A step forward for blue economy – Part 2
The Federal Government recently took a bold step towards developing the nation’s blue economy with the inauguration of the Expanded Committee on Sustainable Blue Economy in Nigeria (ECSBEN) by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, in Abuja. As mentioned in the first part of this article last week, the committee will work towards delivering on its mandate by leveraging on various sub-committees whose tasks will be well streamlined for the purpose of realising the potential that blue economy holds for Nigeria.
A sub-committee on the funding of the various activities that come under the blue economy, for instance, will have the responsibility to provide an accurate assessment of current realities and challenges for economic diversification and the growth of sustainable blue economy in Nigeria. This involves looking at challenges that currently exist, and those that may likely arise in the course of exploring an area that is relatively unknown at the moment, beyond the well-known and normal economic activities of oil and gas, power, transportation and fishing activities.
The sub-committee will also have the responsibility to identify and review relevant policies and institutional/capacity building mechanisms for development of blue economy in Nigeria. This is based on the thinking that there may be currently in existence policies that could actually aid development of blue economy in the country, which only need to be reworked or fine-tuned to achieve that purpose.
It will also be the job of this sub-committee to identify relevant sectors, actors and linkages, and develop a National Action Plan, with strategies for implementation of the country’s blue economy and, very importantly, identify potential sources of funding for initiatives launched under the implementation plan and strategies.
Given the importance of good governance in the world today, a sub-committee on governance will be critical to the success of the blue economy project. The sub-committee will provide oversight for implementation of the National Plan for a sustainable blue economy for Nigeria. This, the sub-committee will be expected to do, by recommending a robust and effective governance arrangement that would guarantee sustainability of blue economy as a major and reliable economic alternative to oil. It will also be the responsibility of the sub-committee to recommend other activities that may be considered necessary for the development of blue economy for the country, as well as submit appropriate recommendations for achieving the objective.
Working together, the ECSBEN and the sub-committees that sprout from it will chart the course for the country’s march towards developing its blue economy. Developing the nation’s blue economy is particularly important at this time given the need to broaden the country’s revenue base, and in view of the dwindling fortunes from oil, which is occasioned by fluctuating crude prices in the international oil market coupled with production hiccups. The success that is being recorded in the agricultural sector shows that diversification of the Nigerian economy has started to yield fruits. The effort to put in place mechanisms and structures for the development of blue economy in the country is one of the initiatives that will help to achieve a diversified national economy.
The current efforts by NIMASA to reduce piracy and other forms of criminality in Nigeria’s waterways will provide the enabling environment for the blue economy to thrive. Therefore, before long, the country will be deriving the full benefits from the resources that abound in its waters.
• Dr. Jamoh, Director-General and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, writes exclusively for The Guardian
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