Chairman, Marine Engineering and Naval Architecture (MENA) division of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Engr.Charles Otuonye has reiterated the need for the government to have a rethink and strategize on a robust and sustainable way to diversify its economy in the direction of the maritime industry.
Speaking at the 5th Annual Conference and Annual General meeting of MENA in Lagos yesterday, Otuonye said there is no better time than now to focus more on the sector to avert further drift towards a long lasting economic recession.
He said at a time when the price of crude oil is consistently crashing, the present economic recession should be seen as an opportunity for government and non-governmental organisations to get shipbuilding and shipping industry developed through sustainable maritime policies.
“With the present economic challenge facing the nation, it is not only enough to catalogue the problems but it is wise to proffer solutions.
“Diversification is the prevalent song in the mouth of government but most Nigerians think that the only possible area of diversification is agriculture, let me tell you that the maritime industry is huge economically, perhaps next to the agricultural sector,” he said.
Also speaking, Managing Director, Delta Marine Shipping, Uba Basil Ajala said potentials of the industry if well harnessed can take care of the government’s budget.
He said the government can also increase the contribution of the sector to the economy by establishing more shipbuilding and scrap yards in the country.
“The government should open up the industry. It is the industry that can take care of the government budget. We don’t need to kill ourselves with oil. God has given us the most natural gift which is waterways,” he said.
Representative of the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Head of Emergency Service of the agency, Oderinde Hakeem in his keynote address said there is need to strive towards enhancing technical expertise in order to maximise the gains of the sector.
He commended MENA for initiating the platform to discuss ideas that would help enhance the growth of the non oil sector.
He assured that NIMASA would continue to encourage the development of indigenous maritime capacity and security.
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