Lack of policy framework, investments, stall utilisation of Nigeria’s Blue Economic Potential-DG NIMASA
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA , has said that the inability of successive governments in the country to put in place the much needed policy framework and lack of investments, among other factors are largely responsible for the non-harnessing and full utilisation of Nigeria’s vast Blue Economic potential to the benefit of her citizens.
The Blue Economy, which is also called the Economy of the Seas and Oceans, refers to the natural maritime endowments available to maritime nations such as vast coastlines, which promote water transportation, fisheries, aquatic life, oil and gas and other mineral deposits beneath the seabed, which are not available to land locked countries.
Director General of the agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, who spoke at a one –day seminar organised by the agency in Lagos for maritime journalists, Tuesday, also listed the lack of knowledge as one of the major factors inhibiting the utilisation of the nation’s vast but grossly untapped maritime resources.
The theme of the seminar was: ‘The Role of Journalists in Developing the Blue Economy’.
According to him, the Federal Government must be willing and committed to initiating adequate policy framework that would drive the harnessing and utilisation of that segment of the nation’s economy.
The DG said: “Of a fact, Nigeria is truly endowed in maritime resources. But over the years, there has not been sufficient and deliberate efforts in terms of putting in place the right policy framework, creating awareness and favourable investment climate that would engender the taping of these huge resources to the benefit of the people”.
He noted that in some climes, the government created the Ministry of Oceans and Seas, which formulate policies and regulate the deep sea shipping, which he argued is a major segment of the Blue Economy, regretting that Nigeria has not been able to come up a national policy on deep sea shipping over the years.
The NIMASA –boss, who doubles as chairman of the Association of African Maritime Administrations AAMA, therefore urged the relevant arms of government to show more commitment towards creating the right policies and business environment that would enhance the utilisation of the vast potential of the nation’s Blue Economy.
Meanwhile, chairman of the editorial board of the Nation Newspaper, Sam Omatseye, who was the guest speaker at the event, observed that the seas and oceans account for over 90 per cent of the world’s natural resources.
He therefore charged the journalists, especially the maritime media to contribute to the development of the Blue Economy through incisive and informative reports.
Recall that the Food and Agricultural Organisation FAO, an agency of the United Nations UN, had identified the Blue Economy as a major tool for achieving Sustainable Development Goals SGDs.