Nigeria needs Ministry of Maritime Affairs – Francis Aniezechukwu, DG, Sea Empowerment and Research

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  • Says Maritime has no business operating under Transport Ministry
  • Lauds MAJAN on maritime industry reportage

(Report by Udeme Clement)

The Director General, Sea Empowerment and Research Centre Limited/GTE, Mr Francis Aniezechukwu, has called on the Federal Government to create Ministry of Maritime Affairs, in order to boost productivity in the maritime sector of the economy.

Aniezechukwu, who is an expert in Maritime operations and a stakeholder in the industry, stressed that Maritime has no business operating under Ministry of Transport.

He made these assertions while delivering a lecture, at the just concluded 2021 first quarter review of activities in the Maritime industry, organised by Maritime Journalists Association of Nigeria (MAJAN).

He stressed that Maritime is bigger than Transport Ministry and should have a ministry of its own for the sector to achieve tangible growth.

According to him; “Available data shows that sea economy is bigger than land economy. So Nigeria has a lot to do in tapping from blue economy. To achieve this, we need a separate Ministry for maritime that will focus mainly in harnessing potentials abound in the sector, especially blue economy.

He informed;. “There are enormous untapped opportunities to develop Africa’s maritime, or blue economy, which in turn will help to reduce poverty, create jobs, enhance growth, exports; and strengthen food security.

“However, a number of challenges held back this progress.
Through recent initiatives by a growing number of African countries, multilateral development partners, slow but important progress is now being made.

“Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is currently fine-tuning preparation for the launch of integrated National security and waterway protection, that is Deep blue project. President Buhari will unveil the Maritime Security Project in June 2021, according to the Minister of Transportation.

“According to the Minister, 65 percent to 75 percent of crimes are from the waterways.
International Maritime Bureau Global piracy incident report on the guinea is very encouraging. For example; 2019 – 62 incidents in first quarter report; in 2020 – 47 incidents in first quarter report; and in 2021 – 38 incidents in first quarter report.

“Commendation must be given to President Buhari for signing of the Suppression of piracy and other maritime related Acts into law in 2019 and implementation by NIMASA.”

Speaking further, he commented MAJAN on its responsible reportage and consistent advocacy for a better and productive maritime sector.

His words: “I commend MAJAN members for taking a bold step to review activities in the industry. This is a good initiative. This group is doing a lot in holding programmes where important issues on maritime trade are discussed.”

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