Ponders Blue Economy policy
By Kenneth Jukpor
As part of efforts to ensure the maritime industry plays a significant role in the growth of Nigeria’s economy, the Federal Government has initiated steps to inject blue economy concept into its Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
While this can be seen as an avenue to correct the previous jettisoning of the maritime sector in national planning, the government also intends to setup a strategic Blue Economy committee under the leadership of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Alhaji Sabiu Zakari revealed this earlier today, during a ceremony to mark the maiden edition of Africa’s Day of Seas and Oceans scheduled for July 25th, yearly.
Zakari, who was represented by the Director, Maritime Safety and Security, Ministry of Transportation, Mr. Danjuma Dauda, noted that the Ministry of Transport would play a key role in this Blue Economy Steering committee which is expected to develop a Blue Economy policy for the nation.
He stated that the policy would be geared towards protecting the marine environment in order to guarantee Nigeria’s economic and sustainable development.
Similarly, he noted that the Transport Ministry has also setup an inter-agency committee to come up with implementation strategies for the Blue Economy Policy and National Transport Policy.
Meanwhile, the Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila stated at the ceremony that under his leadership, the House would be committed towards national quest for the sustainable use, conservation, exploitation and exploration of Nigeria’s seas and oceans to maximize the vast economic potentials.
Gbajabiamila, who was represented by Hon. Linda Ikpeazu of Onitsha North and Onitsha South constituency, Anambra State, pledged that the House would be keen to enact laws required to engender the development of the nation’s blue economy.
In his welcome speech, the Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside stated that Nigeria must sustain its increasing population through wealth creation from the enormous blessings of the diverse organisms and ecosystems that are in the oceans and seas.
Reechoing the theme of the event, “Harnessing Nigeria’s Marine Biodiversity for Accelerated Economic Growth”, Dakuku said; “This year’s celebration provides us with an opportunity to deliberate on the exploration of the enormous resources embedded in Africa’s seas and oceans; and how to exploit them to our advantage as a nation towards our economic prosperity.
He stressed that the nation must develop an interest in the conservation, exploration and exploitation of its marine biodiversity to enable it achieve sustainable economic growth.
“Nigeria can achieve accelerated economic growth and development through the regulation, exploitation and protection of her marine biodiversity through a comprehensive and articulated approach which will not necessarily impact negatively on the environment”, he said.
He reassured that as a Maritime Safety Administration, NIMASA would remain committed to focusing its attention on formulating policies in tandem with the development of marine biodiversity towards enhancing Nigeria’s economic growth in line with Government agenda on diversification of the economy.
Meanwhile, the head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita commended NIMASA for organizing the event which she observed was in tandem with the recommendations of the 2050 Africa Integrated Maritime Strategy (AIMS).
According to her, the programme was strategic to ensure a peaceful prosperous and integrated Africa for economic growth on the concept of Blue Economy and security of the continent’s territorial seas and oceans.