The Federal Government has approved the upward review of the contract sum of the Lokoja Port from N400.11 million to N600.4 million.
The Managing Director of the National Inland Waterways Authority, Dr. George Moghalu, confirmed this to newsmen in Lokoja on Wednesday.
He said the review was to accommodate additional specifications to the project to meet specific standards.
Moghalu said with this development, the contractor handling the project would soon return to site, adding that the authority was committed to its early completion.
On Baro Port, which has remained inactive since its inauguration by President Muhammadu Buhari, the MD said the major constraint was lack of access road to the port.
He however said he would soon meet with the Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Sani Bello, and other critical stakeholders on how to resolve the problem.
Moghalu said the authority had plans to review its tariffs downward as part of efforts to make inland waterways attractive for movement of cargo and passengers.
To this end, he said the authority had begun discussions with some private investors to acquire ferries to ply the dredged channels of River Niger.
According to him, NIWA is in the process of buying a dredger to ensure regular maintenance of the dredged lower part of River Niger.
The Federal Government in 2011 dredged the lower part of River Niger at a cost of N36 billion.
The dredging, which covered 10,000 kilometres, runs from Baro in Niger State to Onitsha, Anambra State.
Moghalu appealed to the media to help in returning normalcy to the country by educating Nigerians on how to regularly observe the protocols put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19.
He also solicited media support for the activities of NIWA, saying the agency as a major player in the maritime sector was critical to the survival of the country’s economy.