By Kenneth Jukpor
In a bid to ensure Nigeria maximises its enormous potentials in the maritime sector, the Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi has initiated plans to create a national policy on blue economy.
The national policy on blue economy would address issues bordering on aquatics, marine space and all aspects of the nation’s economy as it affects the seas and oceans.
The Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside revealed this when he paid a courtesy visit to the Nigerian Shippers’ Council, earlier today.
The NIMASA Director General lamented that Africa remained underdeveloped despite the numerous geographical advantages as well as other natural resources in the region.
He stressed that the continent’s inability to unlock the inherent potentials in the seas and oceans stifled its economic growth over the years.
Dakuku said: “There is a relationship between the seas and oceans and wealth creation. The problem with Africa is that it still relies on natural resources to a large extent but the top 10 countries in terms of rapid economic growth are actively involved in the blue economy. 38 out of 54 African countries are either coastal states or Islands and 90% of Africa’s import and export are carried out via the seas.”
However the NIMASA boss equally lamented that two-third of the most exposed nation’s in terms of piracy are in Africa.
A problem he stressed as responsible for Africa’s absence in the list of top shipping lanes in the world.
Dakuku also noted that climate vulnerability, poor infrastructure, terrorism and legislative vacuum were the challenges militating against development of Africa’s blue economy.
Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) Barr. Hassan Bello in his address noted that NIMASA was critical to several germane regulatory issues such as setting the benchmark for freight rates, implementation of Advanced Cargo Tracking Notes, resolving alleged cases of double taxation in environmental levies by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and NIMASA, among other issues.
Hassan Bello said; “We are delighted to host the Director General of NIMASA. I am pleased because NIMASA is a worthy partner in our quest to realize an efficient Nigerian economy. The current Director General of NIMASA has turned the agency from what it is used to be, to the apex of shipping in Nigeria and we must commend him for that”
On the blue economy, Hassan Bello said it was pertinent and instructive to note that shipping was making direct impact on the nation’s economy.
He also called for more between the Council and NIMASA on the Advanced Cargo Tracking Notes which the Council is set to implement.
“We have so many issues we would like to work with NIMASA on, we have the issue of the collaboration with them on the modern cargo tracking processes which we want to implement and NIMASA is key to the successful implementation. We also have the issue of Shipping companies providing holding bays for containers in Apapa which we also want to work with NIMASA”, Bello added.