Maritime experts have emphasised the need to address challenges that may hinder the growth of the country’s maritime industry and its earning power from the blue economy estimated at $24 trillion yearly.
They made the call at the seventh Bullion Lecture organised by the Centre for Financial Journalism (CFJ) in Lagos with the theme, ‘Banking on Blue Economy for Nigeria’s Economic Development’.
A former Continental President of African Women in Maritime (WIMAFRICA) and Principal Counsel, Jean-Chiazor and Partners, Jean-Chiazor Anishere, said stakeholders must work together via a coordinated approach to enable the country to successfully bank on the blue economy to drive economic growth.
Anishere, who also chaired the occasion, maintained that Nigeria is blessed with a vast coastline and abundant marine resources that can easily be harnessed for economic growth and development.
“The sustainability of the blue economy is very key. It represents a significant opportunity for Nigeria to diversify its economy and create other alternatives for job creation and revenue generation by investing in things such as aquaculture, maritime transport tourism and others.
“To fully unlock these potentialities of the blue economy, it is essential that we adopt a strategic approach on what one can take into account to help,” she said.
President of the Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Dr. Mkgeorge Onyung, disclosed that the lack of ocean-going vessels has hindered the growth of the country’s maritime industry and its earning power from the blue economy estimated at $24 trillion yearly.
According to him, this can only be addressed by investment in shipping and educating Nigerians about the potential of the industry.
“I have been talking about this revenue about two years ago, then it was $16 trillion, now it has jumped to $24 trillion. What that tells me is that every day, it is $65 billion, every hour it is $2.7 billion, and every minute it is $45 million,” he said.
Speaking further, Onyung noted that a lot of opportunities abound and remain unexploited in the water transportation system. He said investors can generate about N2 billion monthly revenue from the untapped potentials of Lagos State waterways alone.
Also, a maritime lawyer, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, said Nigeria should create the Ministry of Maritime Affairs as is the case in the aviation sector, adding that such a ministry will deepen development in the maritime sector.