Osinbajo, others lists benefits of blue economy
The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has sought wider participation of relevant stakeholders in the blue economy project to deepen participation and benefits from the country’s marine resources.
Osinbajo made the call at the inaugural meeting of an Expanded Committee on Sustainable Blue Economy in the Presidential Villa on Monday.
The vice president said a viable blue economy project would offer a vista of opportunities not only for littoral states where there are bodies of water but for the entire country.
He identified areas to be exploited to include ports, terminals, fishing, training, environment, tourism, power, oil and gas.
While identifying possible challenges, the Vice President urged all the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to strengthen their collaborations via inter-ministerial working groups and advised members to attend their meetings faithfully for maximum results.
Osinbajo, who formally inaugurated the expanded committee, identified the need for a legal framework that would be more robust than other international maritime conventions on the blue economy, which Nigeria is a signatory to.
He said the scope and participation of the committee would be further improved upon to accommodate more members from government agencies and relevant private sector stakeholders
Besides maritime agencies like Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Maritime Academy of Nigeria, the expanded committee also comprised of 10 state governors including that of Rivers, Lagos, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Borno, Ogun, Ondo, Cross River, Bayelsa and Edo states.
Other members are ministers of Foreign Affairs, Power, Finance, Environment, Trade and Investment, Agriculture and Water Resources, Chief of Naval Staff, Comptroller General of Customs, Lake Chad Basin Commission, Nigeria Economic Summit Group and others.
“There is no doubt that the blue economy is a new frontier for economic development and a means of diversifying the economy through the use of resources from oceans, seas, rivers and lakes for the wellbeing of the people.
“It also provides a positive contribution to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2052 Africa Integrated Maritime Strategy (2052AIM) and the UN 2030 agenda.
This concept for economic diversification is promoted by the international community and provides friendly means of livelihood in line with this administration’s agenda on job creation.
“The ocean economy as an emerging economic frontier applies to ocean-based industry activities and the assets, goods and services of marine ecosystems,” he said.
According to the Vice President, countries have to define the scope of their blue economy based on their priorities such as Bangladesh, whose ocean economy consists of the following broad and growing economic sectors; living resources, minerals, energy, transport trade, tourism and recreation, carbon sequestration and coastal protection.
Osinbajo said these industries and ecosystem services do not develop in isolation but rather interact as an economic ecosystem.
The Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, said the blue economy is capable of improving government revenue, creating employments and growing the gross domestic product of Nigeria.
Amaechi who was represented by Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, also expressed optimism in the benefits derivable from a well-exploited marine environment.
Also speaking at the event, the Secretary-General of Maritime Organisation of West and Central Africa (MOWCA), Dr. Paul Adalikwu, lauded the initiative of the expansion, while recommending the inclusion of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), African Development Bank (AfDB) and other key financial institutions that will contribute towards realising Nigeria’s blue economy objective.