FG seeks inclusive policy for sustainable blue economy
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has charged members of Expanded Partnership Committee on Sustainable Blue Economy in Nigeria (EPCSBEN) to develop a sustainable blue economy concept to achieve inclusive policy documents for the maritime sector in line with global best practices.
Osinbajo, who was represented by the Minister of Transportation, Muazu Sambo, made the call at the fourth EPCSBEN meeting in Abuja, charged the committee to bring its wealth of experience to bear in the overall interest of the country.
Osinbajo, who chairs the committee, stated that the body can only achieve its goals if members work together and eschew self-interest and parochial sentiments.
According to him, the concept of the blue economy is about the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihood and job creation, while preserving the health of ocean ecosystems, besides the traditional ocean activities such as, maritime transport, among others.He said it also entails emerging renewable energy, seabed extractive activities and marine biotechnology/bio-prospecting.
The vice president explained that blue economy attempts to embrace ocean ecosystem services that are not captured by the market, but provide a significant contribution to economic and human activity.
“The concept of blue economy is a new frontier aimed at economic development and diversification through the use of resources from oceans, seas, rivers and lakes for the well-being of people. It also provides a positive contribution to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2052, African Integrated Maritime Strategy (2052 AIM Strategy) and United Nations 2030 Agenda.
“There is no gainsaying that Nigeria is endowed with enormous aquatic and marine resources including, oceans, seas, rivers and lakes with potential for the growth of blue economy.
“These water bodies are of strategic importance and can provide huge opportunities for fisheries, aquaculture, shipping, coastal tourism, offshore oil and gas energy mobilisation and other blue economy-related activities,” he said.
Also speaking, a technical consultant and international maritime expert, Dr. Felicia Mogo, said the blue economy has the potential to outperform other areas of the economy if properly harnessed as a whole for investment and employment opportunities.
She also added that Offshore and Ocean energy, marine biotechnology, coastal tourism, transport and food production sectors could offer unprecedented development for national economic growth premised on the blue economy concept.
Mogo said for Nigeria, with a deficit of 17 to 23 million homes, new maritime opportunities would provide a safe and secure living for value-added economic growth.
According to her, as Nigeria contemplates the use of oceans to deliver its human necessities such as food and energy in a more sustainable way, it should also meet environmental targets by eradicating waterways, coastal and marine pollution.
She said the blue economy drive has the potential to align with Nigeria’s Economic Recovery Growth (ERGP) to create seven million jobs in three years for the teeming youth population and huge housing deficit, especially in the coastal region.
She said for such rapid high impact growth, Nigeria’s vision for the blue economy should leverage lessons and experiences of what has worked elsewhere.