Maritime can lead Nigeria out of oil-dependency, says NIMASA
As the use of fossil fuel continues to be substituted for eco-friendly energy, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has assured that the maritime sector offers Nigeria a bounteous substitute in the country’s economic diversification drive.
The Director-General, NIMASA, Bashir Jamo, at a public presentation at the National Defence College (NDC), Abuja, said maritime had enormous potential to drive sustainable development in Nigeria, 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 the fact that about 75 per cent of all Gulf of Guinea-bound cargoes are destined for Nigeria, he said if properly harnessed, maritime could bring the country 30 times more revenue than oil.
Oil contributes over 80 per cent of government’s revenue and nearly 90 per cent of foreign exchange earnings in Nigeria. But Nigeria is trying to leave the near total dependence on oil through the Federal Government’s economic diversification agenda.
Jamoh stated: “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 sector, given the right conditions.”
He decried the effect of maritime security issues on Nigeria, and enumerated steps taken by the country to tackle the problem, including the promotion of a worthy maritime governance system, maritime infrastructure development, and investment in maritime security.
He said the fiscal and monetary interventions by the government, recent arrangements for better management of the NIMASA modular floating dock, and stakeholder support systems were part of efforts to enthrone good governance in the sector.
On security and infrastructure development, he highlighted the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, also called the Deep Blue Project, and the various fleet expansion and shipbuilding plans as measures taken to ensure a conducive environment for investment in the maritime industry.
Jamoh said: “We are tackling the security issues in our 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 in Nigeria safely, they are also able to leave Nigeria safely.”
He said NIMASA, being Nigeria’s Designated Authority (DA) for the implementation of maritime regulations, has taken steps to create the right atmosphere for investment in the maritime sector.
Jamoh identified the steps to include the Agency’s pivotal role in the recent intensification of collaboration and teamwork among maritime agencies; and strengthening cooperation between NIMASA and the security agencies.
Also, in the area of information sharing, establishing a Maritime Intelligence Unit; proposed Maritime Security Strategy Document; the proposed Maritime Security Committee; and enactment of the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act 2019.
Speaking, the Commandant, National Defence College, Rear Admiral Mackson Kadir, called for a positive reorientation towards maritime and commended Jamoh for his efforts towards the growth and intensification of the collaborative spirit among relevant organisations in the sector.