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Maritime offers Nigeria opportunity to drive economic diversification, says Jamoh

NIMASA strategises with Army to sustain security in Nigerian waters

Bashir Jamoh, director-general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has identified maritime as a sector that offers Nigeria the opportunity to drive economic diversification agenda.

Jamoh, who stated this recently in Abuja while delivering a paper at the National Defence College (NDC) titled, ‘Maritime Security and National Development in Nigeria: The Role of NIMASA,’ for NDC Course 29 participants, said many countries are presently proposing a ban on the use of fossil fuels, and the world transiting from oil to renewable.

According to him, maritime has enormous potential to drive sustainable development in Nigeria, with huge investment opportunities in shipbuilding and repairs, offshore/floating spare parts sales and maintenance, freshwater bunkering and supply, dredging, and inland waterways transportation.

While stating that about 75 percent of all Gulf of Guinea-bound cargoes are destined for Nigeria, he said if properly harnessed, maritime could give the country 30 times more revenue compared to oil.

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“Oil contributes about 70 percent of government revenue and nearly 90 percent of foreign exchange earnings in Nigeria. But Nigeria is trying to move away from the near-total dependence on oil. Judging by a simple maritime resource mapping, and also research by reputable local and international organisations, it is clear that our marine environment can give us 30 times more. There is boundless opportunity for investment in the sector, given the right conditions,” he explained in a statement signed by Philip Kyanet, Head, Corporate Communications of NIMASA.

He, however, decried the effect of maritime security issues on Nigeria and enumerated steps taken by the country to tackle the problem. He listed them to include the promotion of worthy maritime governance system, maritime infrastructure development, and investment in maritime security.

Jamoh disclosed that the fiscal and monetary interventions by government, recent arrangements for better management of the NIMASA modular floating dock, and stakeholder support systems, were part of efforts to enthrone good governance in the sector.

On security and infrastructure development, he said the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure, also called the Deep Blue Project, and the various fleet expansion and shipbuilding plans were measures put in place to ensure a good environment for investment in the maritime industry.

“We are tackling the security issues on our waters, and we know that the international community is concerned, and the stakeholders are mindful of our efforts. Those who do business in our maritime environment want to make sure that when they come to Nigeria, they will also able to leave Nigeria safely,” Jamoh said.

Jamoh listed the steps taken by NIMASA to create the right atmosphere for investment in the maritime sector to include collaboration and teamwork among maritime agencies; strengthening of cooperation between NIMASA and the security agencies, particularly, in the area of information sharing; establishment of Maritime Intelligence Unit; proposed Maritime Security Strategy Document; the proposed Maritime Security Committee; and enactment of the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act 2019.

In his remarks, Rear Admiral Mackson Kadir, commandant, National Defence College, called for a positive reorientation towards maritime.

Kadir commended the NIMASA Director-general for his efforts towards the growth of the maritime industry and intensification of the collaborative spirit among relevant organisations in the sector.

Over 14 countries and more than 20 cities around the world have proposed ban on the sale of passenger vehicles powered by fossil fuels – petrol, liquefied petroleum gas, and diesel – at some point in the future.