The Minister of the Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola has said that it was time Nigeria floated a national carrier, stressing that through a public-private-partnership arrangement and the support of stakeholders, such a plan would be achieved in the interest of the maritime industry and the country.
He stated this on Tuesday during a visit to the headquarters of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in Apapa, Lagos.
While addressing the management of the agency, the Oyetola listed tackling illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, harnessing marine tourism, safety and security as his areas of priority.
The Minister said the time has come for Nigeria to fully harness its vast potentials in the maritime sector, noting that his visit was to ascertain and properly appraise the situation of things with a view of taking practical steps and measures towards addressing them.
“Today, we have come to see some of the things you told us in Abuja and to properly appraise the situation of things with a view to taking practical steps towards addressing them. I am particularly interested in the NIMASA Modular Floating Dock because of its potential to generate employment and stem capital flight. But we must find a way of ensuring stakeholders’ buy-in in whatever we do so that we are seen to be working together for the growth and development of Nigeria,” he said.
The Minister said the management of the nation’s marine and blue economy entails proactive, smart and strategic thinking.
He called for the rediscovery, harnessing and packaging of the nation’s maritime resources, including seafoods, in line with all associated international standards and specifications.
“According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the fisheries sector contributed 1.09% of the country’s total GDP in the year 2020 and 0.9% in the Q3 of 2021. We are regarded as a net importer of fishery products. But we are determined to change the narrative by putting in place measures to make Nigeria a major player in that regard,” he said.
“Nigeria makes up about 853 kilometres of the estimated 47,000 kilometres of coastline in Africa. Nigeria has one of the largest wetlands in the world, with its coastal and marine ecosystems covering a total of 70,000 square kilometres. There are countries around the world that rely solely on earnings from the tourism sector. Here in Nigeria, we also have what it takes to attract tourists to waters. Therefore, we shall be developing the infrastructure in cities and towns that are lake or coastal facing for this purpose.”
Speaking earlier, the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, described the creation of the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy by President Bola Tinubu as “unique and timely”.
The Minister inspected the NIMASA Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence Centre, NIMASA e-library, the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) radio room, marine environment management laboratory, the newly acquired NIMASA headquarters, Search and Rescue Base Clinic and the NIMASA Skill Acquisition Centre in Apapa.