The Lagos State House of Assembly has canvassed for the participation of the private sector in the business of water transportation in the state.
The lawmakers said that what the state government needs to do was to create enabling environment for the business to thrive.
The House made this assertion on Wednesday through the Committee On Transportation during oversight visitation to the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) and Lagos State Ferry Services (LAGFERRY).
While speaking at LASWA, the Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Temitope Adewale, said that the leadership of the House was interested in the optimal functioning of the water transportation system, adding that LASWA as an agency must ensure the security of the waterways by collaborating with security agencies.
Adewale said securing the waterways would boost public confidence in the agency and as well enhance Public Private Partnership (PPP) so as to have more people involve in the business of water transportation.
The committee chairman commended the agency for the achievements so far, tasking it to put more measures to ensure the safety of people on the waterways and also for the waterways not to serve as escape route for kidnappers and armed robbers.
Adewale stressed that two patrol boats were not enough to monitor waterways in the state, adding that more should be procured to boost the safety of waterways users.
A member of the committee, who is also the Chairman, House Committee On Information, Hon. Setonji David, charged the agency on prevention of boat mishap, saying that measures should be put in place to avoid such occurrence on the waterways.
Speaking at LAGFERRY, Adewale said that the agency was one of the few that had added value to the governance of the state and the transportation system in particular.
He stated that the agency should do all it could to attract more investors into the ferry service business, adding that the participation of private sector would boost water transport economy in the state.
The lawmaker said that the House was ready to render assistance in any area where the agency needs its help, assuring that all the challenges raised by the Managing Director would be looked into by the House.
Earlier, the General Manager of LASWA, Mr Oluwadmilola Emmanuel, in his PowerPoint presentation, said the agency had established a control room to monitor the various routes on the waterways, saying that it had helped in enhancing the safety and security of people on waterways.
Emmanuel said that the agency procured two patrol boats for the patrol of waterways to avoid robbery and other social vices on the waterways, adding that it has also provided 294 Life Jackets and expecting 845 more.
On security, Emmanuel said that the agency synergised with Marine Police and Navy in ensuring the security of the waterways, lamenting that there was need to equip the Marine Police for effective enforcement.
Also, the Managing Director of LAGFERRY, Hon. Ladi Balogun, said that the agency currently has a fleet of 20 boats.
He said that the agency’s mandate was to provide ferry services to ease pressure on road transportation.
Balogun said that with the 20 boats, about 480,000 waterways users routinely make use of them, adding that the agency was setting standard for other operators in the industry.
He lamented the cost of fuelling the boats for service delivery, saying that the recurrent expenditure appropriated for it were not enough.