The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency has said Nigeria’s vast under-utilised blue economy offers huge opportunities for growth and development, adding that it will help the country to overcome its present economic challenges.
In a statement, the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, was quoted as saying this recently while speaking as a guest lecturer at The Bullion Lecture organised by Centre for Financial Journalism held at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Jamoh lamented the failure of Nigeria’s successive governments to explore the vast resources that the blue economy offers.
He explained that the blue economy could be used to knock off Nigeria’s huge debt profile which drags its development efforts and makes poverty thrive amidst plenty.
He added that the sea business is in vogue globally and that Nigeria’s future lies in blue economy.
Jamoh added that Nigeria has over 200 nautical miles available for fishing yet lacks in the sustainability which the blue economy offers.
“Ocean resources like fishes, shrimps and other sea foods have not been satisfactorily harnessed, just as ship repairs are done in neighbouring countries and in faraway Turkey because the facilities are lacking locally”, he said.
The NIMASA DG stressed that Nigeria must develop appropriate policy interventions that focus on exploring and exploiting the huge opportunities of blue economy anchored on good governance.
“We need to take stock of what is out there in our waters, we need to take stock of what we have in terms of what will create jobs, build coastal communities, grow careers, enhance transportation of humans and cargo, renew and sustain the environment, reduce poverty and make our nation competitive by maximizing our competitive oceanic advantages.” Jamoh said.
He observed that Nigeria’s economic structure has not provided the window for diversification to thrive because of its inclination to traditional mode of producing goods and services.
He said, “The country had focused on a hybrid economic structure that blends oil with agriculture but the former remains consistent as an economic mainstay ahead of the latter over the years. Today, the waters provide low hanging fruits to diversify the economy.
It is increasingly being accepted that the country’s future lies in Blue Economy with a coastline bordering the Atlantic Ocean from Badagry in Lagos to Bakassi in Cross River State”.
Jamoh revealed that the outgoing Buhari administration created the Expanded Partnership Committee on Sustainable Blue Economy in Nigeria chaired by Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, with participation cutting across ministries, departments and agencies, while the transportation ministry plays a leading role.
Earlier in her remarks, the chairman of the event, Jean ChiazorAnishere, SAN, called for a strategic and coordinated approach in the effort to unlock the potential of the blue economy.