• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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How Nigeria can transform blue economy into an alternative revenue source

How Nigeria can transform blue economy into an alternative revenue source

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, is the sixth largest oil-producing country, according to the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which has for several years, depending on crude oil revenue to drive its economic agenda.

Despite being one of the largest crude oil-producing and exporting nations in the world, Nigeria in recent years has been struggling to meet the needed infrastructural development plans.

This is due to dwindling revenue as the money realised from the sale of crude oil has proven not to be sufficient in solving Nigeria’s financial needs.

As a result, Nigeria’s present government now relies on borrowing to deliver infrastructural projects such that the country’s debt reached N44. 06 trillion in the third quarter of 2022, according to the report from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

For this reason, economic analysts believed that Nigeria needs to seek alternative sources of revenue to keep the nation afloat. Meanwhile, maritime industry experts, who support this school of thought, said the blue economy is where Nigeria’s future lies.

One such person, who holds that thought is Bashir Jamoh, the director-general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

Delivering a paper on ‘From Crude to Blue,’ in Lagos recently during the Maiden Annual Lecture organised by Nigeria Institute of Maritime Studies, University of Lagos, Jamoh said Nigeria needs to change the way it’s utilising the blue economy.

According to him, Nigeria needs to use the water resources sustainably by ensuring that marine resources are used to improve livelihood, enhance growth and create jobs.

“Nigeria’s future lies in the blue economy because there has been a drastic reduction in the demand for Nigerian crude as developed nations find alternatives to fossil fuel. This is one of the reasons oil prices have continued to fluctuate in the international market.

“As the world continues to work towards phasing out the use of fossil fuels, now is the time for Nigeria to focus on finding alternative revenue sources to crude oil,” Jamoh said.

Read also: Incoming government must set targets for sustainable energy, blue economy – NIMASA DG

He said Nigeria can generate energy from the blue economy, grow the tourism industry, boost the fishery industry, and build shipyards as well as coastal infrastructure.

Jamoh however said Nigeria must ensure that it develops its national blue economy assets to the level that the continent and the world can accept it.

On his part, Ademola Adegoroye, the minister of state for transportation, said the government is targeting the acquisition of 28 vessels with a total of $700 million through the much-awaited Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF).

“The fisheries sub-sector is another area the government is working very hard to create jobs for our people and make water transport easier for Nigerians. The government will do everything to make it easier for shipowners to get more ships that can continue to grow our blue economy,” he said.

Dere Awosika, the chairman of the occasion, affirmed that the blue economy holds many lucrative opportunities for Nigerians but said that the financial institutions have to do a lot of work to ensure that the right finance is available to investors to develop the maritime industry.

She said Nigeria cannot continue to depend on crude as the country truly needs to turn blue by everyone putting hands together to do the right thing.

Meanwhile, the NIMASA boss collaborated that buying new ships will allow Nigeria to take over its shipping business and the opportunities in the blue economy.

He listed insecurity in the form of piracy and sea robbery as the major threat to the growth of the blue economy in Nigeria.

Jamoh said NIMASA has invested in acquiring the Deep Blue infrastructure used in the fight against piracy on Nigerian water.

He added that investment has started yielding results as the incidents of pirate attacks on Nigerian water reduced from 35 in 2020 to six in 2021 and ended in zero attacks in 2022.