President Bola Tinubu has directed the Federal Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy to resuscitate the national shipping line through a strategic public-private partnership (PPP) in order to capture a substantial share of the ship charter market, create jobs and boost the economy.
The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, disclosed this in Lagos on Tuesday at a stakeholders roundtable engagement on advancing sustainable development in Nigeria’s marine and blue economy.
The meeting was convened to bring together private sector practitioners in the maritime industry to discuss and chart a roadmap to advance the industry’s potential, promote sustainable blue economy investments and ensure global competitiveness within the sector.
Oyetola said he decided to engage the stakeholders in order to collectively contribute their perspectives, ideas and offer relevant inputs that can propel the sector to the trajectory of success necessary to support the development of the economy as well as meet the expectations of President Tinubu.
“Our ministry has also moved a step further by putting up this roundtable so that we can harvest ideas that would form part of our roadmap and policy direction. This is why today we will be looking at such areas as strengthening blue governance; transforming port operations; enhancing port infrastructure; and promoting blue economy investments.
“This roadmap is designed in such a way as to enable our ministry to fulfill its mission of formulating and implementing policies, programmes and initiatives that will facilitate the development of an inclusive marine and blue economy ecosystem, driven by an operating environment that meets global best standards as well as fulfill its vision of positioning Nigeria as a premier maritime nation by utilising the potential of its blue economy to diversify revenue, assure sustainable development and cultivate environmental stewardship.
“At this juncture, you will all agree with me that it is no longer business as usual, as there is an urgent need for a collaborative effort to brainstorm and devise strategies to leverage our marine resources for the betterment of the economy and safety of our planet. It is imperative we come up with practicable ways of ensuring that our Inland Rivers, Lakes and Waterways are well-utilised for cargo shipment and passenger transportation.
“We can transform this sector through the innovative Public-Private Partnership (PPP) models that the ministry has embraced. This model, a collaborative synergy between the private sector’s efficiency and the public sector’s oversight, is set to bring about a transformative impact on the marine and blue economy. Anticipated outcomes include the creation of substantial job opportunities and the facilitation of increased trade and investment in the nation, reinforcing our collaborative and forward-looking approach,” he said.
He said the ministry’s decision to consider the re-establishment of a national shipping line through a strategic public-private partnership arrangement is borne out of the government’s desire to capture a substantial share of the estimated $10 billion annual ship charter market within the country.
“Let me hasten to say that this initiative will not seek to impede the growth of local players but rather provide an avenue for them to create and extract more value from the sector, especially through ship construction, maintenance, and repairs. This would enable our local businesses to better leverage the Cabotage Act, which gives Nigerians the exclusive right to control locally generated seaborne trade,” he said.
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