Harnessing Potential of Oceans for Sustainable Economic Development

There is no doubt over the fact that Nigeria is blessed and well endowed with numerous potential mostly within the maritime domain and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) the Apex maritime regulatory body is doing its best in terms of harenessing these potential aboard in the water. On the various ways and how far the Nigeria through the apex maritime regulatory body had gone in implementing and harnessing these potential inherent in our waters.

In the recent time, one thing that dominated most discussions and even deliberations in the public spheres and at most public fora is simply how would Nigeria as a country tap and benefit from the numerous potential abound in our oceans and seas which known as the Blue Economy, and how to also maximize these abundant ses and oceans endowments to help in the development of other sector. This is not just a Nigerian thing but a global phenomenon and that is why it is generating a general concerns as it is now being discussed by stakeholders, maritime experts globally, continental and even within the local industry.

Nigeria is richly endowed with numerous natural resources and one of the dominant among the resources oil and gas Nigerian economy so much depend on this particular natural gift. It  is also said that oil alone accounts as the major foreign earner for the federal government. It said to have over 23 billion barrels reserves.

Then, the resources in the maritime industry of the economy are another area that country needs to harness. It is believed to have remained untapped over the years. The numerous opportunities in the sector are calling for harnessing. The essence of this is to sustain and develop other sector in particular and economy in general.

With over 852 kilometers bordering the Atlantic Ocean in the Gulf of Guinea, Nigeria has a lot of opportunities and rich marine resources which if harnessed would help to galvanized the economy. The industry plays a crucial role in the development of other sector of the economy as no other sector can really develop with transportation plays a major role in the development of nations. Nigeria equally has 4000 kilometers of navigable inland water ways covering an estimated area of 199,580 kilometers. And with its 923,415 km square waterways covering about 21.6 per cent of the entire country has a continental shelf that is measured at about 200 meters depth while the sea area stood at 41, 000 kilometers. The country equally has an exclusive economic zone covering about 210,900 square meters and with all these Nigeria is said to have been blesses with a viable and resource based blue economy which need to be tapped into..

Also 90 per cent of the global trade is being carried through the sea and Nigeria as a country must be a player in the global business. And that counts for the reason for the saying that “ He who has the sea controls the money” and that “ countries with maritime resources are the envy of the world”. This is because they have the potential to maximize the foreign exchange earnings and employment for their local populace. Nigeria trades about 180 million tons of sea borne cargo per annum with a yearly freight revenue of about $56.8 billion ( N.008 trillion) but unfortunately,over 90% of contract or revenue goes to the foreign firms who dominate Nigeria shipping business and that is why Nigeria continue to sell her crude on Free On Board (FOB) terms which is at the detriment of the nation’s economy.

NIMASA DG, Dr Dakuku

The Nigeria economy which needed to be harnessed includes but not limited to these areas or opportunities:marine transportation (Haulage) Ship Wrights, Crane and marine equipment engineering, Cargo engineering , marine underwriters, maritime security. Other may include marine insurance, freight  forwarding,customs brokerages, ship chandling ports services, maritime consulting. We also have opportunities in areas like ship building and ship repairing ,shipping agency , seafaring, Towage services, Ferry services, dredging service , ship banking, boat mechanics, shippers. There are other areas like crewing, fleet managers, naval services, manning agency, maritime education , Bonded warehousing and other auxiliary services in the maritime  services.

In other to ensure that these volume of natural resources ( blue economy) are tapped in a secured and safe, and friendly maritime environment, the federal ministry of transportation has gone a step further to show how ready the government is through the NIMASA in harnessing the blue economy awarding a contract to see to the development of integrated National Security and Water Protection Infrastructure in Nigeria under the Deep Blue Project.

NIMASA also is not relenting in ensuring that adequate security is provided in the sector. This is so because the regulatory agency is aware that the future growth and development of the maritime shipping environment must not be easy without safety and security of the goods and ports and terminal facilities as well as the seafarers and entire shipping community.

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