The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, has said that the maritime industry is now better positioned to aid the Federal Government’s desire to diversify the nation’s economy.

This is given the dwindling fortunes of the oil industry across the globe with the attendant sharp decline in the price of crude oil, which had for several years been the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy.

Director General of the agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, who gave the assurance during a courtesy visit by the leadership of the Nigerian Union of Journalists NUJ to the agency’s headquarters in Lagos, however urged all well meaning Nigerians including the maritime media to lend their support to this lofty dream.

The DG noted that there was need for everyone to support the government’s drive towards diversifying the economy to engender growth and create alternative opportunities for investments

Dr. Peterside while noting that the media remain the interface between the public and the government, urged them to be professional in their reporting, arguing that people look up to them as the major source of information especially as the government seeks to diversify the economy from the current over-dependence on the oil sector.

“We urge you to support the Federal Government in its effort to diversify the economy for a better future for the entire Nigerian populace. You have to be fair and professional while reporting government’s activities and programmes in order not to create unnecessary panic among the public”, the NIMASA boss also said.

He stated that the maritime industry is ready to take over from oil as the leading revenue earner in the country and called on all other stakeholders to look into the vast opportunities that abound in the maritime industry.

“The ocean is a resource a country can leverage on to grow its economy and blessed with a coastline of about 853km and 250 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone EEZ, we must begin to take advantage of these maritime opportunities available to us to grow our economy”, Dr. Peterside said.

President of NUJ, Mr. Abdulwaheed Odusile, who led the team had while speaking at event, said that his maritime media colleagues will do more to focus on government’s activities with a view to revamping the ailing economy.

This is especially given that some agencies such as NIMASA are in the frontline of driving the diversification process.

He also noted that this will help ensure a virile maritime industry and by extension a greater Nigerian economy.

Also on the NUJ delegation was chairman of the Lagos council of the union, Mr. Deji Elumoye, among others.

It would be recalled that as the Designated Authority DA for the implementation of the International Ship and Port Facility Security ISPS Code in Nigeria, NIMASA has implemented policies which have enhanced the security awareness in the seaports, terminals and jetties, which has improved economic activities in these facilities.

It was on the heels of this that the agency received commendations from national and international bodies including the United States Coasts Guard USCG for its progress in the ISPS code implementation, which has also helped to improved the nation’s economic fortunes by restoring investors confidence.