Dr Bashir Jamoh, Director-General the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), says the blue economy will offer 350 million jobs to Nigerian citizens if adequately harnessed.
Jamoh, represented by the Acting Coordinator of NIMASA, Abuja Office, Hajia Rakiya Lamai, made this known during the NIMASA Special Day at the 18th Abuja International Trade Fair, Abuja.
According to him, Nigeria’s vast under-utilised blue economy offers huge opportunities for growth and development to overcome its present economic challenge.
“The blue economy has enormous potential as it offers the country the opportunities of 350 million new jobs if adequately harnessed.
“Ocean resources like fish, shrimps and other sea foods have not been satisfactorily harnessed, just as ship repairs are done in neighbouring countries and faraway Turkey because the facilities are lacking locally.
“With a combination of modern technology, relevant laws and support from the Federal Government, relevant agencies and stakeholders, disbursement of CVFF Funds, NIMASA is working to fulfill its mandate of regulating operations in the maritime industry,” he said.
He said NIMASA was intensifying efforts to secure the Nigerian maritime environment and develop indigenous capacity for shipping expansion to provide value addition for sustainable growth and development of the Nigerian economy.
Jamoh further said waterways expansion would be a much better incentive than tax waivers as it would encourage more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and private sector involvement in the maritime transport business.
According to the NIMASA boss, moving toward waterways expansion will boost Port services and encourage much-needed development in the industry.
“While we await a cohesive policy to kick into gear fully, we must all become ‘Blue Ambassadors’ (Advocates for the Blue Economy).
“The Blue Economy is every Nigerian’s Economy; the Media, Civil Society and other non-state actors, all have a role to play in galvanizing greater national awareness and participation.
“We must rethink our waters, we need a total rethink from a ceremonial view; events such as Argungu Fishing Festival as well as others which must be redesigned and repackaged from the standpoint of the blue economy,” he said.
He said efforts ought to be doubled to banish sea blindness amongst Nigerians and make seaward and sea-related activities more mainstream and attractive.
He added that a Public Private Partnership (PPP) should be harnessed for maritime cluster development.