‘Blue Economy Potentials Enough To Pay Nigeria’s Debt’
Director General of Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has said the potentials of the blue economy are enough to pay off the country’s debt and improve its finances if properly harnessed .
This was the highlight of a lecture delivered by Dr. Jamoh at the 7th Annual Bullion Lecture held in Lagos on Thursday.
In his lecture, titled; “Banking on Blue Economy for Nigeria’s Economic Development,” he noted that the greatest obstacle to Nigeria’s Blue Economy is “sea blindness”, a situation whereby people are unaware of the impact of shipping in their daily lives.
He disclosed that people now see shipping as an old-fashioned industry, which is not the case, as it is still depended on and brings in almost 90 per cent of what Nigerians consume, adding that the country is faced with the need for diversification and a move away from the dwindling revenue hitherto generated from the oil sector.
According to him,”There are many aspects to maritime domain awareness, ranging from security to safety, to the health of the marine environment.
“But when it comes to the Blue Economy, all eyes must be on the money. We need to know what we as Nigerians have domiciled in our Economic Maritime Domain.
“Most discussions about Maritime Domain Awareness have centred largely on security. Little wonder that when I assumed office three years ago as the Director-General of NIMASA, we introduced our strategy around the tripod of Maritime Security, Maritime Safety and Shipping Development, known popularly as the TRIPLE ‘S’, but with the recent gains in calming our waters, it is now time for Nigeria to pivot to the Economics of Maritime Domain Awareness, hence the Blue Economy.
“We need to take stock of what is out there in our waters, we need to know what we have in terms of what will create jobs, build coastal communities, grow careers, enhance transportation of humans and cargo, renew and sustain the environment, reduce littoral areas poverty and make our nation competitive by maximizing our comparative oceanic advantages.
“The country had focused on a hybrid economic structure that blends oil with agriculture, but the former remained consistent as growing economic mainstay ahead of the latter over the years.
“Today, the waters provide low hanging fruits to diversify the economy. It is increasingly being accepted that the country’s future lies in the Blue Economy’’.
“Dr. Agbakoba made mention of the debt that the incoming government will inherit. If you look at the blue economy, you will think that it’s child’s play, but it is not. Once we are serious, we can use the blue economy to knock out the debts”.
Jamoh noted that the Federal Government’s policy direction towards economic diversification from oil dependence to blue economy is deliberate because studies have proven the oil industry to be subject to limitations in the face of global demand for environmentally sustainable sources of energy.
He said the country stands to benefit more from her waters, if sustainable steps are taken to harness the many untapped marine potentials for investment and job creation while preventing marine pollution.
The NIMASA boss explained that while many confine their thinking to a blue economy concept that revolves around littoral states where large bodies of waters are found with ports and jetties, the benefits are cascading to none littoral areas like Kaduna and Kano which now have Dry Ports; and Northern based businesses and importers can depend on trans-shipment of cargoes from the seaports to these dry ports.
While listing the five key pillars of the blue economy as sustainability; promoting ocean resources; preservation of the ecosystem; economic growth, as well as improved livelihoods and jobs, he stated that the industry is valued at USD2.5 trillion per annum while 350 million jobs is linked to marine fisheries worldwide.
Similarly, while 34 per cent world’s crude oil production is offshore, aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector providing 50 per cent of fish for humanity.
According to him, in 2012, sea tourism increased by four per cent despite the global economic crisis and constituted nine per cent of Global GDP: nine per cent of global jobs; and generated USD1.3 trillion of the world’s export.
He further listed maritime transportation, fisheries, aquaculture, renewable energy, tourism, climate change, waste management, port development and logistics, shipping, dockyards, marine tourism, dredging, offshore oil & gas exploration and production, renewable energy & biotechnology, and maritime fabrication and construction as key segments of the blue economy.
Speaking further on the inherent opportunities of the blue economy, he urged investors to look in the area of tourism, cargo operations, stevedoring services, warehousing/bonded terminal, haulage, ship building & repairs, ship/cargo surveying, ship management, and tank farms.
Other areas include; packaging, logistics, bunkering services, ship/cargo surveying, ship chandelling, short-sea services, ship brokerage, ship agency, ship finance services, training for shore and ship board personnel, marine insurance services, legal/admiralty services and IT services.
Jamoh stated that NIMASA is driving Nigeria’s blue economy agenda through the following: “Disbursement of Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF) USD360 million. Deployment of the Modular Floating Dock. Capacity Building (Seafarers Development Programme) – NSDP. Capacity Building (Maritime Skills) – Maritime Training Institutions (MTIs). Midwifing of Strategic Synergy to further enable ship-owners easily acquire vessels to expand the national fleet through financial investment and cargo support by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL).
“The NNPCL has offered to provide 9 per cent of the 15 per cent CVFF ship-owners’ contribution, thereby lessening the financial outlay on the ship- owners to just 6 per cent contribution.
“Additionally, the NNPCL has committed to providing the much-needed cargo for the vessels to engender the business of coastal shipping, thus creating a win-win partnership that will boost the economy and create employment”.
The Federal Executive approved nationwide wreck removal exercise to clear all underwater encumbrances to make the nation’s water channels safer for vessel navigation.
By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos
Lekki Port Invests $100m In Equipment
The promoters of Lekki Port and Lekki Freeport Terminal have said the Port has invested over $100 million in equipment, and would begin transshipment of cargoes in the coming weeks
They said the move would see Nigeria recover lost cargoes from neighbouring West African countries.
The Chief Commercial Officer, Lekki Freeport Terminal, Kehinde Olubi-Neye, who disclosed this during a chat with newsmen in Lagos, assured that the port has the technical capacity, draft and state-of-the-art equipment to recover transship cargoes bound for landlocked countries.
“The opportunity is to explore transshipment of cargoes to other regional countries in Africa.
“We are in the process of transshipment with the support of Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) when the first transhipment vessel arrives in the coming weeks.
“The Lekki Freeport Terminal has discussed with stakeholders, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and they are confident that recovering transshipment cargoes not just for the hinterland but also for landlocked countries and other regional countries will be back in the country.
“We are here to connect global maritime trade into Nigeria, and that is why we have the deepest draft here. We do not have this draft anywhere else in Lagos and arguably, in some of the West African countries as well,
“We are not here to compete with other ports but to render services to the Nigerian people. The volume of cargoes coming into the port is low at the moment, but vessels are already using the ports”, he said.
Olubi-Neye said the port has also seen the opportunity to play a role in the uptake of cargo in the eastern port, saying that is why they are currently having discussions on moving containers discharged at Lekki Port by barge to Calabar, Warri, and Onitsha River Port, among others, to help increase the economy of those ports.
The Commercial Officer said the port is exploring the possibility of moving cargo by barges, and has been able to execute more than five barge moves of over 900 twenty-foot equivalent units of containers (TEUs) from Lekki Port to the Ikorodu area of Lagos.
Earlier, the Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko, described Lekki Port as a Nigerian project and assured that the NPA would do everything within its powers to grant necessary approvals and provide marine services to the port.
Represented by the Manager, Public Affairs of NPA, Ikechukwu Magarian, Bello said the Lekki Port would shape the maritime economy of the country and called on Nigerians to embrace and promote the port.
MWUN’s Chair Lauds President-General’s Leadership Qualities
The Chairman, Maritime Barge Operators Unit of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Mr Olawale Cole, has commended the President General of the Union, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, for his leadership quality.
He said Adeyanju’s role in MWUN has led to the transformation of the union under his leadership.
Cole, who stated this during an interview with newsmen, described Adeyanju as a transformer who has proven that he has what it takes to take the union to a far greater height.
The Maritime Barge Chairman also congratulated the MWUN President on his emergence as the Deputy President of the Nigeria Labour Congress.
According to him, being a versatile labour man, Adeyanju will use his new position to further enhance the working relationship between stakeholders and workers in the maritime sector.
He thanked the union’s President General for his generosity, particularly as it affects members of MWUN.
Customs Impounds Military Uniforms From Smugglers
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit, Zone B Kaduna State, says it has intercepted a sack of military uniforms and others from smugglers with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N628 million in one month.
The zone’s Area Controller, Musa Jalo, who disclosed this to newsmen shortly after the seizure, said the military wears which were intercepted between March and April 2023, were enroute to Nigeria from the Niger Republic.
He said during the period, the zone made 188 seizures of 17 different contrabands at different locations in the zone.
“Our operatives, while on a stop and search operation, intercepted one Volkswagen Golf driven by a Nigerian citizen along Jibia-Katsina Road.
“During the operation, the officers observed and identified a sack in the vehicle that was later opened, and assorted military camouflage shirts, trousers, and t-shirts were found”, he said.
Jalo added that after further examination and interrogation, the driver was identified to be a Nigerien and was delivering the uniforms to an unknown person in Katsina State.
“The uniforms were counted to be 22 pairs of foreign tactical military camouflage shirts and trousers and another 25 pieces of military camouflage t-shirts”, he added.
According to Jalo, the seized military uniforms have been handed over to the Directorate of Security Services for further investigation and possible prosecution.
“Also, based on credible intelligence, operatives of the unit intercepted one used Mitsubishi Canter with number plate AKR 10 XG conveying sacks of Cannabis Sativa, otherwise known as marijuana, concealed with bags of cassava flakes and sawdust along Bungudu-Tsafe Road in Zamfara State.
“After physical examination, the vehicle was found to contain 46 sacks of Marijuana, with a street value of N2.1 million”, he said.
Jalo said the operatives also intercepted a white narcotic substance together with two male suspects and one locally made pistol at the Maigatari axis of Jigawa State.
He said on further tests of the substance by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Kaduna State Command, the illegal substance was discovered to be Opium with a total weight of 422 grams.
“The street value of the Opium substance is N31 million. The 422 grams of Opium substance together with the suspects and one locally-made pistol were handed over to the Kaduna State Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency”, he said.
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