Members if the Barge Operators Association of Nigeria (BOAN) have said that they are targeting an annual contribution of three billion Dollars (about N1.81 trillion) to the country’s purse in 2022.
BOAN National President, Bunmi Olumekan who made this revelation while discussing with Newsmen, said that the group was making plans to start lifting liquid cargoes to West African countries.
This is coming barely a month after the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-koko, threatened to streamline the activities of barge operators operating on the nation’s waterways.
Bello-koko had said the activities of some operators was impeding on the seemless navigation of vessels and that some poses threat to water transport.
But speaking on plans to increase their contribution to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Olumekan said members are targeting about three billion to the Federal Government purse.
“Now, we have done a lot. We are looking at how we can generate $3billion yearly. We are not going to limit our barging to only container or general cargoes because even liquid cargoes can go through barges. We have to look for petroleum products; we need to be moving refined products from here to Cotonou, Ghana or other parts of West Africa” he added.
Olumekan, however, blamed insecurity as one of the reasons operators were still finding it difficult to move cargoes through barges to other parts of the country.
“The greatest challenge is insecurity. We want a situation where you cannot ply from Lagos to Onitsha without any hindrance. We cannot move from here to Warri without any hindrance. We need to know that there is a need for a good security system for people to be able to do their businesses without any hindrance.
“There is a need to work with all the states. I can tell you that out of the 36 states, we have 33 that are covered by water. So, what I am trying to say is that barges need to be an ultra modern means of transportation within Nigeria and outside the Western Coast.
“We still have a long way to go, and that security aspect of it needs to be tackled,” he concluded.