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NIMASA DG tasks PR practitioners on changing perception of maritime sector

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Dakuku Peterside

The Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, has urged Public Relations (PR) practitioners to assist in changing investors’ perception of the maritime sector.

Peterside, who spoke yesterday at the 19th NECCI PR roundtable in Lagos, noted that good reputation and perception would encourage investors and generate more Foreign Direct Investment.

According to him, the narrative is such that everything said about Nigeria are negative stories and everything said about Europe are positive stories. The market of Europe is saturated but there is a perception that their systems work.

He said that Africa had moved from being a net exporter of fishing to a net importer because we didn’t pay attention to that sector and there is a perception that the sector is not well regulated.

“When the world talks about illegal and unregulated fishing, the emphasis is on Africa. It is said that Africa is the most endowed region of the world, yet Africa plays zero role in underwater mining. No African company is accredited by international authority to be a contractor in underwater mining but Asian firms play active role in underwater mining.

“Half of seafarers working around the world are Philippines. Half of officers working onboard vessels around the world are Chinese. The economy of Korea is dependent on shipbuilding. We are so endowed, yet we live in lack.

“For a long time, there is a perception that the most profitable sector is the oil and gas economy, but from 70s, there is this contention that it is not advisable to depend on a mono economy.

Government has explored all sorts of options like agriculture, there are pros and cons about that but it seems we have not made much progress in that direction because till date, oil and gas contribute 70 per cent to our foreign exchange earnings.

“But one sector that has a key role to play in the diversification of our economy is maritime sector. It is capital intensive but it is not insurmountable,” he said.

He, therefore, canvassed integrated blue economy policy for maritime sector.

In his speech, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, noted that there is need to make the maritime sector globally competitive as a strong driver of economic growth.

The governor, represented by the Commissioner for Transport, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, said: “We must leverage on our strategic position in the Gulf of Guinea to make our country a force to be reckoned with and a choice destination for maritime business.”


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