- FG urged to explore under-water mining
- Buhari to send anti-piracy bill to Senate
By Kenneth Jukpor
Nigeria may never be able to harness the potentials in its seas and oceans to enhance the nation’s revenue generation until an institutional framework is developed to cater for blue economy in the country, according to the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside.
The NIMASA boss made this assertion last week, when he paid a working visit to the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) even as he called for the creation of a national institutional framework/ structure for coordination of the blue economy.
Dr. Peterside while delivering a paper on the “Introduction to Africa’s Blue Economy” stressed that there was a relationship between the seas and oceans and wealth creation, while he noted that some African countries strategically chose their capital cities to be coastal areas; such as Dakar in Senegal, Accra in Ghana, Lome in Togo, etc.
Although the NIMASA boss didn’t shed more light on the institutional framework to enable the public know if he was referring to the creation of a distinct agency with special interest on the nation’s blue economy or a policy framework to guide the nation, other part of the important recommendations noted that technological innovation was needed to shape the growth of the blue economy of the country.
Other recommendations include the provision of necessary investment needed to support the nation’s blue economy for improved governance and initiatives, harmonized development plans for protection and conservation of aquatics and the marine space, among others.
The Blue Economy in the African context covers both aquatic and marine spaces, including oceans, seas, coasts, lakes, rivers, and underground water. It encompasses a range of productive sectors, including fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, transport, shipbuilding, energy, bioprospecting, and underwater mining and other related activities.
Recall that in March 2015 after an African Union meeting, States were encouraged to establish the necessary institutions and build the relevant capacities to better harness the potential represented by the Blue Economy. The meeting also noted the importance of the AU’s 2050 African Integrated Maritime Strategy (AU 2050 AIMS), including the Maritime Transport Charter.
Dakuku also admonished the Federal Government to explore under-water mining and other opportunities available in the blue economy.
His words: “Several small island states and developing nations are already doing a lot in under-water mining but Nigeria hasn’t put any effort in that regard. Nigeria should explore these opportunities and that is why we have agreed to hold an international conference on this and we are calling for stakeholders to join us in the deliberation on how to take advantage of under-water mining”
The NIMASA Director General stated that the nation had a huge economy beneath the seas that could be optimally harnessed to create jobs and alleviate the poverty in the country.
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, he also revealed that President Mohammadu Buhari is expected to send the anti-piracy bill to the Senate directly from his office in order to ensure that the bill gets the requisite attention and speed at the National Assembly.
Dr. Peterside made this known at the meeting even as he opined that the anti-draft bill would effectively address the problems of armed robbery at sea, piracy and other illicit vices on the nation’s waters.
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