Maritime industry to drive Nigeria’s economic diversification agenda-DG NIMASA
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh has said that the nation’s maritime industry, second highest revenue earner would be the fulcrum of the country’s quest to diversify her economy with a view to engendering sustainable growth and development.
The Federal Government is currently pursuing an Economic Recovery and Growth Plan ERGP under which is plans to shift emphasis from the oil and gas sector, which the country has over relied so much on, which is no longer adding up due to the distortions in the global oil industry as well as moves by so many countries to ban the use of fossil fuel, a one of the major bye products of crude oil.
The DG in a lecture entitled, “Maritime Security and National Development in Nigeria: The Role of NIMASA” presented to the National Defence College NDC Course 29 participants, noted that if the country’s vast maritime potential are optimally harnessed, the industry could give the country over 30 times more than the revenue earned from the oil sector.
He said: “Nigeria’s maritime industry has enormous potential to drive sustainable development in the country with huge investment opportunities in shipbuilding and repairs, offshore/floating spare parts sales and maintenance, freshwater bunkering and supply, dredging, and inland waterways transportation. Added to these is the fact that about 75 per cent of all Gulf of Guinea-bound cargo is destined for Nigeria.
“With many countries proposing ban on use of fossil fuels, and the world transitioning from oil, the maritime industry offers Nigeria a bounteous substitute in the country’s economic diversification drive. Oil contributes about 70 per cent of government’s revenue and nearly 90 per cent of foreign exchange earnings in Nigeria. But Nigeria is trying to move away from the near total dependence on oil.
“Judging by a simple maritime resource mapping, and also research by reputable local and international organisations, it is clear that our marine environment can give us annually 30 times more than what we get from oil. There is boundless opportunity for investment in the industry, given the right conditions.”
The DG, who admitted that the growing insecurity was taking its toll on the industry, however, disclosed that steps had been taken to address the challenges, which include promoting strict maritime governance system, maritime infrastructure development and investment in maritime security.
Also recall that the government had introduced some fiscal and monetary interventions, in addition to the recent plans for better management of the agency’s modular floating dock as well as stakeholder support systems are part of efforts to enthrone good governance in the industry.
“In terms of security infrastructure development, he disclosed that the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, also called the Deep Blue Project, and the various fleet expansion and shipbuilding plans are part of measures to ensure a conducive environment for investment in the maritime industry.
“We are tackling the security issues on Nigeria’s waters, and we know that the international community is concerned, and the stakeholders are mindful of our efforts. Those who do business in our maritime environment want to make sure that when they arrive Nigeria safely, they are also able to leave Nigeria safely.
“NIMASA, being the country’s Designated Authority DA for the implementation of the International Ships and Ports Security ISPS Code and other maritime regulations, has taken steps to create the right atmosphere for investment in the industry.
Records also show that the agency had taken other steps to reposition the industry, which include it’s pivotal role in the recent intensification of collaboration and teamwork among maritime agencies; strengthening of cooperation between NIMASA and the security agencies, particularly, in the area of information sharing; establishment of a Maritime Intelligence Unit; proposed Maritime Security Strategy Document; the proposed Maritime Security Committee; and enactment and enforcement of the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences SPOMO Act 2019, which led to the prosecution of over 10 piracy suspects.
Meanwhile, Commandant of the NDC, Rear Admiral Mackson Kadir, made a strong case for the reinvigouration of the maritime industry. He commended the DG for his efforts towards the growth of the maritime industry and intensification of the collaborative spirit among relevant organisations in the industry.