Bullion Lecture : NIMASA DG says maritime potentials enough to rejuvenate Nigeria’s economy

NIMASA DG making a presentation at the Bullion Lecture :

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Bullion Lecture :
NIMASA DG says maritime potentials enough to rejuvenate Nigeria’s economy

Pictures taken during the Bullion Lecture, held in Lagos :

The much talked-about annual Bullion Lecture has come and gone; but the highlights of that important occasion will linger for long in the minds of economic experts, maritime stakeholders and government agencies.

The lecture organised by Centre for Financial Journalism, with the theme ‘Banking on Blue Economy for Nigeria’s Economic Development’ presented a veritable platform for maritime stakeholders, shipping companies, financial institutions and government agencies to brainstorm on the benefits of blue economy.

In his presentation, the Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, said Nigeria’s untapped maritime potentials are enough to rescue the nation from huge debt overhang.

NIMASA DG making a presentation at the Bullion Lecture :

Speaking further, Dr Jamoh, who has been very passionate about harnessing the potential of blue economy, said ; “The untapped blue economic potentials present great optimism for economic growth for our nation, enough to rescue it from its huge debt.”

The NIMASA boss emphasised; “Blue Economy is not a new phenomenon but one that had exited from creation.”

He blamed non-recoginition of the concept of blue economy by industry stakeholders on what he described as “seablindness”. A situation whereby people are unaware of the impact of shipping in their daily lives.”

According to him, ” Nigeria is blessed with a coastline of more than 850kilometres from Badagry in Lagos to Bakassi in Cross River State. This remains huge economic advantage to the country with the development of maritime potentials.

Dr Jamoh said Nigeria has been over dependent on oil sector for economic survival, calling for diversification of the economy by harnessing the vast and rich blue economic potentials going forward.

His pointed out;  “Nigeria had focused on a hybrid economic structure that blends oil with agriculture; but the former remains consistent as economic mainstay ahead of the latter over the years.

“Today, the waters provide low hanging fruits to diversify the economy. It is increasingly being accepted that the country’s future lies in  Blue Economy.

“We need to take stock of what is out there in our waters, we need to know what we have in terms of what will create jobs, build coastal communities, grow careers, enhance transport of humans and cargo, renew and sustain the environment, reduce poverty and make our nation competitive by maximising our comparative ocean advantages”.

Going further, Dr Jamoh explained that while many confine their thinking to a blue economy concept that revolves around littoral states, where large bodies of waters are found with ports and jetties, the benefits are cascading to none littoral areas like Kaduna, Kano with dry ports; and Northern based businesses and importers can depend on trans-shipment of cargoes from the seaports to these dry ports.

Giving the five key pillars of the Blue Economy as sustainability; promoting ocean resources; preservation of the ecosystem; economic growth, as well as improved livelihoods and jobs, he pointed out that the industry is valued at over $2.5 trillion USD per annum, 350 million jobs is linked to marine fisheries worldwide; while 34% offshore crude production by aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector providing 50% of fish for humanity.

“In 2012, sea tourism increased by four per cent despite the global economic crisis and constituted nine per cent of Global GDP: nine per cent of global jobs; and generated $1.3 trillion or per cent of the world’s export.

He listed maritime transportation, fisheries, aquaculture, renewable energy, tourism, climate change, waste management, port development and logistics, shipping, dockyards, marine tourism, dredging, offshore oil & gas exploration and production, renewable energy & biotechnology, and maritime fabrication, construction as key segments of blue economy.

Jamoh added: “The Blue Economy is every Nigerian’s economy – Corporate entities such as banks and other financial institutions must establish and strengthen their maritime desks and increase their linkup and engagements with various maritime agencies of government;  such as NIMASA, Shippers Council, Nigerian Ports Authority amongst others. Civil Society has a role to play in galvanizing greater and broader national awareness and participation.

“We must rethink our waters- We need a total rethink from a ceremonial view to a commercial view – events such as the Argungu Fishing Festival, as well as others must be redesigned and repackaged from the standpoint of the Blue Economy. Private sector partnerships with government must be harnessed for Maritime Cluster Development and Shipyard Expansions for shipbuilding,”NIMASA boss emphasized.”

On his remarks, Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, stated that there is no money in government’s coffers, adding that the incoming administration will be inheriting a huge debt.

His words: “If you look at the blue economy, you will think that it’s a child’s play, but it is not. Once we are serious, we can use the blue economy to knock out the debts”.

Agbakoba however, explained that government can solve some of its monetary issues by tapping into the potentials and opportunities presented by the blue economy.

He also reiterated the need for a Maritime Ministry, stressing that the industry has a lot to offer, adding that the aviation sector, which is not as big as maritime has its own ministry.

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