nigeria (ATBOWATON) on Wednesday commended the Lagos State Government on its efforts at improving water transportation in the state.

Mr Tarzan Balogun, the association’s President, made the commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

He applauded the government’s initiative in putting all necessary facilities/equipment in place to boost water transportation across the riverine areas of the state.

Balogun cited the improvements to include the Navigating machine, life jackets, water hyacinth clearing machines, clearing of dirts on the waterways, construction of more jetties, deployment of Marine Police personnel and providing more commercial boats on waterways.

“These were some of the factors responsible for boat mishaps on the waterways but the situation has been greatly improved upon by the new initiatives by the state government.

“All these developments are commendable. The state government is trying and we appreciate their efforts.

“But like the proverbial Oliver Twist, we will continue to crave for more improvement, so that people can see water transportation as a better alternative to road transportation,’’ he said.

Balogun, however, urged the government to patronise the local boat manufacturing companies, instead of importation.

“It is cheaper to patronise local manufacturing companies than to import boats, ferries and other facilities from overseas.

“The dollar exchange rate is not encouraging and patronising locally made boats and ferries will boost the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“It will also create employment opportunities for the citizenry and increase government earnings,’’ he said.

According to him, his company, Tarzan Boats Manufacturing Ltd, has been in business for the past 20years and has been manufacturing several quality boats plying the waterways.

“We can do quality boats in the country that can compete favourably with the imported ones.

“All we need now is government support and encouragement, by giving us appropriate incentives required for mass production.

Balogun stressed the need for government to create filling station along the coastal areas, to enable quick and easy access to fuel for boat operators.

“It has been a daunting challenge to boat operators buying fuel at filling stations. Often times, some of the boats stopped on the waterways whenever they run out of petrol.

“We usually buy extra petrol in the reservoir at the office, for emergencies. We need filling station close to us, for easier access,’’ he said.

Balogun said that as part of his company’s social responsibility, it had created three additional private floating jetties at Badore, Lekki and Ijede, to support government initiatives at improving water transportation across the state.

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