NIMASA laments dearth of trawlers, seeks investment in fishing industry
The Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has said that the country’s fishing sector is yearning for revival as only a quarter of the trawlers that operated in the nation’s waters two decades ago are available now.
Jamoh stated this while delivering a paper titled: “Nigeria’s Unfolding Blue Economy: Creating Wealth From Our Waters,” at a Think Tank Lunch Hour Lecture Series organised by Academy for Maximum Achievement in Lagos.
According to the NIMASA boss, three quarters of the number of trawlers in Nigerian waters 20 years ago are no longer available, thereby, reducing the investment and job opportunities in the sector.
While speaking on investment and job opportunities desirable from the country’s natural marine endowments, Jamoh called for deeper private sector participation in the blue economy initiative to harness greater benefits from the maritime industry.
The NIMASA DG listed fishing, marine biology, marine geology, vessel ownership, chandling, stevedoring, freight forwarding, haulage, underwater engineering, ship brokerage, import and export as areas that have openings for more investments.
Giving an overview of the nation’s maritime potentials, Jamoh said 28 out of the 36 states have navigable inland waters carrying huge resources that could generate wealth. He said NIMASA, under his leadership, stepped up sensitisation of state governors about blue economy and had urged them to pass the message to citizens of their states
According to him, Nigerian waters are linked to five neighbouring countries and gives ancillary support to other non-maritime sectors like agriculture, tourism and other trading ventures.
He described the copious opportunities in ship building, ship repairs and recycling as open areas that would benefit the economy in the establishment of businesses within the value chain, create employment and boost foreign exchange earnings for government and private concerns.
Jamoh disclosed that NIMASA hopes to revive Nigeria’s quest for revenue from legitimate bunkering services, a move the country lost about 20 years ago.
Speaking earlier, the Leader of the Corporate Think Tank Group, Margaret Orakwusi, said there are viable business areas in the fishing sub sector. Orakwusi, a former President of Nigerian Trawler Owners Association (NITOA), called for more private sector involvement in the blue economy.
She further stated that the think tank group was created as an interdisciplinary platform to bring together experts and leaders from various walks of life to stimulate discourse on critical and pressing national socio-economic issues as well as galvanise research and expert contributions towards public policy support and implementation.
On his part, the Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Exchange Group Plc, Oscar Onyema, said maritime industry is a bundle of opportunities worth investing in, just as he identified the blue economy concept as one that touches on others facets of business and could generate good returns for investors.
He indicated renewed interest in the maritime industry, while disclosing the possibility of listing and trading securities in maritime related businesses. Onyema recalled that one or two maritime companies were listed in the exchange in the past, urging others to follow the path of public listing expressing confidence in the great impact of the exchange.
Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer of ENL Consortium, Princess Vicky Haastrup, described environmental sustainability within ports areas as critically deserving of government attention.
Haastrup also frowned at over reliance on diesel engines leading to pollution and high management costs, noting that ENL runs six diesel generators, which is costly and exposes port users to health hazards.
The Chief Executive Officer, Sea Transport Limited, Aminu Umar, said access to credit for purchase of vessels has been the major challenge militating against investment in the maritime industry.
He urged the Nigerian Exchange Group to consider ship finance as one area that could grow the economy Umar advised government to redesign its policies for indigenous investors to grow and benefit the country.
The Former Chairman, Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority, Dr Chris Asoluka, commended the policies and actions put in place for a sustainable blue economy in the country. Asoluka added that the country needs more of action to match policies on paper for full realisation of the set goals.