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Maritime has huge economic diversification potential –Jamoh

Nigeria’s quest for national economic diversification is realizable if the nation’s marine resources and maritime activities are adequately harnessed.

The Director General of Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh who dropped this hint few days ago said the nation’s maritime industry is huge enough to provide a strong sectoral alternative to the nation’s oil mono economy.

Jamoh who stated this during a presentation at the National Defence College (NDC) Abuja, said the maritime sector offers a robust diversification to dependence on oil for Nigeria’s balance of trade and foreign reserve. The lecture titled, “Maritime Security and National Development in Nigeria: The Role of NIMASA,” was delivered for NDC Course 29 participants.

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NIMASA Deputy Director Public Relations, Philip Kyanet in a statement said Jamoh identified various sub sectors of the industry that could be relied upon to drive the needed diversification and optimal development of the national economy.

The NIMASA DG said maritime has enormous potential to drive sustainable development in Nigeria, with huge investment opportunities in shipbuilding and repairs, offshore/floating spare parts sales and maintenance, freshwater bunkering and supply, dredging, and inland waterways transportation. He further explained that aside the above, if the additional estimated 75 per cent of all Gulf of Guinea-bound cargo destined for Nigeria are properly harnessed, maritime could offer the country 30 times more overall revenue generated from crude.

Presently, the nation’s economic chart indicate that crude account for about 70 per cent of government revenue and nearly 90 per cent of foreign exchange earnings in Nigeria; as government continues to prospect and cultivate alternatives that would support its economic diversification, and to move away from its near total dependence on oil.

He said, “Judging by a simple maritime resource mapping, and also research by reputable local and international organisations, it is clear that our marine environment can give us annually 30 times more than what we get from oil. There is boundless opportunity for investment in the sector, given the right conditions.”

Jamoh decried the effect of maritime security issues on the Nigeria port economy and enumerated steps so far taken to overcome the challenge. These he said includes the promotion of worthy maritime governance system, maritime infrastructure development and investment in maritime security. He further explained that apart from fiscal and monetary interventions by government, recent arrangements for better management of the NIMASA modular floating dock, and stakeholders’ support systems were part of efforts by government to enthrone good governance in the sector.

On security and infrastructure development, he highlighted the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, also called the Deep Blue Project, and the various fleet expansion and shipbuilding plans as measures to ensure conducive operating environment and investment protection in the maritime industry.

“We are tackling the security issues in our waters, and we know that the international community is concerned, and the stakeholders are mindful of our efforts. Those who do business in our maritime environment want to make sure that when they arrive safely, they are also able to leave Nigeria safely.”

As the country’s Designated Authority (DA) for the implementation of maritime regulations, the NIMASA helmsman management has taken steps and will not stop to identify openings and to continue to take additional steps to ensure that the right the right atmosphere for investment in the sector is created and sustained.

He identified steps taken so far to include the recent intensification of collaboration and teamwork between it and other maritime agencies; strengthening of cooperation between NIMASA and the security agencies, particularly, in the area of information sharing; establishment of a Maritime Intelligence Unit; proposed Maritime Security Strategy Document; proposed Maritime Security Committee; and enactment of the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act 2019.

In his remarks, Commandant, National Defence College, Rear Admiral Mackson Kadir, called for a positive reorientation towards the maritime sector. He commended the DG NIMASA for his efforts deepen the growth of maritime industry.

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