• Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Effective policy, regulation to drive blue economy growth – Experts

Nigeria’s blue economy

Nigeria needs policies and stringent regulations to harness the potential of its maritime sector and grow its blue economy sector, according to experts.

According to them, regulations would support environmental protection, and economic efficiency, and ensure social responsibility among players in the sector.

Speaking at the sixth edition of the Taiwo Afolabi Annual Maritime (TAAM) conference held at the University of Lagos recently with the theme: ‘A Blueprint for Sustainable Shipping: The Significance of the Nigerian Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy,’ experts also advocated for sustainable practices to ensure that would encourage productivity and growth.

Taiwo Afolabi, chairman of SIFAX Group, said the industry needs to be strategic on sustainability and exploiting opportunities in the blue economy.

“There are diverse opportunities in the industry beyond the traditional shipping and port operations. The newly-created Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy has to expand its scope to provide policies and regulations to guide investors in areas like coastal tourism and renewable energies.

“This, however, must be done in a sustainable manner that will protect the ocean ecosystem and provide benefits for the coming generations,” Afolabi said.

Read also: US eyes Nigeria’s blue economy, seek partnership to harness sector’s potential

Emeka Akabogu, keynote speaker, harped on the importance of achieving sustainable shipping as a nation, through ethical conduct, improved port operations, and adequate legislation within the industry.

“Sustainable shipping is the backbone of a resilient and thriving global economy. Shipping carries the bulk of world trade and it encompasses practices that ensure cleaner oceans while meeting the economic and logistical demands of global trade,” said Akabogu, who was represented by Victor Onyegbado.

According to him, creating the Marine and Blue Economy Ministry is crucial in navigating the evolving dynamics of the global, regional, and sub-regional maritime industry.
He said the ministry would be pivotal in driving innovative policy and sustainable practices that will move Nigeria’s maritime sector forward.

On his part, Temisan Omatseye, a former director-general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), called for the automation of processes and the development of a national maritime strategy.

He said developing key performance indicators will positively impact human capital development and service delivery.

“We need to move away from where the sector depends on human beings and become more AI-compliant in our processes. The industry is also due for a national maritime policy that will provide the roadmap for its development.

“Right now, Nigeria does not have an approved national maritime policy,” he said.